Exclusive: Trevor Jackson Talks Transition Into Music, How Acting Has Helped, Debut Album and More


Trevor Jackson photographed by John Ricard

There’s no denying that R&B has had an impressive roster of young and talented stars grow up right in front of our eyes. Even across more recent eras such as Chris Brown’s or Jojo’s, there’s no shortchanging the fact that when teen superstars erupt on the musical scene, they usually take over.

We are predicting now that such will also be the case for the multi-talented up and coming, Trevor Jackson. Now signed to Atlantic Records, the former Disney talent has put his Mouse ears to the side to embark on his latest journey. Undeniably one of the few impressive young men that his generation has seen, the 16-year-old phenom is on his way to doing something that even some of the greatest singers of our time haven’t been able to accomplish – being known for his incredible acting ability and soulful vocal talent.

Probably one of the most humble and well-spoken young men that we’ve encountered, Trevor is here to take the world on full force whether you want him to or not. Showing the world that he’s not willing to stay in the realm of being just another child star, he is stepping out of his shell and peeling off the layers. ThisIsRnB got the chance to catch up with the star during his crazy schedule and chat about his transition into the music world, how acting has helped him and how he keeps a sense of humbleness in the midst of it all.

Catch our exclusive interview below:

I’ve been following you for a while now. I know you did a few movies and you’ve been on a few shows, so how has that transition been from acting to now really being in the music industry?

I was kind of doing music while I was doing all these things, but I mean the transition is definitely different – it’s a lot different from the music industry. I mean when you audition for a movie or show, you either get it or you don’t. If you get it, you do the job. Here, it’s all about connections. Who you know, who enjoys your music, who wants to work with you, how much do they enjoy it – you know. It’s all in God’s time and God’s plan, but I’m definitely having a great time and this is what I love to do. Music is my heart and soul.

So, with the new album that’s coming out, what do you feel sets it apart from the other albums that are coming out this year?

It’s not going to come out until early 2014, but I definitely think that it’s just gonna bring it back to the old R&B. Everybody is made differently and everyone’s unique and I just feel like this has my whole unique feel on it. I feel like a lot of the songs are experiences. I’ve been blessed to work with some very, very talented people and the records just turned out amazing, you know. I feel like every single song – hopefully – someone will enjoy or someone will find it relatable.

Are there any features on the album that you’re allowed to tell us about?

I’m not allowed to say yet, but there will definitely be some awesome features on there.

OK, fantastic. We’ll just keep patient [laughs]. When I heard your new single “Drop It”, I kind of heard a little bit of Chris Brown in your voice. Is there anyone else that you’ve been compared to?

I’ve been compared to Chris Brown a lot. Um, Usher…I’ve gotten Brian McKnight like once or twice, but it’s all dependent upon people’s opinions really of who I sound like. I try to sound as unique as possible, but of course when you learn from such talented people, they’re eventually gonna come out.

Sure. Who are some of your influences?

Michael Jackson – for sure – is number one. I love Ray Charles, I like R. Kelly, Stevie Wonder, Usher, Chris Brown and Brian McKnight. Um, Gary LeVox – I mean there’s so many.

What basically made you want to push your musical side to the forefront of your career?

I guess you can say I kind of felt empty. Not that I was ungrateful because I love to act – I love the feeling that it gives you – but I just wasn’t specifically doing what I knew I loved to do. It was like I couldn’t waste anymore time. I just told them I got to do this. So, we really pressed into it and I’ve been blessed because everything is working out.

I definitely think it was good timing because you’ve been putting out some good stuff. You’re only 16, correct?

Yes ma’am.

How has juggling your teen life and being an actor and now a well-known singer been in your life?

I feel like by keeping God always on the forefront, you know. Just kind of knowing that no matter what happens, it happens for a reason and that I was put here to do a job or a specific task and just following it all the way through. I feel like that’s the only thing that’s kept me sane. Just the faith and knowing that everything takes it’s course and everyone has their season and God’s plan never fails.

I definitely agree with that. If you had any advice for someone trying to get in the same position that you’re in currently, what would you tell them?

Definitely make sure you love it. Don’t do it because – I mean of course you can look up to people who do it, but make sure it’s what you love to do and you just don’t want to be famous, you don’t just want to have women and you don’t want to just drive a fancy car. Make sure that you do it for the right reasons and you love what you’re doing and that you plan to do good things with it. I feel like that can never fail you if you’re willing to work hard. That’s pretty much the only thing that will keep someone growing. If you don’t love what you’re doing then that’s how people have breakdowns from being told no. You get told no so many times that you never know what to do, but if you love it, nothing is ever going to stop you from doing what you love.

