Born c. 1958; raised in New York, N.Y. Addresses: Home --New York, N.Y.; and Poconos Mountains, Pa. Record Company--Capitol Records, 1750 N. Vine St., Los Angeles, Calif., 90028.

Since 1985 singer Freddie Jackson has recorded a string of pop hits, his romantic ballads especially capturing the hearts of female listeners. His debut album, Rock Me Tonight, was the number-one soul album for sixteen straight weeks, and his second LP, Just Like the First Time, also went platinum. Rolling Stone record critic Rob Hoerburger described Jackson as the "perfected ... vocal persona of the smooth-sailing love man eager to please and be pleased." In his article for Rolling Stone on the new male soul singers, Vince Aletti similarly observed that like fellow love balladeer Luther Vandross, Jackson taps the "pure pop romanticism that's at the heart of contemporary soul." But where Vandross distinguishes his love songs with his vocal virtuosity, "Jackson is more the pillow-talking love man," wrote Aletti, trading "showoffy moves" for "hushed intimacy" and "trust-in-me sincerity." New York Times writer Peter Watrous agreed: "Mr. Jackson ... is one of black pop's most elegant performers, a singer who can turn a heartbreak ballad into a world view."

The third of five children, growing up poor in New York's Harlem, Jackson got his musical start as a gospel singer at Mt. Nebo Baptist Church. A child soloist, the singer sometimes moved the congregation to tears--learning early how to captivate an audience. Later discovered by singer Melba Moore while performing in a New York nightclub, Jackson toured with her as a back-up vocalist in the mid-1980s, his cameo solos sparking the interest of industry heavyweights and audiences alike. As a solo artist, Jackson has enjoyed consistent success with best-selling recordings and sold-out concerts (often showcasing the work of rising young songwriters), his polished presentation and pure tones appealing to both blacks and whites.

Aletti views Freddie Jackson's mainstream success as a continuation of the 1980s phenomenon of black "crossover" artists. Led by Michael Jackson and Prince with their megahits Thriller and Purple Rain, Freddie Jackson joins the ranks of pop stars Lionel Richie and Whitney Houston, enjoying the fame and fortune that mainstream popularity brings. Detecting a renewed appreciation in eighties listeners for "the richness of soul vocal styling"--a "nostalgia for stylized, well-crafted vocals in a modern, unironic, often lushly emotional mood"--Aletti holds this "neoclassicism" responsible for the ease with which Freddie Jackson, and other black vocalists like him, have climbed both soul and pop charts. While the singer acknowledged some difficulties in "crossing over" in his interview with Watrous (black radio, for instance, has pressured him for more ethnocentric music), Freddie Jackson explained: "My music is for people who like to hold hands in con cert.... It's intimate. With all the racial tension going on today, all the hate, my songs, which are about love, make more sense than ever."

by Nancy Pear

Freddie Jackson's Career

Child Soloist at Mt. Nebo Baptist Church in Harlem; later sang at White Rock Baptist Church in Harlem; worked as a word processor; nightclub performer in New York; back-up vocalist and cameo soloist touring with singer Melba Moore, c. 1984; performed and recorded with Los Angeles funk group Mystic Merlin prior to launching solo career; solo recording artist and concert performer, 1985--; concert appearances include Radio City Music Hall, Madison Square Garden and Broadway's Lunt-Fontanne Theater; composer of songs with Paul Laurence; appeared in motion picture King of New York.

Freddie Jackson's Awards

American Black Gold Award for outstanding male artist, 1986.

Famous Works

Further Reading

Sources

Visitor Comments Add a comment…

over 2 years ago

I think that Freddie is right about how we need more of his kind of music today. The music of today is out of order. His kind of music reach the heart of the listener. Freddi keep on singing the songs that God has put on your heart to sing. Put your faith in Jesus, and he will work for the good of you and those whom God put in your path. I am 63 and still love the music you sing, everyone of your song are my favorite. I will keep you in prayer. Ivy

over 2 years ago

he was actually born Oct 2 1956 not 58 thank you

about 3 years ago

Dear Freddie I love your music and u r a legend to me and in my heart. Freddie Jackson lives 4 ever. I live in the poconos too and have worked where u live. I was hoping to c u in your limo pass the gate. I wish u the best. fan 4 ever. Peace and love and respect.

over 3 years ago

FREDDIE JACKSON IS NOT< I REPEAT NOT DEAD. HE HAS HEALTH ISSUES AND WAS ADVISED TO LOOSE WEIGHT.

over 3 years ago

Freddie is and always will be my favorite recoding artist. I agree that he is looking differently, but after time who doesn't? I have all of his recordings that I am aware of and they all still sound new in heart and soul. lOVE YOU Freddie, you will forever be #1 to me and all of my friends, especially my sister.

about 4 years ago

I just saw him in concert Saturday night., He is very much alive. He is very thin. He said his doctor suggested he lose the weight as he had high blood pressure .

about 4 years ago

I LOVED HIS SONGS I STILL LISTEN TO THEM HE WAS ILL BEFORE HE PASS U COULD TELL HE LOST TO MUCH WEIGHT WELL REST IN PEACE FREDDIE YOU WILL BE MISSED

almost 5 years ago

I have always liked Freddie's music and still do. But after being off the seen for years he looks different. He did a concert in Houston on 10/3/09 and me and my wife did not hardly reconized him, what happen?