NEW YORK (AP) – It started in her bedroom with just a guitar, but Paris Jackson turned the heartache after a recent breakup into her first solo album.
Jackson, 22, has been a dedicated music fan her entire life and has strived to create his own, but has hesitated to call herself a singer-songwriter until now.
“It’s one of the greatest feelings I’ve ever experienced,” Jackson told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview this week.
She describes her ethereal acoustic sound as alternative folk – far from the genre of her father, Michael Jackson. Being the daughter of the King of Pop adds an extra layer of control to the vulnerability needed to bring personal songs to the world.
“I’m excited, I’m nervous, but I’m convinced that the people who are supposed to hear this album are going to hear it. It will reach them. And as far as the critics and all that stuff, I don’t really think they’ll know how to criticize it, ”Jackson says.
Earlier this year, Jackson was one half of the acoustic duo “The Soundflowers” with boyfriend Gabriel Glenn, until the two went their separate ways. She describes healing a broken heart as true “chest pain,” but Jackson turned her pain into art. “You were my everything / And now I’m falling to the ground,” she sings on her new single “Let Down”, which comes out Friday.
The time spent in her bedroom resulted in 11 songs on the concept album, “Wilted,” released by Republic Records, and on November 13th. All the stages of mourning are represented in her lyrics: anger, denial, bargaining and acceptance, but the last song, the happy “Another Spring”, reveals a stronger woman who lets “her wounds shine”. “
Jackson cites many musical influences, including singer-songwriters Damien Rice, Ray LaMontagne, and Conor Oberst. Her eyes light up when she talks about being a “big fan” of indie rock band Manchester Orchestra. When she heard that the group’s guitarist-singer-songwriter Andy Hull was going to produce their first record, she was elated. She flew to Atlanta to work with him and says the band supported his sound.
“Everyone was so welcoming and kind and they considered this project to be very sacred. They understood my emotional connection to it and understood it was my baby. They didn’t want to do anything that wasn’t genuine to who I am and they just took it to the next level, ”Jackson says.
Michael Jackson tried to shield his three young children from the limelight. After Jackson died in 2009 from an overdose of the anesthetic propofol, Paris and her two brothers – who go through Prince, 23, and Bigi, 18 – moved to live with their grandmother, Katherine Jackson. Paris moved at 18 and was a model and actor, but still played music.
In June, she and Glenn had a Facebook Watch documentary series titled “Unfiltered,” which provided insight into her private life and the duo’s little acoustic tour. Jackson revealed acts of self-harm and suicide attempts in his testimonies, and said music was a way to channel his pain.
There is an upcoming clip to accompany the new single “Let Down”, a nod to young Jackson’s love for horror and blood. In it, the character she plays has her heart literally ripped from her chest by her lover. One of the recurring scenes takes place in dark woods, reminiscent of elements from his father’s famous “Thriller” video. When asked what he might think of his music, Jackson hesitates.
” I do not know. I’m not him, so I can’t speak for him. But I hope he would be happy, and I think he would be happy because I am happy, ”she said.
The pandemic has ruled out most musical acts and Jackson says she misses hearing her favorite bands live and aspires to play a few shows soon, if anti-COVID-19 measures allow. She said she hopes the music will help people feel “a little less lonely”.
“I found so much healing in creating this. And there are times when I’ll listen to certain songs and I’m like, “Wow, I was so naive. “But for the most part, it’s like so much gratitude and joy that I get from listening to these songs and just seeing the development and evolution,” she says.