Back in the day vinyl (which has now sadly become almost defunct) was informative because it encouraged you to look at the back cover and see who was behind the latest banger that you were so keen on owning for your collection. Nowadays with downloadable music it’s less likely that you will get info on the people behind the track.
So where am I going with this short nostalgic look at vinyl?
Well I am going to Jackie Boyz the Georgia born brothers who have been dropping some of the biggest tracks in the charts for the last four years from some of the biggest artists right now think: Madonna, Cheryl Cole, 50 Cent, Chris Brown and Justin Bieber. Don’t feel a way that you may not have known them because in truth I was not aware how prolific they were as songwriters until I met the humble duo when they visited LDN.
Since giving Flo-rida his huge hit four years ago with Sugar ft Wynter Gordon (2009) which became a platinum selling album it’s been a continuous stream of placements that have kept them busy. Ironically the platinum selling record for Flo-rida which gave them their first hit could have just as easily been the end as Steve the tallest of the brothers details.
“Flo-rida was difficult he did not really care for the song [Sugar] he did not think it was going to do what it did. When we met, he did not say anything and we did not know how to feel. His team were saying they would figure it out but he just kept quiet the whole time. It was really difficult because nothing is worse than silence! We had everyone in the room and this was our first placement and so they were looking at us like this is your make or break chance.” He adds still evidently able to recall that moment with a vivid clarity “The executives really pushed the track however because they wanted him to go more urban/pop rather than urban. I think the issue was he was possibly not ready for the UK and the world with that type of music. He wanted to do what he wanted I expect but now if you ask him about pop music he obviously loves it I am sure!”
Of course no story of success is complete without a fair degree of life’s trials-this is indicative of success stories before the success! The death of their father was the first of two tragedies to hit the young brothers-“It has been a lot of hard work and a lot of emotional things in life to deal with” says Carlos the older of the two brothers, “We told ourselves that we are going to go out to LA and try and make a name for ourselves. We had about two hundred bucks on us and used the bus (because we could not afford the plane ticket). The first day we only made fifty dollars and we are like ‘man are we sure this is what we want to do?’ We went out again and played our music and the next time we made about two hundred and eighty bucks just off the street and things just went from there”
The catalyst for such a daring journey came from the second tragedy to hit them with the sad and untimely death of their mother (Jackie) who clearly helped to instil the great characteristics needed to make such a bold choice and evidently gave the group its name.
“My mum always talked to us about camaraderie and sticking together so we were always discussing this thing of being in a group together.” States Steve, “So when she did die we were in one more group before we became Jackie Boyz-we just woke up one morning and decided that we should stop all this stupid stuff with groups and stay with the core. Carlos even predicted it when he was fourteen he said: ‘you know what would be a dope group-just me and you?’-Who knew that years later we would be Jackie Boyz with people trying rip our music off the email and trying to leak our stuff”
Carlos adds, “It’s such a blessing and a pleasure that when you say Jackie Boyz you are saying Jackie’s boys. She continues to inspire us in so many ways. I mean Steve and I will automatically think of things that she did in the past and we will laugh about it. Even with future songs we will write them in her honour so we are just constantly inspired by our mother.”
This camaraderie and inspiration of their mother has served them well and so when you meet the two brothers there is a clear sense that they probably do just about everything together and more importantly back each other to the fullest. Furthermore there is a clear lack of competition between the two so when I ask Steve who inspired him his answer his unequivocal?
“Honestly my brother. He grew up listening to a lot of music and that inspired me to want to do music so I would tag along with him in groups (we were in lots of groups) singing on the street and you know one minute my brother would be like ‘you got to be the main singer in this group’ in another he would be no you need to be on backing vocals’ but it was all cool. Other artists would be the Temptations, Michael Jackson and Marvin Gaye-growing up and watching those guys was just such an inspiration.”
The Marvin Gaye reference holds particular significance since this year sees the guys taking on a mammoth yet undoubtedly hugely rewarding job of creating the Marvin Gaye soundtrack for the film that is officially out sometime next year. Independent projects are also the order of the year of the year and 2013 sees them entering relatively un-chartered ground.
“We are putting out our record with DJ Sammy called Shut Up And Kiss Me which is going to be the next big single for Sammy and us.”Steve adds, “We will be shooting a video for that which is a first for us really so that will be very exciting. We also have an event called Jackie Boyz and Friends which is a great live music show we started in LA.”
Carlos seamlessly takes over by adding “We initially thought about just having us perform but then we thought we know so many people that would love to sing and perform there that we decided to call it Jackie Boyz and Friends and last week we did a big club event and five hundred people came.” This was a massive event where the Jackie Boys have used the years providing hits for big names to bring in some huge names.
“Every major executive was there” Appearing to be somewhat surprised, Steve enthuses, “Justin Timberlake’s producer was there, Def Jam, RCA it was amazing. So we are doing that every month so the next one is in LA again, then Vegas and we would like that to end in London. We are looking for all UK artists from Rnb, folk we want it all. The night will end with us doing a fifty minute mash up so if people from London want to get involved then let us know”
Having interviewed a few people it’s always clear when an interview has been good because it seems more of a conversation rather than a series of questions fired off for rather uninspiring answers-this was a conversation which was aided by the fact that Jackie Boyz do not seem to have let any notions of fame over take their egos. Case in point when I ask them is there anything they want to add they acknowledge their loved ones? Carlos to his wife and his daughter Michaela, Steve to his girlfriend-very nice.
Jackie’s boys she would be proud!