10 Questions with ... Jackie Lee
January 18, 2015
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Singer-songwriter Jackie Lee was only six years old when he stepped into a professional recording studio to cut songs with famed Country songwriter, musician, and producer Carson Chamberlain (Keith Whitley/ Easton Corbin). Sixteen years later, Chamberlain is hard at work in the studio producing Lee's debut album - his first as a Broken Bow recording artist. His debut single for Broken Bow Records, "She Does," became the Most-Added Country song in the U.S. upon release. Lee's versatility as a musician and vocalist may come as a surprise from the 23-year-old East Tennessee native who was a celebrated high school athlete. Lee played baseball, basketball, and helped the Alcoa High School football team win two state championship rings but turned down the chance to spend two more years playing center to future Green Bay Packer Randall Cobb to pursue his dreams of a musical career.
1. Jackie, thank you so much for taking time to talk with All Access. We recently had the chance to hear you perform an acoustic set for us, and one of the most striking aspects of your talent is the soulfulness in your voice. Who are some of your musical influences, and how have they shaped your sound?
I must say that I feel like I pull from a broad spectrum of influences. My mom was an 80s pop girl, and my dad listened to nothing but Country music his whole life before he met her. My influences span from Faron Young, Ronnie Dunn, Mel Street, and Vince Gill to Michael Bolton, Adam Levine, Michael McDonald, and Bob Segar.
2. I happen to know that not only did you play sports in school, but you were very good. So good, you won two state championships with the Alcoa High School Tornado football team as the center! Several of your teammates have gone on to play Division I college ball and there has even been an NFL starter emerge from the team. Did you ever consider pursuing sports at a higher level in lieu of a music career?
At the time, that was the hardest decision of my life. I loved sports and still do. I would have really enjoyed trying to pursue those dreams as well, but I knew music was my calling and what I truly wanted to do.
3. After leaving sports to concentrate on music, you immediately started working towards a career in music as a profession. You came to Nashville for writing sessions, played shows and festivals every chance you were given, and I'm sure had a few heartbreaks and setbacks along the way. What lessons did you learn from those early career moves, and how are you applying them to your career now that you've found a home at Broken Bow?
The thing that I've always been told is to persevere, and I have tried to consistently apply that to my life. You don't ever achieve goals that you give up on.
4. You signed your record deal with Broken Bow just over a year ago. How did the partnership with Benny Brown, Jon Loba, and the team at Broken Bow come to be?
The first time I met Benny Brown, he wanted to spend time just getting to know me & I thought that was so unique. Now, I feel like I am family with everyone in that building. Of course we work together, but I feel like they are just as interested in my personal life as my professional life, and that is refreshing.
5. Your first single, "She Does," had a big impact out of the gate and was the most-added to Country radio its first week. Can you tell us about that song and how you selected it for the album, as well as how you chose it for your first single?
This song had a series of holds put on it, so when I found out it was free to cut, I freaked out. In my mind it was always the front-runner to be my first single, and I am just thankful that Broken Bow thought the same thing.
6. As you continue to promote "She Does," can you give us an idea of what to expect from the overall sound and theme of your debut record? What songs have you written for the project, and what other writers have you borrowed from for the full album?
I feel like this record is a healthy mix of songs that I have found and written. Overall, I think I'm most happy with the big melodies I've been able to record. I'm super proud of it!
7. You've worked closely with Carson Chamberlain to produce your debut record - but this isn't your first collaboration with him. Rumor is, you and Carson worked together in the studio when you were just six years old! How did that partnership come about, and what did you cut in that first session?
Yes, I've known Carson since I was two years old! It has been a very organic working relationship as well, and I'm very thankful to have his creative professionalism as part of this record. I think the very first song he recorded on me was "God Must Have Spent A Little More Time On You" by NSync.
8. You made your Grand Ole Opry debut in September of last year, something that every Country artist dreams of doing. Are there any other stages that are on the must-play list for you?
The Opry is definitely top of the list for me, but I would love to play Red Rocks in Colorado, and I would love to sell out a show in my hometown of Maryville, TN.
9. You're a very positive-thinking, charismatic young man. What drives and motivates you? And do you have a personal motto or mantra?
Well, thanks! My dad always taught me from a very young age to never limit yourself, and the motto that I try to live by every day is that "It doesn't cost a bit more to dream big, than little."
10. At just 23 years old, you have a lot of years ahead of you in your career. Looking ahead to a milestone year - where do you plan to be in your personal and professional life by the time you celebrate your 30th Birthday?
Thirty is so old! LOL! I hope by age 30 that I am a very successful country music artist because this is the only thing that I truly want to do with my life.
1. You are a "PK" - a Preacher's Kid! If you were going to write a song based on a Bible verse, which would you chose and why? (And if you actually write the song, does All Access Nashville get co-writing credit?)
Not the famous one - John 3:16, but I would probably go with John 3:17 "because God did not come to earth to condemn us but to offer us everlasting life." Of course, I would give you a co-writing credit! (That would be the biblical thing to do.)
2. You have a very eclectic taste in music, no doubt due to your parents' tastes in music coupled with your own. If you could cut duets with five people - dead or alive - who would you choose?
- Michael Bolton
- Faron Young
- Maroon 5
- Mel Street
- Michael Buble
3. Obviously you're a sports-minded person. Who (besides Randall's Green Bay Packers) are your favorite teams in football, basketball, and baseball?
I am a big UT Vols football fan. My favorite basketball player is Kevin Love, and my favorite baseball team is the Atlanta Braves.