BY SAM ILIEV
This kiwi may have just turned 20, but he’s still ticked off more things on his bucket list than me. Earlier this year in March, Jackson Owens was down in Christchurch at the Horncastle Arena with New Zealand band Six60, after winning a competition by ASB and Universal Music New Zealand. Here, he joined them on stage and gave New Zealand a snapshot of his contagious energy and raw vocal talent. He’s also walked the streets of Hollywood and collaborated alongside some of the freshest talents in the US, giving him a lead on gaining an international audience and contacts. More recently, he’s been the face of a new shoot by up-and-coming New Zealand fashion label, Not For You Clothing, keeping it current and further cementing his name within New Zealand’s creative industry.
You may have already seen Jackson’s face pop up somewhere in your social media channels, be it with his covers of songs such as Pineapple Skies by Miguel, singing with his sister Georgia, or perhaps within the posts of kiwi legend Stan Walker’s Instagram feed. He has a voice that once you’ve heard it, you’ll instantly recognise it next time. The kind of voice that steps out of the music and taps on the door of your soul. If you don’t believe me, check out his cover of Fall Apart by Post Malone.
His latest drop into the world of music goes by the name of Selfish. This track was released a day into Stan Walker’s New Takeover Tour of New Zealand, of which Jackson is the opening act. The official video also dropped, starring another Kiwi talent, Christa Alberta. Christa has been throwing out the moves since she was 12 years old. She’s represented New Zealand at the World Hip-Hop Champions alongside the crème de la crème of NZ dancers, spearheaded by international sensation Parris Goebel and her Royal Family dance crew. Like Jackson, Christa also has ties to Stan Walker after working alongside him in the Kiwi film Born to Dance. You may also recognise her from Chris Brown’s music video, Liquor.
Growing in the small town of Turangi, Jackson is the oldest of four, with a brother and two younger sisters. They’ve always been a very musical family, with Jackson singing since the age of nine, teaching himself the guitar, and bounces music ideas off his siblings Chauncey and Georgia. In his own words, Jackson says, “Turangi may be a small town, but one thing they do on a big scale is Tautoko (support). The community always supported me, every day with my music career.”
When I asked Jackson who he would collaborate if he could choose some artists both from the past and the present, he chose Miguel. “I love his style and vibe. It’s got that swag. Taking it back to the old school, I would also love to have a jam with Otis Redding and Amy Winehouse, both legends.” You can see through the songs he covers that these artists have influenced his music. He believes that this helps to set him apart not only vocally, but musically as well. When it comes to songwriting, he “often reflects back to memories or experiences”. “I’m still learning the craft of writing a good song, but I’m lucky enough to have worked with some awesome writers who’ve helped me so much. I learn from other artists, they keep me motivated.”
When he’s not creating music or playing at gigs, you’ll find him on a rugby field, diving for seafood, and escaping to places by the sea like Maketu, Ohope, and Mount Maunganui. You can keep up with Jackson on his Instagram and Facebook and catch him at Stan Walker’s final show in Auckland on the 17th of November.
Check out Jackson on Spotify!
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