Soul's Survivors: Singer Freddie Jackson Climbed From Harlem Fire Escape To R&B Stardom
NY1 has celebrated Black Music Month with profiles of prominent soul musicians, and the fifth and final part of Dean Meminger's series "Soul's Survivors" profiled Harlem native and R&B singing sensation Freddie Jackson.
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Freddie Jackson has an unmistakable sound, and his smash love ballad "You Are My Lady" still holds a special place in the hearts of his fans.
"You know, I think I am 'old school now.' This is over 30 years now," says Jackson.
Before he became a successful solo artist, it was already known Jackson had a special voice.
"I came from singing background for Angela Bofill and songs for Mtume, Glenn Jones, Harold Belafonte," says Jackson. "I was a background singer."
In 1985, Jackson moved out front as the lead singer and released his first album, "Rock Me Tonight." His smooth voice and songs continued to climb the R&B charts in the mid-1980s and his success and popularity were hard to ignore.
"The first record, 24 weeks, the second record, 26 weeks. That's when [singer-songwriter] Luther Vandross knocked on my hotel door and said, 'I wanted to see who you were,'" says Jackson.
He says he became good friends with Vandross because they were both singers and New York City natives.
Jackson says it all started for him as a little kid on 121st Street.
"Harlem, the fire escape was my first stage. Isn't that amazing?" says Jackson. "They used to set me on the fire escape on the fifth floor, walk-up. On Saturdays, others kids were outside playing baseball and a game called loadees and stickball and all of the rest of the stuff, and I was on the fire escape singing."
All these years later, Jackson is still singing. In 2010, he released an album called "For You."
"Luther said to me a long time ago, he said 'Never record a record that you are not happy with.' And so I'm taking the master's advice. I will not record a record that I am not happy with," says Jackson.
Freddie Jackson says he is still constantly performing and feels blessed to be doing what he loves — singing.