Very good words. If you weren’t acting or singing right now, what do you think you’d be doing at this point in your life?

I would be playing basketball for sure. I would definitely try to be the best basketball player to play the game. I feel like anything I was to do, I would try my best to do the best I can at it. Otherwise, why do it? So, definitely playing basketball trying to go to Indiana State.

If you could collab with any artist, who would it be?

Eminem – for sure, Drake…let me think. I would love to collaborate with someone like Stevie Wonder if he’s down. I would love to collab with some country artists. I mean there’s so many talented people, it’s hard to pick. But uh, those are the first that come to mind. And Nicki Minaj. There’s just a lot of them – a lot of talented people.

What are your favorite albums out right now?

Hunter Hayes’ album is awesome – I just listened to that on the plane from LA to here. Incredible album. I love Kendrick’s album and J.Cole’s album is dope. There’s a lot of them [laughs]. Those are my Top 3 I’d have to say.

From your past acting experiences, what was something you took away and brought into your music?

Well acting definitely helped. When you listen to somebody, you want to know that what they’re saying, they really mean what they’re saying. For instance, Michael Jackson was a perfect example. When Michael Jackson was 10 or 11-years-old singing about making love, of course he had never made love before, but he had such an incredible ability to show that through his emotion and he was able to get into that zone and act as if that were the case. So, acting definitely helps when it comes to maybe singing a sad song. You know, if there’s a sad song on the album, I’ve never had my heart broken, but because of acting, it helps me access that certain part of emotion. So acting helps a lot, for sure.

Trevor Jackson photographed by John Ricard

I know you just said you’ve never had your heart broken, but are you currently seeing or dating anyone?

I’m definitely single – yes, I am [laughs].

[Laughs] Are the girls too much trouble or you just don’t have the time?

It’s a combination. I’m too much trouble, they’re too much trouble. I don’t trust myself at times [laughs]. I’m just trying to stay focused. It’s hard – it’s definitely hard. Especially in the industry that we’re in. They’re are a lot of beautiful women that would like your attention and you just gotta stay focused on what you gotta do.

Sure. I understand. Is there any specific role from your acting experience that you would do over again?

When I did Harry’s Law, that was probably the most fun I’ve had. I played this super young doctor who helped kids in the projects and it was just a really cool role to play. There was blood everywhere, I was taking bullets out of people and stitching them up. It was so far from my reality and it was just great to be something that you’re not.

Who would you say in your personal life has influenced you and kept you on the right path?

My mom would have to be. She gave up her career of 15 years you know, just to help me fulfill my dream. I feel like this is what she was meant to do. Maybe at the time we both didn’t know it, but now that we’re here, it’s like this is what we were meant to do for sure. My brother – I couldn’t ask for a better brother. He helps me when it comes to women, when it comes to my career, when it comes to what I need to do to stay on the right track…helping me become a man and what a man should be and how he should act. My dad – same thing and raising me. I feel like I’m a pretty good young man or at least I try to be [laughs]. But I feel like any and everybody I’ve met, I’ve met for a reason and I am who I am because of that. Whether it was a good or a bad encounter, I’m thankful that I’ve had it.

What do you think that you have that will help other people?

I have a sense of who I am. Let’s be honest, there’s a lot of music out there that shouldn’t be there for certain kids to listen to. It’s just different messages. I just want to bring a good message and let them know that you can be successful without having to say something that’s inappropriate or over doing it. I really just want to make good music where people can have a good time and feel good about themselves afterwards. I just feel as if I have a strong sense of who I am and I know why I was put here and I have a strong belief of why I’m here. I just gotta do what I gotta do and use everything he gave me.

What do you want people to take from your music?

Take love, for sure. There’s a lot of love driven music in there. And definitely just experiences. When someone listens to my album, I don’t want them to skip a song. I want every song to them – as soon as it starts – to be “oh what is he going to say, what is he going to do on this”. And as they listen to it, go through an entire experience within themselves. Just find any way that they can relate and just be attached to it.

-Interview by Ni’Kesia Pannell

For more info, check out OfficialTrevorJackson.com and follow him @TrevorJackson5.

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