"Who's Hot?" Interview
R&B newcomer Damar Jackson is a star. The talented singer out of DeRidder, Louisiana has an impressive confidence that makes it clear he knows exactly where he belongs. As a young prodigy who began playing the drums and keys at his church at the age of 9, Jackson stood in awe of great vocal performances as far back as he can remember, watching greats like Prince and Michael Jackson. His mother, also a singer in the church, fully nurtured his talent, enrolling him in music lessons as soon as she discovered her son’s innate talent.
By the time he was in high school, Damar knew exactly where he was headed; the only question was how. “When I was in high school, if you wanted to get money you were either selling candy, selling drugs or selling mixtapes,” he recalls. “So I had this song I wrote with my boy. And I figured out how to record it on my keyboard and put that one song on blank CDs.”
A band scholarship would lead him to the University of Louisiana at Monroe, and while there, Damar continued to create opportunities to promote his music all while honing his craft. “The whole time I was in school, I was creating my sound,” he says. “So I turned my room into a recording studio.” He booked and promoted his own shows, which would lead to opportunities to open for artists like Bobby V, Day 26, and Ludacris.
As he prepared for graduation as a Mass Communications major, a chance Twitter encounter lead him to an internship with Def Jam Record’s Atlanta office. His intern days were not without their share of challenges as Damar recalls sleeping in his car after events to make sure he made it to work on time. Damar continued to perfect his craft as a songwriter and producer, contributing to K-Camp’s success with songs like the hit single “Comfortable.”
His debut single “ Crazy, ” in which he revisits the last days of the relationship that sustained him during his early years in Atlanta, is an emotional rollercoaster both musically and lyrically. “We got to a point where she saw the success coming,” he explains, “but even though I thought we had been preparing for the late nights and work trips, it started driving her crazy.” As he puts the finishing touches on his debut project, from which the single is drawn, Damar promises more of the same “I be trying to tell both sides of everything. There’s a lot that comes with the decision to choose to take it there with a woman that you don’t plan on marrying. But a lot of guys aren’t honest about the consequences, not just what you’re doing to her, but how it affects you too.”
With his debut project nearly ready to hit the public, Damar Jackson is set to make his mark on the music industry as a singer, songwriter, and producer.
We talked with Damar Jackson in an exclusive interview, check it out below!
Question: How long have you been making music and how did you get started?
Jackson: For 8 years and I got started playing the drums. I discovered my gifts early and kept sharpening my tools.
Question: Musically, what are your biggest influences and who are your favorite musicians?
Jackson: R Kelly, Ryan Leslie, Static Major, T Pain, Usher and more and every artist that made an impact in the game I studied and have been influenced by.
Question: What musician would you most like to collaborate with and why?
Jackson: Kanye West and I think he might inspire me to create something different if we get in the lab.
Question: What do you feel is your best song you've ever released and why?
Jackson: I don’t have best song yet, I’m still growing with the music but my best project so far is Unfaithful.
Question: What motivates you and how do you define success?
Jackson: My gifts motivate me, and everyone that’s depending on me. Success is defined by your goals. Being happy with your life and decisions.
Question: How do you generate new ideas?
Jackson: Always brainstorming and being a forward thinker.
Question: How do you describe your music to people?
Jackson: ratchet, passionate, raw, soulful
Question: Do you believe there is a formula to being a successful artist?
Jackson: there’s no formula but there are some basic principles you should know and practice
Question: Who is your greatest inspiration?
Question: In your opinion who is the most influential and successful artist in your genre today and why?
Jackson: Chris Brown, he’s still out here cutting up. Making hits, clothing line, movies etc. salute CB
Question: Which emotion more than any other, currently dominates your music? Joy, sadness, anger or passion etc. , and why?
Jackson: passion, it’s a real story.
Question: What sacrifices have you had to make, to make your dream a reality?
Jackson: Too many to name, going broke, missing moments with family, losing sleep, working desperately but now working out of confidence.
Question: What aspect of the music making process excites you most, and what aspect discourages you the most?
Jackson: Nothing discounting me because I love the whole process. I’m a real artist so I make the best, mix it, pull up pro tools, record and mix it and upload it to iTunes.
Question: Where do You see yourself and your music in 10 years?
Jackson: One of the biggest icons in the world.
Question: What advice would you give to other up and coming artists or people looking to break into the music industry?
Jackson: Don’t stop grinding and connect the dots. Stay prayed up. Make the right sacrifices and believe in yourself no matter who doesn’t support you.