VJ Jackson is a hot Dublin-based artist…
who specialises in soulful R&B songs. He is waving the flag for Tallaght and hopes to become a household name. I speak to Jackson about his upcoming single, Famous, and what it is all about. He talks about the Irish music scene and what it is like for a young artist there – and whether he has any plans coming to the U.K. in the future. Jackson sang lead in a choir when he was young and busked in Dublin city centre when he was at BIMM – something that has helped him craft stage presence and confidence.
I ask him about artists he would recommend to us and whether there is any more material coming through before next year. Jackson talks about gigging and the artists who will be supporting him – and the albums that have made a big impact on him.
Hi, VJ. How are you? How has your week been?
Hey, Sam, I’m good, thanks. How're things?
The week has been good and busy for me. Getting prepared to release Famous next week - and follow that up with my first headline show in The Workman’s on 19th.
For those new to your work; can you introduce yourself, please?
Of course...I’m VJ Jackson; a Dublin-based artist specialising in soulful RnB-Pop songs. I’m a Tallaght native who has been on the Irish music scene for a few years now. Singing lead in choir from a young age and playing guitar, keys and drums; I began busking in Dublin city centre while attending BIMM college to develop my song and stage presence - something that I bring to all my performances and audiences; no matter how big or small the stage.
I’ve also just announced that my new single (and video for) Famous will be released on 5th October. We shot the video with graduates from Pulse College and will be kicking things off on Thursday 5th October - with the song available on all digital platforms - and in Tower Records - from Friday 6th.
To celebrate that, I’m putting on my debut headline show in The Workman’s Club on 19th October (with support from Rueben James, Sean X and Yomi).
Famous is your new song. What is the tale behind it?
Famous is about how people, nowadays, are generally only in music and entertainment for the fame – and because it looks easy but most of them don’t know how hard it can get to be into a sustainable position. You need to put work and sacrifice in all the time.
You have to invest in yourself and be prepared to go all the way.
I have had a look at the video and it looks like an interesting concept. Can you tell us anything about the shoot and what it was like to film?
The shoot was amazing.
We shot it on a budget - with some extra help and support - and made it work to make the best video we could - using two locations and a brilliant crew and cast.
With the concept, the thing about that is that our director, Daphne, brought an extra perspective to the song - which opened things up for me. We connected straight away on some of the ideas. At the end of the day - and hard work from all involved - it came together.
Everyone will get a chance to see what I mean on Thursday 5th!
You confirmed your first headline show in The Workman’s Club on 19th October. Are you looking forward that show?
Yes, I’m actually just on my way into rehearsals with the band right now and we’re creating something special for the night.
Shout out to my manager Paul for making this happen, because I couldn’t have done it on my own. I’m looking forward to seeing my family and friends there - and to let them see how far I’ve come.
Rueben James, Sean X and Yomi are supporting. What is it about that trio that resonates?
Rueben has been grinding for years, same as me. We went to the same college (BIMM) and clicked from there. He’s humble and I like people that are very humble. He’s also very honest. I like to keep those people around me - and that’s why I picked him to support. We’ve also collaborated on a song before called Everything You Need - so we work very well together.
Sean X and I have a similar sound and genre and I wanted to mix the set up and not just have Hip-Hop or Rap, only - as he is a singer, too, like me.
Yomi is a young up-and-coming artist new to the game. We grew up together and he kept talking about his music. I wanted to help him out and give him an opportunity for people to hear his music.
Is there going to be an E.P. before the end of the year?
There will definitely be another single or two before the end of the year – and, come 2018, we’ll be looking at an E.P. release. I’m constantly recording and working on my music so I have a wealth of material to choose from.
Who are the musicians that inspired you when you were young? Did you have a musical upbringing?
I was listening to Tupac, Tyrese; Neo and Chris Brown. I grew up in church, so I spent most of my Sundays there - as the lead singer of the choir at a young age - and played other instruments there too - piano, guitar and drums (which I still continue to do now).
My mum sings lead in the choir too - so that’s where I get it from, I guess!
Dublin is your hometown. What is the city like in terms of music and venues? Is it somewhere you feel can further your career?
A great scene – it’s really buzzing right now. We’re booking shows and doing our thing, which is great.
Yes. I feel like I can further my career here: it’s a small city but that can also mean there’s more opportunity to get further and get heard.
Many people gravitate towards London and cities in the U.K. Do you think you’ll remain in Ireland – or are you settled there right now?
Yes. I will remain in Dublin because of opportunities here and the scene that’s building right now. Very soon, people will get to know the Irish scene better.
But, of course, I want to expand and play shows all over Europe, the U.S. and the world!
Your fan numbers are rising and people are vibing to your music. How important are the fans and what message would you give them?
The fans are key: without them, or family and friends to support, artists would be nowhere.
Thanks for all the support and messages so far. Keep an eye on all my social pages and website for upcoming dates and new releases coming your way.
Are there going to be more tour dates before 2018? What are your plans for Christmas?
Yes. I hope to have more shows before Christmas.
At the moment, my manager and I are talking about a potential mini-tour before Christmas - but we’ll keep that under wraps for the minute.
IN THIS PHOTO: Sion Hill
If you had to select the three albums that mean the most to you; which would they be and why?
It’s not so much that they mean the most but they have influenced me recently;
Anderson.Paak - Malibu
Justin Bieber – Purpose
Chris Brown - Royalty
As artists; The Script and Coldplay count as influences.
What advice would you give to artists coming through right now?
Always be focused on your craft and improving it. Take time on your own and focus, the hard work pays off at the end of the day. You never know how close you are to getting to that next level.
Finally, and for being good sports; you can name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
Sion Hill - Beaches
Follow VJ Jackson