Artist of the day: B.K. Jackson
Onstage, 19-year-old Tampa native BK Jackson captivates audiences with his ability to make his saxophone speak a universal language.
The rich jazz sounds have been warming hearts since he was 11. He has played at Tampa Bay Rays games, opened for national recording artists and performs more than 100 shows and events per year. In 2008, he released his first CD, On The Move; in 2011, he will release another.
Offstage, Bernard Kym Jackson is a sophomore at Florida A&M University majoring in jazz studies and minoring in business administration. He reveres his faith and his family: his parents, Ralph and Regina, and his sister, Jasmine.
Down the road, BK hopes to earn a master’s in finance and become an international recording artist. He's scheduled to perform at St. Petersburg's third annual Chillounge Night at 6 p.m. Saturday at Vinoy Park; click here for details.
For now, he’s found his groove.
What does music represent to you?
It’s a culture. It’s a way of life. It’s a way of expression. Music is therapy. You could almost fill in the blank with any word, and that’s what music is. It’s my relaxation, it’s my motivation, and it’s my determination. It’s everything. It gets me excited, it calms me down.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
I’ve been blessed and very fortunate. I don’t know if there is a proudest moment, but being able to work with the Rays is definitely a plus. Being able to open up for and meet B.B. King was a high, as was opening for Tony Bennett. In May, I played at the Civil Rights Game in Cincinnati. That right there was a big high, because I got a chance to meet a lot of people I look up to, like Jeffrey Osborne and Roberta Flack.
Who would be your dream collaboration?
Bootsy Collins, P. Diddy and BK Jackson — my dream collaboration. Let’s bring the best of old school and the pioneer of new school together. You can’t beat that.
How would you describe yourself to someone who has never met you?
I like to have fun. I don’t like to be bored. If I’m getting bored, I try and see what I can do to change the atmosphere. I’m a teenager. I guess you could say I’m a fun person. I’m very optimistic and determined. I would like to say I’m brilliant, handsome, good-looking and charming. A lot of people like to say I’m an old soul because I love old school. I guess you could say I’m a youthful, vibrant person with an old soul.
Do you have any advice for other young people on pursuing their dreams?
Stay focused. Don’t let anything tear you away from your goal and your dream at hand. It’s okay to be different. The best thing I can say is understand that sacrifices are going to have to be made, but don’t be discouraged by them. Just keep going, because at the end of the day it’s going to pay off. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
— Andrew DeLong, tbt*. Photo: Chris Zuppa, tbt*