JudyAnne Jackson is a 14-year-old from Tampa Bay, Florida. She picked up a guitar at eight years old and, according to her, never looked back. Already in her career, she has hit huge milestones like playing Madison Square Garden for 20 000 people at just ten years old, being featured in magazines, and working with award-winning artists and producers.
However, JudyAnne remains humble and insists that she can always continue honing and improving her craft despite her list of accolades. In her interview, JudyAnne talks about her debut EP, Old Soul, released on November 11, 2021, collaborating with others in the industry, her plans for this year, and her advice for other young women hoping to follow in her footsteps.
What inspired you to pursue music? Was music a big part of your household growing up?
I’ve always loved music ever since I was a little girl. My mom says I was humming songs before I even had my first birthday. When I was in kindergarten, I participated in my elementary school’s talent show. I remember being on the stage all dressed up like The Little Mermaid to sing for all of the kids and the teachers. Seeing the smiles and the tears in some of the teachers, I loved it! I knew then that this is what I wanted to do!
My parents introduced me to country music when I was very young and would always play it around the house. I fell in love with it. I think I was mainly drawn to it because of the songwriting and the way that the artists tell their stories through their music.
Most of the music I write is about following my dreams and persevering through obstacles. Whether I’m experiencing a really happy time in my life or a time when I’m feeling down, I always turn to music. It’s my way of expressing myself and telling my story.
The title track of my EP, “Old Soul,” tells about my life and my love for music. It describes how I bought my first guitar when I was eight years old, my commitment to following my dreams, and shares a little about my love for older music. Another of my songs on the EP is “Calling You Out.” This was written after a time when I was scrolling through social media and saw a group of people hanging out without me. I decided to write about how I was feeling because I think a lot of people my age, or any age for that matter, can relate to this, especially in today’s world with social media.
Tell me about what it was like to work with Grammy-award-winning Mitch Dane on your EP, Old Soul.
Working with Mitch Dane was amazing! The first time we met was at his studio in Nashville, Sputnik Sound. As soon as we arrived at the studio, Mitch was so incredibly kind and welcoming. I instantly felt at ease. I loved the environment! Mitch is one of the coolest people I’ve had a chance to work with. He’s so creative and engaged. And, he really encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone during the recordings, like when he suggested that we raise the key on a couple of the songs. His support and ideas took each of the songs on the EP to another level. I’m so beyond grateful to have worked with him, and I hope to work with him again in the future.
Old Soul was released on November 11, 2021, which was also your 14th birthday. How did it feel to celebrate your birthday by achieving a career milestone?
I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday present! I’ve been dreaming of this my whole life. Being able to perform in front of all the people who have supported my music throughout my journey was one of the coolest things I’ve experienced.
You’ve received a number of awards and accolades already in your career. Was there one in particular that made you feel like you’ve made it?
I don’t know that I would ever really feel like I “made it” in the music industry because there’s always room for me to improve and grow as an artist. No matter what, I have to continue to work hard toward creating music and accomplishing my goals. I’ve been so fortunate to have had some really incredible experiences — singing at Madison Square Gardens when I was ten years old to a crowd of nearly 20,000 people and flying to New York City to meet Maren Morris as part of The Today Show’s Aspiring Singer/Songwriter contest were both unbelievable! Really, a dream come true! My plan is to continue to work hard toward accomplishing my goals, and I hope to have many more exciting experiences along the way.
Where do you go from here? What are your plans for 2022?
I’m planning to keep songwriting and playing a lot of live music this year. I played at the Gasparilla Music Festival in Tampa on February 26. I’m working on scheduling a number of other gigs and am looking forward to doing some more co-writes with Nashville artists. I loved working with Kenny Foster, Parker McKay, and Patryk Larney on my first EP. I’d like to work with each of them on some of my new songs.
Do you have any advice for other young women that want to pursue a career in music?
My advice for any young woman who would like to pursue their dreams of a career in the music industry is to keep working hard, keep practicing your craft, and keep pursuing your dreams, no matter what anyone tells you!
Learn more about JudyAnne at her website: judyannejackson.com