A solid electropop song always gets your attention. You feel the groove pull you over to the dancefloor. At the same time, the lyrics and melody also stick with you.
Disco managed to do this back in the ‘70s, and by the ‘80s, the Pet Shop Boys, as well as freestyle artists from New York and Miami, refined this balance and added an extra dose of synth.
More recently, Austin-based singer Jxckson transposes this combination for the 2020s. New track “When Morning Comes” effortlessly melds these elements, while still feeling raw and organic.
While Jxckson pulls from R&B and rock elements, U.K. producer Sevenths contributes darker synths and more bass. What results ascends to earworm status while also feeling timeless – retro yet somehow modern.
Seeing his profile rise through a string of releases over the past few years, plus coverage in PAPER and them., Jxckson spoke with us about his recent effort:
Tell us about your background: How did you start singing and making music?
My family loves to tell me that I started singing as soon as I started talking. It was something I’ve always done. From the moment I started school, I was in every choir I could get into and did just that until my senior year of high school.
When I was about 17, I started experimenting and writing music as a form of expression, sharing those demos with any friend or family member willing to listen to them.
I decided to write music more seriously around 2018/2019, and this is when we see what I consider my first official single, “Icarus,” start this new chapter of music for me.
Your sound gives retro yet modern electropop vibes. Who or what influences you musically?
I love so many genres and so many artists, so I found myself experimenting with different sounds these past three years. Working with Sevenths inspired me to explore electropop more and pull further inspiration from artists like Robyn.
Mainly with everything going on in the world, I wanted to have something fun I could work on that also made me want to dance.
Your latest track “When Morning Comes” is suited for the dancefloor. What vision did you have for this track?
Honestly, when I was working with Sevenths, I told him, “Hey, let’s create something that would make sense in a European Vampire night club.”
Those exact works kicked started the creative process that led us to “When Morning Comes” and an additional track that’s coming pretty soon.
You work with U.K. producer Sevenths on this track. How did you end up collaborating together?
Sevenths has actually produced and collaborated with other artists that I know. I was in a writing session with one of my artist friends, Eraste, and she played me some stuff she and Sevenths were working on.
I really loved the production and decided to reach out to Sevenths to work with him. We first worked on a remix of my song “Ready for Love?” which many fans of the Netflix show Heartstopper seemed to gravitate towards.
After that, we worked on two original tracks, the first being “When Morning Comes” and a second track due at the end of October.
You’ve been putting out multiple tracks over the past few years, as well as an EP. What do you see as the next stage of your career?
I feel like I’ve spent the past few years experimenting and that’s exactly what I wanted to spend that time doing. I didn’t want to put myself in a box and limit myself creatively.
With that said, I personally feel like I’m now done with experimenting, and I’m gearing up for a new phase of my career. I’m currently working on my debut album that will re-introduce myself formally as what I see as a fully developed artist.
It’s been a great journey and can’t wait for everyone to hear what I feel like is my sound and 100% Jxckson.
Tell us about the inspiration for your name. Why did you decide to add an “X” to your name?
Rihanna actually inspired me to go by my middle name, which is Jackson. I knew Jackson by itself wouldn’t be as easy to find so I swapped out the “a” for an “x” for two reasons.
The first was to remind me to bring an “x factor” level approach to everything I do. The second was that the “x” serves as a variable that represents my love for mixing and playing with genres.
This is also why there is a snake on the “x” of my logo to symbolize shedding my skin and constantly growing as an artist.
You’re also pretty prolific on TikTok. What’s been your strategy for finding new listeners?
If I’m being completely honest, I don’t have a strategy. I mainly post as I remember or jump on something that I find really fun at that given moment.
It’s funny, I find this an amazing question because I’ve been planning to be more active on TikTok in the near future. So, strategies have been top of mind, as I realize that TikTok is a necessary platform for artists today.
I’m finding joy in thinking of new fun ways to connect to listeners and the opportunity to introduce myself to new ones along the way.