Jackson Reed and The Silverbirds
Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music?
There have been three major turning points, musically, for me. The first was when I was 11 and I heard "Paperback Writer" by The Beatles for the first time. That moment made me take music seriously. The next was when I was 15 and I heard Stairway to Heaven. Led Zeppelin made me want to pursue music as a career. The third was when I was 19 and I started listening to Bruce Springsteen. Bruce made me realize that I could be a singer and front-man like him.
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
It would have to be recording my newest single "Dangerous Lover" with the great Kenny Aronoff. I've been very familiar with Kenny for a long time as I'm a huge fan of John Mellencamp, and Kenny plays on all of his biggest hits. Not only that, but Kenny was also the drummer at the first proper rock concert I ever attended (which was John Fogerty at the Saddledome in Calgary back in 2014). It's crazy to me to look back on that concert and think that seven years later I would be recording with someone who was on that stage. Not only that, but the guy who was on stage that night happens to be one of most successful session drummers of all time. Kenny has played with the two living Beatles for crying out loud! It was even more crazy to chat with him briefly during the process of recording the track, where he told me that he loved the song and that it reminded him of working with Mellencamp. I think moments like that help remind me that I'm on the right track in my career.
What has been the high point of your music path?
While I don't think I've reached the highest point I can get to yet, I'm pretty happy with where I am right now. I'm getting more amazing opportunities than ever before, and I feel like I'm really improving as a songwriter and musician. I'm confident in saying that "Dangerous Lover" is the best song I've put together so far, which is why you should go and give it a listen!
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like? For me I usually like to start with the chorus, as I believe that's the most important part of a song to really catch people's attention. I constantly hear melodies in my head, and I'll record myself singing them. Then I start building songs around those melodies. Normally I like to listen to other songs to get inspired, but lately some songs have been coming to me out of nowhere. It's a process that is never the same each time that's for sure.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? The biggest problem right now has been playing live in the midst of the pandemic. Covid makes it that much harder to get gigs. I just recently had my first show since March of 2020, and I don't even know when the next one will be. All the good opportunities have been drying up. Not only that but it's harder to get fans to come out since people are still rightfully worried about getting sick. Thankfully there are other ways for me to move my career forward right now, but I still want to show the world what I can do on the stage. Because of these setbacks, I'm planning on organizing a performance myself so that The Silverbirds and I can have a proper showcase. We'll film the show and record the audio, and then that way we can bring our live performance directly to the people and avoid some of the challenges that have come with performing these days.
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why? Bruce Springsteen is my obvious first choice. It would be incredible to share the stage with Bruce and the E Street Band and just be a part of the energy they create. However, another guy I would love to play with is Paul McCartney. Ever since the "Get Back" documentary came out I've been on a bit of a Beatles kick, and it's been so much fun to revisit the songs that defined my early interest in music. It's made me realize how I really need to get my career in high gear so that I can have the opportunity to jam with guys like Paul (Paul or Bruce, if you're reading this get in touch!)
What are your rehearsals generally like? My last show was more of a stripped down set without The Silverbirds, so that was just simply practicing the songs a lot in the weeks leading up to it. Whenever I can get an opportunity to play with the full band, I definitely like to practice as much as possible so that we sound very tight and bounce off each other.
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it! I feel like every song I've ever written I had to struggle to get it how I want it. It almost never comes together immediately. I'll agonize over tiny parts of the song until I'm satisfied with it. For an example, on Dangerous Lover I remember struggling to get the bass right. I had to visit my keyboard player Jeremy Brigham and have him play the chords over and over so that I could mess around until I had something I liked.
What's coming up in the future? Right now we're mostly focused on promoting "Dangerous Lover." We've also been pitching some of my previous work to other artists to see if they would be interested in recording it. Besides that, I'm also looking into the feasibility of organizing the live show idea I have for a small audience. If that goes ahead, we'll have a concert film and a live album to share. I'm also starting a podcast called "Guess That Record," which is all about music and albums. I've recorded three episodes so far (including one with songwriter Jim Vallance), and I'm looking to record a few more before we start releasing them. Episodes should be rolling out by the spring.
About Jackson Reed
Jackson Reed was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Being inspired by artists like Bruce Springsteen, Bryan Adams, and The Who, Jackson is working to follow in their footsteps by creating commercial, radio-friendly music that can be enjoyed by everyone.
In 2019, Jackson’s newest single "Can You Feel the Rock and Roll" received radio play and over 25,000 plays on all platform. He also embarked on a short tour of the United States, playing in cities like Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Minneapolis and Nashville.
On his new single "Dangerous Lover", rock icon Kenny Aronoff plays drums. Kenny is known for drumming with John Mellencamp, John Fogerty, Kelly Clarkson, Bob Dylan, Alanis Morissette & Mick Jagger.