1998 Rudy Jackman performed at various well known London Clubs such as “Blues West 14” The Chelsea Jazz Venue “ The 606 Club”, and the world famous London Theatre “ The Talk of London” Drury Lane. Between 1999-2003, Jackman concentrated on his song writing, during which time he sent his recordings to his brother Hayden, who is well respected upon the Manchester live music circuit. Hayden presented RJ’s recordings to Jeff Makor an accomplished musical artist in his own rights, who in turn passed the recordings on to Pete Brown, record producer, lyrics song writer and sixties underground poet, who along with Jack Bruce had written some of the super band “Cream” most famous hit’s.
In the end, David Hadley Ray who had recorded with various renowned recording artists both in the USA and the UK, suggested that Grammy Award Winner Jack Kreisberg may well be interested in producing Rudy Jackman. Demos where sent to Jack Kreisberg and by the summer of 2004 RJ along with David Hadley Ray, met Jack at his home in New Jersey. Jack introduced RJ to renownked artist Ben E King, and Onaje Allan Cumbs who had compiled the musical arrangements for the late Phillies Hymens rendition of “Bet You My Golly Why”. Six years passed by, as Rudy Jackman’s personal commitments needed to be attended to. However, in the spring of 2011 Jack Kreisberg agreed to produce RJ’s long awaited first album. The album, “Breaking Chains” (The Journey) was recorded at Showplace Studios New Jersey, and completed during June 2012. Rudy Jackman recently spoke to Jamsphere, in an exclusive interview about his career moves thus-far, and those for the future.
1. How long have you been doing what you’re doing and how did you get started in the first place?
Rudy Jackman: I actually put pen to paper writing lyrics around sixteen years ago. At the time I couldn’t play any type of instrument so I would sing into a Dictaphone, which enabled me to present the basic raw material to local musicians and from there late night jam sessions led to in house demos.
2. Who were your first musical influences that you can remember?
Rudy Jackman: Of course there are many, however when I actually decided I wanted to be a singer/songwriter my attention to music took a much closer order to who I listened to, which in turn has formed part of my musical style. For me the influencers were the greats like Sam Cook, Aretha Franklin, and Marvin Gaye along with such artists of today the likes of, Macy Gray, John Legend and the late great Amy Winehouse. These people really touch you through their music. You could say they have a message to sing out loud.
3. Do you remember the title of the very first record you actually bought with your own money?
Rudy Jackman: My first single was rock you baby by George McCrae
4. What do you think are the major differences, between the Motown sounds of the sixties and today’s R&B records?
Rudy Jackman: For me the song needs to take you on a journey both lyrically and musically. The musical arrangements are in my opinion just as important as the lyrics of the song. This was hugely apparent in the tracks of the great recording artists of the sixties and early seventies. When I turn my attention from the solo artist to bands, other greats such as Frankie Beverly & Maze come to mind. They embraced within their musical and vocal arrangements that individual journey that each one of us can hop on whilst still appreciating their songs and performances as a band. Today, yes there are great R&B artists make no mistake as I’ve previously mentioned, but the influence of the overall feel of the tracks that are being recorded in today’s R&B industry is held more and more in the hands of the producers and musical arrangers and unfortunately the artist is being less and less considered. As a result there is a lot of repetition in the industry.
5. Did Sam West Productions help your career in any way?
Rudy Jackman: Of course! Sam was and still is an influential part of my music career. As a vocal tutor with a strong gospel background, Sam has offered me the perfect platform to express myself musically. So yes having Sam as my vocal tutor has enabled me to both feel and express the emotion that’s required when singing R&B.
6. What impact has you wife, Dee, had on your musical achievements through the years?
Rudy Jackman: Everything! Dee was the one who pushed me through the doors of Sam West Productions for my first vocal lesson, and Dee has given me the space that’s required to follow my dream, taking in the ups and the downs along the way. Yes Dee has been and still is a major influence on my musical career.
7. Do you still do live performances, and if so, in which area can your fans find you?
Rudy Jackman: At present I’m concentrating on writing my second album which is so time consuming, however we are working on putting together a small tour of the east cost of the USA which I’m expecting to be announced in the coming months.
8. Tell us something about the making of your album Breaking Chains “The Journey”?
Rudy Jackman: Making this album in itself was a more than 10-year journey. At times I found myself fighting with my own self-belief. As an unsigned artist it can be mind destroying trying to stay focused, with the future being unbalanced, and the uncertainties about the effort you are putting in with no guarantee of a future. It really is all about believing in you. The album title Breaking Chains “The Journey,” in part represents my journey through life, yet the songs are written so listeners may have that individual interpretation as to the actual meaning of the songs in relation to their own individual journey in life, be it past or present.
9. Which ingredient do you think is most essential in making Rudy Jackman’s music sound the way it does?
Rudy Jackman: Two ingredients need to be at the forefront of my recordings. First and foremost the songs need to have a message. Secondly and I hate to say it, I need the freedom of my voice to express what I’m singing about. The overall musical arrangements need to at all times be considered when recording is taking place. These are the two most essential ingredients to making the recording artist Rudy Jackman’s music standout.
