Daniel-John Jackson plays the right notesSunday, September 19, 2021
“HEY, Daniel, you really touched my soul. You have so much soul in you that it nearly mek me bawl, keep on playing.”
That was a comment that saxophonist Daniel-John Jackson received from his late father during a practice session which has been etched in his memory and continues to serve as encouragement throughout his musical journey.
“It (the comment) has kept me going and I'll never forget that moment. I just love how I have impacted people's lives with my playing. There are moments when I see people screaming, crying, falling on the ground and covering their faces in awe,” Jackson told Career & Education.
The 25-year-old St Catherine resident said he has an undying love for music, which prompted him to express his passion through the playing of the musical instrument.
He said he has been playing the saxophone for 10 years.
But, before playing the saxophone, he started out with another wind instrument.
“It all began at church (Church of God Seventh-Day on Maxfield Avenue). I was a part of a band there and I played the clarinet but then I wanted to play something else. I was later influenced by a music teacher at St Catherine High School (his alma mater), to take up the saxophone and I said alright, and the rest was history,” said Jackson, noting that he is also an information technology technician.
The self-taught saxophonist said he has gained bookings for events such as weddings, corporate affairs, churches and funerals.
Some of the techniques he uses to ensure he plays effectively include “having an active ear, being comfortable with the songs, knowing the audience and being open to ideas for creativity during performances.”
For Jackson, being able to identify the type of audience that he is performed to, is a critical factor.
“It is very important because I want to be understood and appreciated. If you have someone coming to play and they don't know the song, then you lose your audience. Once I know my audience, I'll know how to deliver in terms of knowing which song to choose, how long to play and whether I should add a medley,” he said.
Admitting that at times he would get nervous when he should perform, Jackson said he has always managed to overcome the weakness.
“I remember in the early stages I would get nervous and mess up every note but now in my stage of maturity, it happens sometimes. But, as soon as I get into the performance, all of that nervousness goes away. I try to focus on myself and the music and adding my creative spin to the performance. Just appreciating what I have to offer and being confident in what I offer always helps because I've already put in the work,” he said.
Now with the novel coronavirus pandemic, Jackson said it has limited his interaction with his audience but pushes him to improve his craft especially with goals of being greatly recognised in the music industry.
“I really have a different perspective on how I manoeuvre my craft. In some instances, I have even been doing Zoom performances. It has caused me to be more technical because if I don't have good Internet speed that will be a problem,” he said.
“I hope that going forward, I will have a number of albums out and have a larger fan base and become a well-rounded saxophonist to the point where I will be the first person people will call, not just locally, but internationally too,” he added.
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