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Tristan Jackson: Canadian Pop Singer on the Rise
Up-and-coming Canadian pop singer Tristan Jackson’s dedication to bringing fans new and exciting music is impressive and admirable. On March 26th, he released his latest single, “Give Me The Night,” and he’s already hard at work on his next project, an EP that’s sure to bring him more fans both within the LGBT community and beyond.
Smart Gay Life managed to catch up with Tristan after a busy day of recording and promoting music to ask a few questions about the new single, working as an openly gay musician, and the current state of the LGBT community in Canada and in the music industry.
Smart Gay Life: Hi Tristan, thanks for taking some time to talk to us today. Can you tell me a little bit about your background and how you got started in music?
Tristan Jackson: Thank you for having me. And thank you to your readers. I grew up in a really small town in Ontario, Canada. Knowing I was gay at an early age, I really didn’t feel like I fit in anywhere. I could never be myself without being judged. In a town where everybody really did know everybody’s name, I was often bullied. I’m sure many of your readers know what that’s like.
Smart Gay Life: Absolutely.
Knowing I was gay at an early age, I really didn’t feel like I fit in anywhere. #TristanJackson Click To Tweet
Tristan Jackson: Playing piano started for me when I was a very young, around 6-7 years old. My mom had me taking lessons, and that lead to The Conservatory of Music. I was always singing. In the back of the car going to my grandpa’s, I’d be singing country songs. Our living room was filled with music, I was just constantly performing. I knew from an early age, “this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.”
Smart Gay Life: Who were some of the artists you would listen to growing up?
Tristan Jackson: I really enjoyed all kinds of music, from Nirvana to N’Sync. My older brother had a great collection of music, so I would often listen to his. At the end I loved pop music. I like to say I was a total “pop whore”. I also listened to a lot of Alanis Morrisette. I still do.
Smart Gay Life: I’m curious about your experience as an openly gay musician. Do you think that’s given you a wider audience or brought up some unexpected challenges?
Tristan Jackson: I don’t think it’s really made a difference at this point. I kept things to myself at the start because I thought it would be difficult and that it might be negative, but with artists like Troye Sivan and Sam Smith being out it’s becoming more of a non-issue.
Smart Gay Life: It does seem like there’s been a lot of progress made for visibility for LGBT musicians.
With Troye Sivan & Sam Smith being out, it’s becoming more a non-issue. #TristanJackson Click To Tweet
Tristan Jackson: I feel like we’re making really large strides in the right direction. I see artists like Lady Gaga and Demi Levato supporting the LGBT community, which has made it easier for artists like myself.
Smart Gay Life: I saw that your current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attended last year’s Toronto’s Gay Pride while campaigning, have you noticed any shift in Canada’s LGBT community as a country?
Tristan Jackson: We’re so lucky to live in such an incredible, liberal country. The fact that Justin Trudeau, during his campaign, was at the pride parade in Toronto was amazing. It’s a big step forward for everyone. Canada became one of the first countries in the world to legalize gay marriage. And I am proud to be a part of that.
Smart Gay Life: Was moving to Toronto a big adjustment? Did you experience any culture shock?
Tristan Jackson: I feel like I’m a big city boy, and always have been. I always had a longing to live in a city, especially when I realized I wanted to be a musician. When I got here it felt more like “I’ve arrived” rather than “Oh god, what am I going to do?”
Smart Gay Life: You recently released a new single, “Give Me the Night.” Can you give us any insight into how that song came about and what it means to you?
Tristan Jackson: I’m so excited about this song. It’s a new sound, and it’s kind of a sexy song, which I’d never really done before. One of my favorite lines in the song is “Let’s go deep / no halfways / give me all your little shades of gray,” so that’s kind of self-explanatory.
Give Me The Night was written with my team in Montreal. We’re working on new material for record labels and radio, including a lyric video that is coming out soon. I love this song so much! We just wanted to get it out there so people could hear it and enjoy it. Currently, we are working on a new EP, It’s very fresh and current.
I’m so excited about my new single. It's kind of a sexy song. #TristanJackson Click To Tweet
Smart Gay Life: Do you have any plans to tour to support the EP once it’s released?
Tristan Jackson: I finished my debut Canadian tour last summer. Right now I’m focused on building a broader audience and getting my music out to a wider fan base. My fans are very important to me, so I want to give them the best. So touring? Yes! That is in the near future plan.
Smart Gay Life: What message would you want to give to young LGBT musicians who may be struggling with being out or finding their voice?
Tristan Jackson: Honestly, I’ve been there. I struggled with, “Should I be out?” “Will it ruin my career”, It’s difficult, but my advice is, “you’re not alone”. There’s a strong, thriving, vast LGBT community out there. It may not be in your town, but they are out there, and social media allows us to be in touch with them. And that community can support your music on their own, it’s so big. If you’re authentic and real, people will respond to that, gay or straight.If you’re authentic and real, people will respond to that, gay or straight. #TristanJackson Click To Tweet
Listen to Tristan Jackson’s latest single, “Give Me the Night”. For more, visit his website