Trevor Jackson is a name you won't soon forget. The bubbling R&B singer/actor is making waves with his new song "Drop It" but the 16-year-old Indiana native already has an impressive résumé.
At the age of eight, he was roaring on national stages as the famous cub, Simba, in the Broadway musical The Lion King. Fast forward a few years later and he has flooded TV screens with appearances in the 2012 Disney Channel original movie Let It Shine, and CBS shows "Cold Case" and "Criminal Mind."
Now, Trevor's laying down the groundwork as a triple-threat. As he plots a musical takeover with his past-PG lyrics and charming personality, the "Like We Grown" singer gives his take on young fame, following in the moonwalk of a legendary artist with the same last name, and his love for older women.— Terry Carter Jr.
For a young entertainer, you juggle a lot as a writer, actor, singer and dancer. Which one do you enjoy doing the most?
Trevor Jackson: That's hard man. They all kinda go hand in hand. If I write a song, I'm gonna end up singing it. If I sing it, I gotta dance to it. Even when you're on stage, you have to act, sing, dance, all of them. I don't know if I can pick.
You played young Simba on the Broadway rendition of The Lion King when you were eight. How did it prepare you for fame at such a young age?
That was amazing. That was kinda like the whole training grounds for what I'm doing now. I was touring for three years, singing, dancing and acting everyday. It really helped me. Now it's weird because if I'm not doing anything, I get antsy. I feel like I always have to be doing something.
You're performing at the WNBA All Star game this weekend. Do you ever get pre-show jitters before you get on stage?
You always wanna go out there and make sure everything goes right so yes and no. I love performing so much and making people smile, doing what I love to do. Of course, there may be jitters right before you go on, but as soon as you step foot on there, it's like 'This is what I do.'
You have a song called "Like We Grown" which leans on the mature side of relationships. Do you ever feel pressured to act a certain age?
No. It's funny because a lot of the stuff is a little too old for this first album. But yeah, "Like We Grown" compared to the other records we have now plays a little young. The new stuff is not going over any boundaries or anything, but it's definitely a little insinuating here and there.
So when it comes to the ladies, are you into older women?
(Laughs) Yes, yes I am. That's always been my case since I was little. Let's just say when I was 8 years old, my girlfriend was 11. And as I kept growing, [I was] 13, she was 18. It just keeps going.
Who are some of the artists you're listening to right now?
J. Cole for sure. Kendrick [Lamar], Drake. Some Chris Brown. I love country music. Hunter Hayes. Rascal Flatts. Ray Charles. Stevie [Wonder]. Michael Jackson.
Speaking of Michael Jackson, you're both from the same hometown of Indiana. How has he inspired you in your career?
He's inspired me in so many ways. It was actually him and Gregory Hines to be honest. When I first started tap dancing, I would watch tap movies. Gregory Hines was in there and then I would watch Michael Jackson videos. It was weird because when I was little, I used to think I was Michael. I think I had a disorder or something, but every time Michael was on TV, I was like, 'That's me, that's me!' I always felt a connection to Michael and everything he did, not even as an entertainer, but as a person. He cared about the world. He cared about children. He was the perfect specimen of what a good entertainer should be. He's a beast. Can you tell I'm a fan?
You're currently working on your upcoming debut album. What type of sound are you going for?
Most of it is mid-tempo and ballads but there are some fast tempo ones but definitely those R&B bangers. Love-making music for sure — for young people! It's young, puppy love.
Which artists are on your list of dream collaborators?
Eminem. Drake. Kendrick Lamar. A$AP [Rocky] is dope. We're definitely working on getting [some of those collaborations]. You just gotta wait and see.
You recently released "Drop It" on iTunes and the response has been really positive. The song is also featured in the Monopoly commercial for McDonalds. Can we expect a music video for that?
It's a great record. I enjoyed recording it and shooting the video. We're dropping the video today (July 25) on 106 & Park and the video turned out great. I'm blessed to have it. Everyone seems to love it.
There have been some claims online about who originally recorded the song. Could you could set the record straight on that?
I can't really speak on the history of "Drop It" considering I don't really know anything about it but all I do know is that me, my team, and Atlantic Records have bought the record and the song is legally mine.
Tell us about your upcoming projects. Where should your fans be expecting to see you?
Definitely look out for some tour dates coming up. I've been in the studio every day just really trying to get the best record for the fans. Hopefully we'll have another single out too. Maybe an EP. I'll be at the Duffy's Hope Celebrity Basketball Game August 3rd and I'll also be performing at the US Open Arthur Ashe Kids' Day August 24th.
Listen to his new single "Drop It" below and purchase it on iTunes here. Also tune in Saturday, July 27th at 3:30pm on ABC to see Trevor's halftime performance at the WNBA All-Star game.
Photo Credit: John Richard