It’s a fine line to walk if you’re going to be a young lady creating old school sad country music with some punk rock tendencies, but that’s exactly what Jade Jackson has proven capable of doing on her new record dropping next week. But while the singer has spent nearly her entire life writing songs and recording her own music, Gilded is her first release with a real record label behind it, and she’s hoping to have a much bigger audience come May 19.
“I’m just really excited to share my songs and my music with everybody,” Jackson says. “I don’t know what people are expecting — since this is my first big release — but hopefully they want to listen to it.”
But while every songwriter grows up dreaming of huge album releases and nationwide tours, the Santa Margarita native actually got a little assistance along the way from one of her heroes. After hearing her music and becoming a fan, Mike Ness personally reached out to her to offer a helping hand. Hearing a new take on the classic raspy country sound not unlike his own solo work, the legendary frontman both produced Jackson’s record and selected the songbird to go on tour with Social Distortion.
“I grew up listening to Social Distortion, and the first concert I ever attended without my parents was a Social Distortion concert,” Jackson says. “That kind of ignited the fire in me to want to be a musician and want to be on a stage like that. It was like a weird serendipity thing when he contacted me and wanted to work with me because I’d looked up to him and loved his music.”
Over time, Ness has become more to Jackson than just one of her favorite artists. Considering Jackson’s small town roots, Ness has become the rising star’s link to the business side of the industry (her press day for Gilded was even held in the singer’s home). Of course, that’s not to say she didn’t originally have some anxiety about working with such a big name.
“He’s just become a good friend and a great mentor,” Jackson says of Ness. “I had only seen him on the cover of records and in interviews — and I didn’t think he was going to be mean — but I was terrified to meet him. He ended up being one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.”
Beyond just growing up in a tiny central California town, Jackson’s upbringing helped her to appreciate music on a level that few kids could. Although she rarely left her hometown — and her job at her parents’ restaurant — other than to go to college, the artist found ways to take her own journeys through her dad’s expansive record collection.
“I grew up without a television or anything because my parents are pretty old school, so really the only entertainment for me as a kid was my dad’s record collection,” Jackson says. “His passion for music — particularly old country and punk — sort of found its way into my own heart. The artists I love are generally artists who can write a good sad song, like Hank WIlliams, Johnny Cash, the Smiths — just anyone who can write a sad song that will make you feel something inside. Once I started writing, that was the inspiration I used to write.”
After hitting half of the country with Social Distortion on their most recent tour, Jackson will set out once again with the band later this summer. As she sees new parts of the country for the very first time, the magic of touring isn’t lost on Jackson.
“This is the closest thing I’ve ever had to any dream coming true,” Jackson says. “I never really expected to be a touring musician, but I always had dreams of it and envisioned myself on these stages. It’s been a surreal experience.”