10. If you were forced to choose only one, which emotion, more than any other drives you day after day to stay in this tough business. Is it joy, anger, desire, passion, hysteria or pride and why?
Rudy Jackman: Passion can induce all the mentioned elements in to being, so for me being passionate about my music is to be involved, which can induce anger, desire, pride and at times drive you to hysteria, but I love this industry!
11. What aspect of being an independent artist and the music making process excites you most, and what aspect discourages you the most?
Rudy Jackman: Being an independent artist allows me to interact in more detail when referring to the building block sequence that’s required to make an album. As an independent artist I have to make the commercial decisions while interacting and considering the musical aspects of the industry that surrounds me. I need at times to co-agree, disagree, and consider the overall views of my musical peers who are as much a part of the album as I am while often at same time questioning my own judgment. Yes for me this is what excites me-the buzz of seeing the project emerge from scratch to the final end result.
12. How did you get to know Jack Kriesberg, and how has he influenced your career?
Rudy Jackman: Jack Kriesberg, what can I say? You know everyone needs someone to believe in you and someone to listen and understand what you are trying to achieve in life. My wife Dee continues to do so on a daily bases, but unfortunately for me my wife is not in the music industry, so we all need a stepping-stone to progress in our chosen passion in life. Jack Kriesberg, more than anything listened and understood what I wanted to achieve within this industry. My road to meeting Jack goes back to Central London, The Kings Road where I was recording demo tracks and working with producer Pete Brown. Pete along with Jack Bruce had written most of the sixties band Cream’s hits such as the “White Room.” The base player working on the demo sessions at the time was David Hadley Ray originally from Philadelphia. He introduced me to Jack. There’s so much I could say however you can visit my official web site www.rudyjackman.com to read more in-depth about how Jack and I came to record the album. What is undoubtedly a fact; Jack Kreisberg not only listened to me, but also was instrumental in bringing the whole Breaking Chains project together.
13. Is the Rudy Jackman project an independent one, in that you are ‘self-financed’? If so, in the long-term will you eventually see being ‘self-financed’ as a limit, or as an achievement, and why?
Rudy Jackman: Yes Rudy Jackman projects at present are self financed and if continued to be so may have a profound effect as to what I can achieved as an independent artist in the foreseeable future.
14. The best piece of advice in this business you actually followed so far, and one you didn’t, but now know you should have?
Rudy Jackman: My own inner advice, which is believe in yourself as an artist and in the work you produce. Always try to share what you believe in if it’s worth sharing. In my case it’s music. In relation to what I didn’t do, well there is plenty I didn’t do that I should have done but those mistakes are the learning curves you go through in life in general. I believe you should just be true to yourself and the people around you and the rest is a journey. No journey takes place without a few bumps along the way.
15. At this point in your career, which is the one factor you desire most (increased music distribution, better quality production, more media exposure etc.…)?
Rudy Jackman: Absolutely more media exposure, if no one has heard your name, or seen you perform live, you’re dead in the water. Media exposure is the fuel that drives the engine.
16. How do you market and distribute your music currently?
Rudy Jackman: Recently I signed on with She Got Game Media out of Miami Beach, Florida. In the coming months She Got Game Media will be announcing the release and distribution details to purchase Breaking Chains “The Journey.”
17. How do you handle criticism and who has been the your most valuable (or worst) critic up until now, if any?
Rudy Jackman: This may sound strange but I’ve never really had any negative criticism from any one person that has really been detrimental to me as a recording artist. I’m sure I will receive criticism you cannot please everyone. People have various tastes in music just as do in clothing and such. What has been fundamental throughout my musical career is that I’ve never tried to be anyone other than myself in this industry I adore. To criticize my music is to impart one’s freedom of speech and I’m all for that. Criticism is healthy; it’s what makes the world go round. It keeps you thinking for your next project.
18. This far down the line is going Platinum or winning a Grammy still important you? Where would you like to see your career within 5 years?
Rudy Jackman: Hell yes! It’s important to win a Grammy. We all want to have the recognition from others as to what we have strived to achieve in life. It’s on my top ten-bucket wish list; the other nine wishes are to have nine more Grammys! Really I’m just thankful I’ve had the opportunity to record my first album and in five years time hopefully have four more albums under my belt that my fans will enjoy and I will be proud of.
19. What do you think is the biggest barrier an artist like yourself has to face and overcome, in the quest to achieve your goals?
Rudy Jackman: This industry is seriously not for the faint of heart, especially if you are self-financing your music. Being an unsigned artist generally means to be self- funded, which in turn means financially balancing the books for the next album. It is a struggle and for most independent artist this will always be a huge barrier to climb.
20. Tell us something about any up-coming projects or special events you have in mind?
Rudy Jackman: As previously mentioned She Got Game Media will announce in the coming weeks my forthcoming schedule of events. I would however like to take this opportunity to thank all my fans and those within the industry who have supported me thus far.
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