EJ Jackson has been on his musical grind since he was in high school. In 2013 as a 16-year-old, the worship leader, songwriter, musician and producer released his debut EP to the world. Now, three years later, EJ is all grown up and making major moves in his musical career. Today, October 28, he released Soul Vaccine, an EP designed to be the prescription for what the world needs now.
PositivelyGospel.com caught up with EJ as he was preparing for today’s release. In the in-depth interview, EJ shared how he got involved with music, opening for Mali Music and that harrowing day when he was kidnapped as a child.
How did you get involved with music?
“I grew up in church. I’ve been the minister of music at my church since I was in the seventh grade. Music has always been a part of me. I came up in the church playing the drums, singing, playing the piano. That’s really how it started. I had a love for it and I wanted to do it. But, I wanted to make an impact, to say something, so I just express myself through music. That’s the best thing that I’m good at.”
Do you write most of your music?
“Yes, everything that you hear usually starts off with me. Just so I have a hook or something. I’ll ask a few of my friends or somebody that I trust to come help me finish it, but everything usually starts with me. It’s got to work for me and everything is really therapeutic for me so if it doesn’t touch me, I don’t feel like it can touch anybody else so it starts with me.”
Where do you get your inspiration?
“I really just write. Every day, I would maybe see something that inspired me or go through a situation that may inspire me, but I think I just get inspiration from life itself. That’s really where everything comes from.”
You went through a very harrowing experience when you were very young. Could you tell me about that?
“I was kidnapped at the age of 5 in St. Petersburg, FL. Most of everything that I know is from what people tell me. I remember nothing about what happened. It was late at night when they found me alone the same day in the apartment complex. They shut down the whole complex. The police came down and they found me in a car. Everything was alright; I wasn’t touched; I wasn’t harmed. So, it was really my testimony. It makes me want to give God my life and my music and everything that I want to get I want to give it back to God. Just to say something positive, to bring love hope, peace back to the forefront. Music is so painful these days, so I just kind of want to be the guy that says something that uses my gifts for good.”
The EP’s lead single is “Hold Me Down.” Could you talk about that song?
“Hold Me Down” is just really taking life by the shoulders and just says whether you’re going through sickness, depression, loneliness, it’s not going to hold you down. You know sometimes we just can’t wait for the bishop or the apostle to come to our house. Sometimes we got to get our own stuff straight and just take it by force. We need to speak over our own situation. So, that’s basically what it’s about: sickness, depression, whatever you going through, make it personal. Don’t let it get you, don’t let it hold you down, don’t let it get the best of you.”
Tell me about Soul Vaccine.
“We have a lot great songs, just a lot of different stuff on Soul Vaccine, a lot of stuff that I think is going to make people dig deeper. We, as Christians and even as people, we just like what’s comfortable for us. I feel this project is going to make us dig deeper and fix those things that make us comfortable. We can’t hold back the truth anymore. I feel this project is going to do just that and make us dig deeper as a person.”
What does Soul Vaccine mean and what will it do?
“Make us dig deeper and the soul part is basically good for the soul. It’s music you can pop in when you’re having a bad day at work, when your kids are acting crazy. The vaccine part of it is just what I’m prescribing because at the end of the day, everything is coming back to Jesus. It’s not about me; its way deeper than that. I’m just giving you Jesus, that’s all it is.”
You will be 19 in December. Looking back over the past three years, what do you credit for your success?
“I came up in the church. I love doing music I love playing music, so I knew that this is what I wanted to do. I got my start pretty early, doing music in high school and stuff like that. I give credit to my dad because he took me to the studio at a young age and he invested. my parents invested in me. Given that start it was kind of easier for me because I had family backing me. I had family that took time and invested in me. They really took the time to harvest the seeds that they knew God had planted in me. They already knew. I knew what I wanted to do so I took it by force, even the people told me that ‘oh you’re not going to be able to do this’ in high school. My teachers and counselors said ‘you got to go to college’ and stuff like that. You can do anything that you put your mind to. Anything that you do for Christ will last, so I kind of got focused and that’s what got me here. I got focused and didn’t listen to what people said. The only person I have in my ear right now is God. I can’t listen to everybody else; that’s how I hear.”
Your father is also a musician, right?
“My dad doesn’t sing but he was very involved in putting on concerts and being a concert promoter. He doesn’t play or sing. He’s the youth pastor at my church (True Foundation Full Gospel Baptist Church) where I’m minister of music. My pastor is the state bishop of Full Gospel of Indiana and I’m the State Minister of Music.”
In July, you had the opportunity to open for Mali Music. What was that experience like?
“They were looking for some people to open and Mali is an inspiration for me. I knew what I wanted to do at first, but I didn’t know how to push it out and pour it out to the people, so I looked straight to Mali and he really showed me how to do it. He really gave me an outline. He’s a huge inspiration for me. They were looking for opening acts and I sent them the stuff and they liked it so it’s pretty cool. I was right before him and did a 30-minute set. It was really crazy because this is my idol, the person I look up to so it’s really cool and it happened at the right time so I was ready for it.”
Is there anything else you would like readers to know?
“Pray that when people get the music that they will love it and put them in the right place. It’s not about me; it’s something much deeper than that. That’s the Soul Vaccine.”