Q&A's

Q&A with Jackson Nance

 

There are tags that get placed on a songwriter that immediately capture attention and make them stand out amongst the crowded music scene in Nashville, but only one can say that they’re the youngest male writer/artist to sign a publishing deal with Warner Chappell Music – Jackson Nance! Nance recently dropped his debut single, “I Love You Mom,” and we had the awesome opportunity to chat with him about the song, the tag that’s been placed on him, working with some of the music industry’s heaviest hitters, his approach to songwriting, and much more!

(Interview by: Jeffrey Kurtis

https://jacksonnance.com/

 

1) Let’s start out talking about your songwriting. You own the distinction of being the youngest male artist to ever sign a publishing a deal with Warner Chappell Music. First off, congratulations! How did that deal come about for you and what does it mean to you to be that for the legendary brand?

One of my first mentors, Aubrey Preston, connected me to Scott at the age of 13. We immediately hit it off and he started mentoring me. At 15, I was eager to take the “next step,” so he introduced me to Ben Vaughn. After playing the handful of songs I had written for Ben and the Warner Chappell staff, we started negotiating! I’m forever grateful to the two of them for believing in me enough to give me a four -year, paid writing education. 

2) Take us through a typical writing session. Where do the ideas come from? Do the lyrics or music generally come first? Etc.

I would say as of now it’s typically a melody and a cool riff, followed by mumbling. I will then go back and listen to find any gibberish that may remotely sound like words. But then again, sometimes it is a cool phrase. I guess it really depends on if I am writing solo or what role is not being played in the writing session. 

3) You’ve worked with some heavy hitters in the songwriting community – Devin Dawson, Jimmie Allen, Mark Bright, and more – how do you feel your time spent around them has made you a better songwriter, and what’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from them?

I have definitely been blessed to work with very talented people. I would say that Devin played a big part in the confidence I have in a room. He always had a very uplifting attitude that inspired me. I think what makes them great writers is the fact that there are no stupid ideas. Lyrics that do not get used often inspire greater ideas.  

4) When writing during sessions, are you thinking more so about pitching them to other artists or keeping them for yourself? What goes into the process between keep or pitch for you?

For me, it’s really case by case. I go into every session with the intention of writing the best song. Sometimes it is one I cannot live without; Other times it is better suited to help further someone else’s story. 

5) When you do keep a song for yourself, what type of style of song fits the bill most to define what your artist route is looking for as its signature sound?

I am definitely a sucker for love songs because love is such a relatable feeling. And I tend to fall hard. At the end of the day, I want people to be able to use my music as a soundtrack to their memories. Being from Mississippi, I love incorporating blues elements in the music. 

6) On the subject of songs for yourself….you did just recently release your debut artist single “I Love You Mom” in May. Tell us a little bit about the song.

I’ve always shied away from writing a song for people closest to me out of fear of poor execution. But from what I hear, people like it! That makes me so happy. It was definitely a special moment for me because of how it happened. She is such a vital part of who I am and also a person I strive to be like. I will always be a mama's boy, and I’m glad I am able to use my gift to let her know how much she means to me.  

7) The story we’ve heard about the song is that it’s the result of a forgotten birthday gift. Dig into that story a little bit more for us if you will.

I had just got back from playing a week of shows. She was in Seattle the day of the 6th, which is her birthday, and I so wrongly assumed since I got back on the 8th that I did not have to get her a card and gift. Man, I was wrong. We were all sitting around the living room talking and my dad text me basically saying I should be ashamed of myself for not getting anything. I then immediately went to my room and wrote it. I then came back and told her I forgot to get her a gift but went to my room to write this for her. After plenty of shared tears, I would say it turned into a special moment. God really helped me out that night. 

8) You performed for two years in a row at Randy Owen’s Fandemonium show after meeting the country music icon. How did that first meeting come about, and how did it lead to the opportunity to join the show?

When I was 10, I was at the studio with my mom. I saw an excited look on her face and when I asked her why, she said “that’s Randy Owen!"  He was in a small room with the door cracked open. Me being completely unaware of who he was and what personal space was, walked up to him. I told him I was a singer and he told me he was too, lol. We sang some for each other, and I guess he thought enough of me to invite me to his annual Fandamonium to play. Randy has always been very good to me, and I really appreciate him. 

9) You also had a chance meeting with CCM icon TobyMac which led to you joining him in the studio. Can you tell us more about that?

I had just left a Warner Bros. Christmas party, so I was all dressed up. I went back to Franklin Square to meet a friend and we got ice cream. With my back to the door, I felt a hand on my shoulder.  “What’re you looking so dressed up for?” I turned around and I said,” TobyMac what’s up dude?” told him that I was at a label party which led him to ask what I did in music. I pulled out my phone and played a song I had written, and he really liked it. We exchanged numbers and I joined him in the studio with David Garcia two weeks later. 

10) What one piece of advice can you offer to someone who is just starting out and trying to break into the music industry?

Never ever ever give up. And whatever you do, give it everything you have. Find people that support you and have your best interests in mind, because you will definitely need that. Give every opportunity a chance, big or small. Treat people with respect and a willingness to know them. At the end of the day, sometimes it sucks, and it is hard but don’t forget how much you love it. God gives gifts for a reason. 

 

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