Tito Jackson: It’s His Time to Shine [Interview]

Tito Jackson is already a superstar: he was a member and lead guitarist of the legendary soul group, The Jacksons (Jackson 5). However, Tito recently reemerged as a solo musician and is ready to release his debut solo album Tito Time in Fall 2016. Jackson released his first single “Get It Baby” ft. Big Daddy Kane this Spring, and it already a Top 20 hit in several cities including Oklahoma City, Columbus, SC, Toledo, Ohio, Augusta, GA, and Tyler, TX. The single reminds people how the Jacksons continue to keep their impeccable reputation in the industry. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer gives fans a chance to take heed to his poetic lyrics, vocal talents, and musical delivery.

On his solo debut, Jackson is ready to show the world his love for blues, Pop, R&B, and Soul.  Jackson’s enriching contribution to music and devotion to God and has earned him respect from his peers and fans throughout the years. Jackson’s brother, the late Michael Jackson, went on the record highlighting Tito’s talents when he said, “Tito is very quiet and soft, but can be really strong when necessary.  He’s always there when we need him and manages to project an inner calm which is vital within a family unit.”

The prolific guitarist and musician took time from his busy schedule to speak with Singersroom about his new single, his new album and keeping the Jackson legacy alive.

Let’s talk about your new single, “Get It Baby.”

Tito Jackson: It is a single that everyone can enjoy because it’s simple and danceable. I wanted to create a record that would mix the old with the new. I wanted the single to be appealing to all audiences.  It’s just a dance record that is just fun and the title speaks for itself.

What was is like working hip-hop legend Big Daddy Kane?

Jackson: I wanted a rapper that I highly respect and enjoy their music and Big Daddy Kane is one of them. I had to work with a rapper that I know well and can really understand where I’m coming from musically. We mentioned to Big Daddy Kane’s manager that we wanted to work with him. We sent the song to his manager, and Kane loved the song instantly. Then the manager confirmed everything with the producer, but Kane couldn’t believe it at all. He had to call me directly and said he wanted to be featured on the song. Kane’s verse gave the song some more flavor and his voice meshed well with the song.

I know you have a new album coming out in November. Whats the concept for your album, Tito Time?

Jackson: During the 1970’s, the Jacksons were on the road, and Michael was recording his debut album. And after we left Motown, we signed a deal with Epic Records but then I decided to take some time off to start a family. I was married with children, and I just wanted to be there for my boys. I didn’t want to be on the road and miss out on my children growing up; fatherhood was a priority. But my kids are grown up, and I can take my solo work more seriously. I was always considered to be the “quiet” member of the group and I really didn’t express myself musically at that time. I had the guitar, and I was the background singer, but it’s my time. I am ready and prepared to put this record out in November. Tito Time is a great record, and when people hear this record, they will know why it’s an enjoyable record.

What’s it like going on tour and performing with your sons?

Jackson: It’s great. I can create and record music with my children. My sons are fascinated with the Jacksons and just have the desire to perform on stage. They really wanted to be musicians and launched a group, 3T. They have been touring since the late 90’s, and it’s been a life-long dream to sing with my sons. It’s really an amazing experience, seeing my boys coming together because they are an extension of the Jacksons.

How do you balance your solo projects with other obligations with your Jackson family?

Jackson: I love what I do, but I just make sure it doesn’t conflict with my solo projects. I get to perform with my brothers, which is always great, and I work on my solo work. So I think it’s for me, it’s more about prioritizing and doing what you love at the same time. Both projects keep me motivated.

How do you survive this “new” music industry as far as selling records?

Jackson: Motown hits like “My Girl,” “I Want You Back,” or “Just My Imagination” are timeless and classics. I think the industry needs to mix the old with the new. I believe the Motown sound can be mixed with today’s sound with a modern twist. A good song is a good song always. A good song has to be well-written and with the right sound. Besides a great song, you need to have a great team. You need to have a team that is on point and really understand your vision as an artist. The industry is cut-throat, so you have to be strong and stay for what you believe in always. The music industry is like campaigning in a way because you have to put out your product, market, promote, have interviews with the press, and perform. You have to keep putting your music out there so they can hear it so the audience can like your music.

What piece of advice would you tell an emerging artist who’s eager to have a career in music?

Jackson: The music business has changed so much, for the better and for worse. Back in 70’s, it cost money to make a demo. When we recorded “I Want You Back” it cost $13,000 for one track. But now all you need is a computer to make a record so now it’s easier to record and make your own music. Everything is available to you, all you have to do is buy the products. You may have a great song, but it is important for your music to be heard. You can’t give up on your dreams. Also, a lot of young people don’t like to accept constructive criticism. If your music your true passion, stay with it and work on your craft. You need to have a backup plan as well, especially when you feel it’s not in the cards.

Any other projects on the horizon other than Tito Time?

Jackson: I am touring with my brothers and sons. I am working on a short tour with them right now. I am also an ambassador for My Good Planet Foundation. We grow organic food for the needy. I am just keeping myself busy. I am truly blessed to be a part of a foundation that stands behind a great cause. I have fun and give back at the same time.

Purchase “Get It Baby” on iTunes HERE.