Most would find it rare that a country artist would hail from the great Northwest but that’s only an assumption and it’s the wrong one to make. The Northwest, such as Portland and Washington are filled with great country music artists. You just have to learn how to find them. Thankfully we did and he’s going to be a big shot sooner than later. Jackson Michelson, born and raised in Oregon came to Nashville to pursue a career in country music and he’s by far one of the most talented artists in Music City today. You may not have heard of his name yet but you will soon enough.
Ever since he could remember, Michelson has lived and breathed music. In fact, he’s different than rest. Coming from the Northwest can make that happen to someone and it’s not a bad thing. His wide range of musical influences and his upbringing make his music what it is today, and it’s infectious. After playing show after show and building his fanbase, the country singer has landed himself a record contract with Curb Records. He’s a friend to his fans and one who doesn’t seem to want to lose sight of his roots anytime soon.
We at Beyond The Stage got to talk with Jackson about his Northwest upbringing, his move to Nashville, learning several instruments by himself and much more. Read on below to learn more about the talented artist and don’t forget to check him out on iTunes and Apple Music.
BEYOND THE STAGE: You grew up in Oregon where the culture is completely different than Nashville. How has being in Oregon shaped you who you are as an artist and what have you learned since being in Nashville?
JACKSON MICHELSON: I grew up in the ‘grass seed capital’ of the world. Most don’t think of Oregon as agricultural but it’s huge over there and the country music fanbase is incredible. Most don’t think about or know about the fanbase until they experience it but I grew up in that environment. My music definitely has the Northwest / West Coast influence and brings out a different sound than what a lot of Nashville based music would have. It’s different but it’s a lot of fun experiencing a bigger spectrum of influences by being from the Northwest.
BTS: A lot of people don’t realize it but there’s actually a large following of country music fans in Oregon. From your own experience, how is the country scene different in the Northwest than in Nashville?
JM: The country scene from a fans point of view is a little different when you’re in the Northwest. It’s a long ways for a Nashville artist or country artist to make it’s way to the Northwest to play a show. So, when a country artist does come out, people get really excited and you feel that passion and energy in the crowd. There’s a passion in the Northwest that you don’t experience in any other part of the world.
BTS: You taught yourself how to play several instruments and have recently learned how to use a loop pedal to perform as a one man band. What’s your favorite instrument to play and would you much rather play as a one man band rather than with a full band?
JM: My favorite instrument to play is probably the guitar. It’s the instrument I started first with and learned piano shortly after that. Guitar is so fun because you can take it wherever you go, which isn’t the case with a lot of other instruments that I know how to play.
I started learning how to play with the loop station in November because I’m in the middle of a radio tour and I figured, if I can’t bring my band with me, I can bring my loop station. I think it’s a great picture to show people how much I’m involved with my music and give people a snapshot of how my brain works and how I come up with the songs I write. I can’t pick a favorite way to perform live because there’s so much energy in playing with a full band but I also love playing as a one man band to show my artistry.
BTS: You recently opened up for High Valley in Arizona. How was that experience and is there anything you’ve learned in particular by another artists about performing live?
JM: It was a great experience opening up for them. Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to open up for big artists like Lady Antebellum and Lee Brice and so, being able to open up for High Valley was a lot of fun. Their great guys and they put on a high-energy show. It was a humbling experience
Blake Shelton taught me how to be yourself and to respect every night. Each night you play a show is a gift and we should always give it our all. That’s the best advice and something I always remember before I play a show.
BTS: Switching gears a little bit, you have a new single coming out in April. Can you let us a know a little about the single and the sound?
JM: I am really excited about this new music coming out. The new single is called ‘And Then Some,” and I wrote the song before I had a record deal or anything of the sort and the writers I wrote the song with embraced me. It definitely has a fresh feel to it and I don’t think you’ll hear anything like it on the radio right now.
BTS: You have a new album coming out later this year. What’s the recording process for this album been like? Your co-producing and writing with Ryan Tyndall. What have you learned while working with him?
JM: I’m in the studio and I wrote over 100 songs for this album. We picked 13 tracks and we’ve been working on it and it’s been so much fun. I love everyone who’s helping make this albums passion for music and creativity. There are no limits with music and the studio is filled with endless options, which is a beautiful thing when it comes to being an artist and making music.
BTS: This was your second year at ACM’s “Party For a Cause”. What do you love most about performing at this event?
JM: Country music is always looking to be a part of something bigger than music and it’s one of the most beautiful things about this event and music. This whole event brings people together and it benefits from so much. It’s a really great event and I’m honored that I’ve been a part of it for two years now.
BTS: Do you have any advice for those who are trying to make it in the industry?
JM: Work really hard and take advantage of every opportunity that’s given to you. You never know what could happen and you find yourself when you’re out there playing shows as an artists. You impact people everyday and the music will change you. If the music changes you, you have the opportunity to make a huge impact on people.