Today, on Tuesday the 18th of September, Jermain Jackman, winner of the BBC’s The Voice 2014 series, will be performing at 100 Wardour St as part of the venue’s ‘Soho SoulTown’ series. I had the pleasure of interviewing Jermain prior to his appearance, and the transcript of the interview is as follows:
1.You are renowned for your rich baritone; I remember watching you rise to fame on The Voice and being shocked at the deep voice which erupted from you, especially as you were, and still are, so young. How do people often react when they hear you perform for the first time?
“In that very same way, they’re shocked! LOL. It used to be worse when I was younger and skinnier and people used to ask: ‘where is all that depth coming from?’ And I honestly don’t know how I got it, or how deep it goes, but I love using it! No disrespect intended but singers today are all up in their head voice and singing high notes. I thought if I know how to use my deep voice correctly, I could not only stand out from the crowd, but also use it as my unique selling point.”
2.As soon as you open your mouth I am blown away by the power and intensity of your vocals. How did you learn to tame your voice when you first started out to achieve the balance of delicacy and restraint that is now discernable in all of your performances?
“I don’t know if I’ve learnt how to control it fully as there’s so much I haven’t uncovered about my voice. Everytime I go for my vocal session.. I hear new tones, or reach new depths and heights with it. The voice is something we use everyday but it isn’t fully understood! It’s a muscle that I exercise regularly in order for it to grow and strengthen. One of my greatest inspirations once said: “There are two types of singers in the world: Natural singers and trained singers”. I’d like to think I’m a natural singer who’s still uncovering the mysteries of their instrument.”
3.You have described your own brand of Soulful Pop as ‘music inspired by yesterday, made for tomorrow.’ Did you face any challenges when updating soul music to represent your own style, while also trying to retain some of the original features of the soul music of the past?
“Yeah – I found it incredibly difficult to find who I was as an artist and what my sound would be and I guess I’m still looking. But the sound that I gravitate to the most is soulful pop.”
4.I can imagine after The Voice ended in 2014 your life was dramatically changed. Seeing as you won the show four years ago, what have you done since to ensure you have remained in the public eye and in demand?
“For me, it was never JUST MUSIC. There was more to me, for example I’m very interested in politics. This, in my opinion, set me apart from other contestants on other shows and I guess my love for both music and politics has helped to keep many doors open. Music helps to keep my political doors open and politics helps to keep my musical doors open.”
5.I understand you are passionate about both music and politics; would you say there is any overlap between the two?
“Yes and no, I’ve sung for political events etc but that’s probably the only overlap unless I do become a singing prime minster LOL!! I think it’s ok if they don’t overlap and I’d prefer if they didn’t. The only point in which they meet is through me. I bring both passions together to create who I am.”
6.Who would you say your main musical influences are? From the past, but also from the present.
“Luther Vandross, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston and Jennifer Hudson.”
7.If you could give one tip to aspiring musicians, what would it be? Perhaps something you wish someone had told you when you were staring out?
“Take your time and enjoy the process.”
8.If you could collaborate with one artist (dead or alive) who would it be and why?
“Luther Vandross, I grew up listening to him and I feel if he were alive today we would’ve recorded together already!”
9.I can imagine you have toured and performed in all different areas of the UK, and also the world. Where would you say has been your favourite place (so far) and why?
“New York City. I don’t low why but from the first time performing there at the age of 17 at the Apollo threatre in Harlem (after winning a competition in Hackney), it has always felt like home, like I belong there. So don’t be surprised if I move to NYC for a bit and sing on broadway.”
10.Finally, what does the future hold for you? Are there any musical projects in the pipeline that you can tell CUB and its readers?
“Yes – I am currently working on a christmas album to be released late November and I have more shows coming up at Quaglino’s, 100 Wardour Street, Boisdale in Canary Wharf and Jazz Cafe in Camden. Keep an eye out on my socials for more information :).”
Link to Jermain’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/JermainJackman?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor
Link to Jermain’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jermainjackman/?hl=en
Link to Jermain’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jermainjackmanmusic/