Londoner finds his niche in hip-hop
Credit: Anthony Jackson
Fanshawe student Anthony Jackson is making waves in hip-hop.
Toronto? New York? Los Angeles? Not a problem.
The tall and athletic 20-year-old is sure-footed and thoughtful about his approach to music success. He doesn't shy away from hard work in the studio or at the gym, which is somewhat of a repertoire with many mainstream hip-hop or pop acts. He also frequently posts songs on his Facebook page and uploads videos of his blend of DJing and hip-hop to his YouTube channel.
How Jackson began his music career is a funny story, so he stated.
“My mom and I left my stepdad's place, and we were sitting in the living room, talking about how we don't have much money. And we were trying to come up with ideas how we were going to make money, somehow.”
“We were thinking of buying a parking lot and charging people to pay for parking passes. I never thought about doing music until I went to Beal. I started a breakdancing group and I wrote my first song for the breakdancing group. Then I said to my mom, ‘Maybe I can be a rapper?'”
His mother encouraged him and so the plan began to take off.
“Ever since then, I kept writing. I sent my first song to everyone at Beal, I performed it at prom, and everyone loved it.”
Jackson uses a variety of programs to help him with beat matching that only cost him $20.
“I usually get my beats online, mostly from a place called Topmass. To record I use a Shure mic, a tiny two-sub Behringer mixer, a MacBook with Pro Tools on it. And that's it. All my stuff comes from me making it all in my studio which I made out of my walk-in closet.”
To date, Jackson has created a “hub” of his work, featuring 43 videos on his channel. “Let's Fly Away” and “In Your City” are two songs on his newly recorded CD that ignite excitement in his eyes.
“On my Facebook page, I do a ‘Throwback Thursday.' I just upload an old song and tell everyone how I wrote it or what was happening when I wrote it. The other big thing I've done is do a video called, ‘Let's Fly Away.'”
“Let's Fly Away” is a video discussing relationship abuse and its debilitating effect on the victim, in particular women. Jackson references the frightening statistic that 29 per cent of Canadian women have been abused. Jackson also carefully articulated how his mother survived a harrowing ordeal with a former boyfriend, which propelled Jackson to pursue his passion, always keep his feet on the ground and maintain a strong sense of self.
“In Your City” pays homage to London, including strong and healthy friendships that have shaped Jackson, as well as giving mention to teachers at his school who believed in his abilities. One tongue-in-cheek verse in his first song is that” being so tall, he was often mistaken for a basketball player: “You know that tall kid...that really tall kid? He must be seven feet!” But to the coaches' dismay, basketball wasn't in his heart — it was music.
With “In Your City,” Jackson also gives acknowledgement to the volunteers and employees at the Salvation Army.
Jackson is also maintaining a busy social media spotlight on his talent. Keeping current with one's social marketing is essential to maintain a footing in the music industry, but resisting oversaturation is a key tactic. He is also skilled at editing his own footage and taking his own photographs, which is a cost-effective way to continue his career.
Initially, Jackson was at Fanshawe taking Radio Broadcasting but decided it wasn't the right program for him, so he decided to take a general year, choosing Music Appreciation and Experimental Music amongst other courses to cement his academic load.
Check out Jackson on YouTube at youtube.com/jackson2206, on Twitter @tha6thjackson and on Facebook at tinyurl.com/anthonyjackson-fb.