Interview with Anthony Jackson

tweety stuff @ronanfromcork

first published in @The Evening Echo 2014-8-21

text below photo of original article

Anthony Jackson Interview

Anthony Jackson who has been performing in the Cork Hip-Hop scene for many years and has had several high noticeable slots such as supporting Flo Rida Live At The Marquee, as well as countless performances at Hip-Hop events around the city, releases a new album this week, with several eyebrows raised when people realise that this is only the debut record from the stalwart of the scene.

He spoke with Ronan Leonard about when he first started rapping, “when I was about 9 or 10, I was at home listening to the radio and I remember hearing songs with people rapping on them, over music or beats that you wouldn’t have heard on the bigger stations at the time, I liked the sound and decided to start doing it myself”

Luckily there was already a bit of foundation in his family for writing and singing, “one of my uncles plays the piano and sings a bit and one of my brothers is into music too. He writes more songs and ballads now but he used to do some hip-hop before.”

Anthony credits some of the most influential rappers for his foundations in music, “when I first got into hip-hop it was people like the Wu Tang Clan, A Tribe Called Quest, Eminem, Tupac and Run DMC that would have been big influences. Thanks to them and many others types of music I got into as I got older I have developed my sound.”

He does note that it took a while for anything this side of the Atlantic to feed in to his sound, “none of the acts I listened to would have been Irish really because I didn’t know of any Irish Rappers at the time I started”, but the inroads Anthony has made in Irish Hip-Hop community means his ‘Risin’ Above’ album is peppered with fellow Irish performers and producers, “some of the beats were made by Ian Ring, a very talented Producer from Cork [perhaps best known for being one half of ‘Young Wonder’; Ian was also the co-producer of the recent release ‘Deep Down South’ by Stevie G featuring Christian Underwood] and some of the other tracks are by Johnny Callanan, a.k.a Tinman, another talented artist, he’s originally from Cork but he lives in Bristol now. I produced some of the tracks myself of course, and then there’s one track ‘Shake The Stress Off’ which features GMC as a guest and that was produced by MB aka Matt Butler.”

It is quite common for Hip-Hop albums to have a variety of contributors and styles, but Anthony’s lyrics and focus is what makes it a complete piece, his personal drive is reflected throughout the album, “I feel grateful for knowing what I’m passionate about, so the song ‘My
Dream’ is about me having a dream since I was younger and wanting to pursue it through any obstacles, but also part of my dream is to hopefully awaken other peoples passions or reignite them so that they work towards their dreams too. When something inspires me enough to do something challenging, I hope by expressing that, I will feel I have achieved or accomplished something by doing my best and also that will be felt by people and it might inspire them also.”

Anthony is refreshingly honest when he comments on the ups and downs a writer and performer can have, “over the course of the years of making the album different feelings have come and gone, but even though I might have taken breaks, I could never give up on it. The track ‘No Matter What’ is a kind of reminder to me and to the listener that there will be times when your thoughts can go to the total opposite of that what you want and you can feel like life is awful, but you gotta hold on and when you get through that you are open to feel joy or happiness again. That would summarise a lot of the album to me.”

Anthony’s album comes hot on the heels of the launch of Stevie G’s Soul Jams record label and ahead of the upcoming EP release by Shookrah, is this a particularly vibrant time for Cork Hip-Hop, “I think it will become even more vibrant now that people are releasing stuff more and more,
I think people getting more and more access to music and video equipment helps too, as in isn’t holding people back in terms of
putting material out. It will probably drive some of the other artists, there’s a new generation or generations rising now too.”

Anthony Jackson will be launch his album ‘Risin’ Above’ in Cyprus Avenue on Friday 22 August at 9pm. He will be joined by Dizzaray, Trigger and Matamatik and DJ Davey Hogan.

To hear more of his music go to http://www.Soundcloud.com/aj7213

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