Talented young Kiwi singer Jackson Owens hails from Turangi, but has spend the past 12 months touring with with the likes of Six60, Sons of Zion and Stan Walker. He cites a variety of influences from Stevie Wonder to John Legend to Khalid. But above all, his family is his biggest motivation and influence. Serena Low caught up with him to chat about his new single, Better With You, whānau and what’s next. 

Firstly, congratulations on the arrival of your new bubs! How’s fatherhood (and in lockdown!) been for you so far?

Thank you! It’s a blessing, still getting used to being a father but I’m learning and loving every moment.

So, you’ve released your debut single, “Better With You”. Tell us about it, and why you decided to choose this song as your first official solo single.

“Better With You” is basically about losing time early in a relationship from being too scared to commit but realising this person makes you complete and life’s so much better with them in it. I wanted to release this as my first single because I feel like it’s a good introduction for myself and the project we’re working on.

Is there any part of your process, not directly related to music, that you believe is integral to your craft?

It would have to be my whānau. They’ve had a huge part in my career and are why I am the artist I am today. 

You’ve collaborated with a bunch of awesome Kiwi artists, including Sons of Zion, Six60 and Stan Walker. What have you learned from them?

My live performing has improved so much from touring and doing shows with these artists. I’ve learned how to interact with the crowds and put on my best performance. The advice I’ve received from them about the industry is unmeasurable and I’m so grateful for it all. 

Are there any artists / producers (NZ or abroad) that you’d like to collaborate with?

I’d love to collaborate with H.E.R because I’ve been a huge fan of hers for ages. And a dream producer to work with would be Salam Remi – the man behind Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black album.

What’s your favourite performance so far, and why?

Would have to be One Love 2020 with the Sons of Zion brothers. The crowd was crazy and I hadn’t felt so much energy before.

Have you experienced any crazy / funny fan encounters yet?

They’ve all been good experiences, can’t say I’ve had anything crazy yet.

As a Kiwi artist, how has your whakapapa influenced your journey so far?

My whakapapa individualises who I am and where I’m from. My career has taken me many different places but being a Māori artist and being connected to my whakapapa gives me a sense of belonging and makes me feel grounded when I need it.  

What does a usual day look like for you?

These days it’s just bringing up my son and watching him grow up day by day. 

What advice do you have for young, aspiring musicians?

Just believe in yourself and your craft and anything is possible.

What’s on the horizon that fans (and future fans) can be excited for?

My debut EP will be dropping in the next few months, so stay tuned. 

What are three words you’d use to describe yourself?

Passionate, Motivated, Grateful

Check out Jackson Owens’ single “Better With You” Out now