R&B Legend Freddie Jackson Ain't Slowin' Down

Photographer: Press photo

The 30-year veteran singer brings his Finer With Time Tour – which also features T-Shaw and Ju-Taun – to the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center in York on Saturday.


If you were born between 1985 and 1995, there’s a good chance Freddie Jackson had something to do with it. The man makes baby-making music. His 1988 hit, “Nice ‘N’ Slow,” is as much an aphrodisiac as chocolate, fine wine or oysters.

Jackson’s smooth, sophisticated soul music topped the charts from the mid-’80s to the mid-’90s. And though his popularity waned in the late ’90s and 2000s with the rise of hip-hop and electronic dance music, he’s managed to stay relevant for 30 years in a capricious and constantly changing business.

Younger audiences might recognize Jackson’s songs as sampled beats in countless hip-hop tracks. He’s become a gauge of cool. Big Boi of Outkast cites Jackson in the 2001 hit “So Fresh and So Clean,” boasting that he’s “cooler than Freddie Jackson sippin’ a milkshake in a snow storm.” You get the idea.

Jackson is wrapping up the final touches on his latest album, Love and Satisfaction, and this Saturday his Finer With Time tour makes a stop at the Strand-Capitol Theatre for a show benefitting the H.O.P.E. for Cancer Patients & Families organization.

We caught up with Jackson as he vacationed in the Dominican Republic, soaking up the sun and the local music.

Fly Magazine: Congratulations on 30 years in the music industry. What’s the secret to your longevity?

Freddie Jackson: You gotta be a fighter and stay in the ring in order to stay in the game. You gotta remain intense, because if you don’t, this industry will bury you alive and then release a new album that will be your biggest selling record (laughs). It’s a hard job but I do love what I do.

FM: Your current tour is called Finer With Time. Have you found that to be true of your performances?

FJ: I do believe that I’ve grown finer as time has gone on. Vocally, I feel better than ever. I’m grateful to have had 11 No. 1 records, but I think Love and Satisfaction is going to prove that I have grown into the new era. But I’m still giving my core audience what it is they need.

FM: What’s going on with Love and Satisfaction?

FJ: This one is gonna make people say, “Wow, he’s 50-something years old and he’s sounding like he’s 20-something.” That’s the magic. Love and Satisfaction is gonna turn some heads. There’s some R. Kelly-like songs, but it’s not all just that. I’m very proud of it. It has put a newness into my life, my career and my belief in this industry.

FM: Are you still learning new things even after 30 years in the business?

FJ: I’m learning to be more patient. That every lick is not about how I like it and what I think of it. I recorded a song in Atlanta with some young talented producers who were in awe of Freddie Jackson, and then I became in awe of their work. I learned from those cats. I was laughing at certain things they were having me do. But after we finished, I was like, “Wow that’s kinda nice.” You’re never too old to learn.

FM: You saw a lot of concerts at the Apollo in Harlem as a kid. What were some of the more memorable shows you saw there?

FJ: I was born and raised 15 blocks away from the Apollo. I saw Otis Redding, Patti LaBelle and the Blue Belles, Wilson Pickett and cats like that. I saw The Jackson 5 when they all had their original noses. The Apollo used have three shows on Saturdays, and I’d hide in the bathroom and sneak into all three. I was a bad kid. I had the pleasure of enjoying the Apollo and learning from certain acts what it was that I should do – as in presentation, dress and deliverance. The Apollo was a teacher for me.

FM: Do you still live in Harlem?

FJ: I still live there. I need that soul. I need to walk down the streets. It keeps me together. Harlem is my heart and my soul. It’s my rhythm and my blues. I remember standing on the street corners and singing with some of my buddies and singing in church every Sunday. Harlem is in my blood.

FM: Your music is often sampled in hip-hop music. Are you a fan of today’s hip-hop and R&B?

FJ: I like some of it, but some of it I don’t get. I come from the days of Kurtis Blow and Heavy D, Biggie Smalls – guys that I could understand. I do like John Legend’s phenomenal new ballad, “All of Me.” The BET Awards honored Lionel Richie, and I think it was apropos that John Legend did Lionel Richie’s segment because I think he’s going to fit into that genre as time goes on.

FM: You recently lost more than 100 pounds?

FJ: I lost 107 pounds in three years. I feel phenomenal. When I walk on stage people are like, “That ain’t no Freddie Jackson. Freddie Jackson is fat!” Not no more! I’ve learned how to eat in moderation. I’m thinking about health because I want to be here for a long time. I haven’t peaked.

FM: You’re going for another 30 years?

FJ: I’m not going anywhere. I’m gonna be all up in your face giving you as much fly time as I can give you!


Freddie Jackson plays the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center (50 N. George St., York) on Saturday, August 2. 7pm doors. All ages. Click here for tickets.


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Posted in Articles, Music, Music – York, York

Mike Andrelczyk is a features editor for Fly Magazine. He is a graduate of Penn State University and currently lives with his wife Stacey in Strasburg. Interests include tennis, playing bad guitar, poetry (poems have appeared in Modern Haiku, The Inquisitive Eater and other journals) and oneirology – the study of dreams – mostly in the form of afternoon naps. His name appears in the title screen of Major League 2.

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