TIFFANY TEST: As I was walking near the oceanfront in Va Beach a couple of weeks ago, I stumbled across 20 year old Jackson Lebeau playing at a local bar during the day, and the sweet sound of his voice drew me inside. I had only stopped for a soda but the song seemed so familiar to me; I seemed to know every word for some reason, so I quickly got my video camera and started recording. After his second song, I had to know who this artist was and why I knew that song, so I got a piece of paper out of my notebook and wrote him a note, saying ” my name is Tiffany, I write for a magazine, and I’d love to interview you. Please call me if you’re interested in an interview”. A couple of days go by and I finally figured out that I had heard the song on the radio, it was Jason Mraz’s newest hit, “I won’t give up,”
and I had just heard it on the drive from Texas to Virginia that same week. Jackson agreed to do an interview and photo shoot with me.
Upon talking to Jackson, I realized he was at the very beginning stages of his career, so I quickly converted all of his YouTube songs into mp3’s for him and delivered his first cd to him at the photo shoot a few days later. He said that he was unsigned, and had just begun getting studio time to produce his first album, but I knew with all of my heart that this guy had the “it” factor. We met up at a beautifully wooded area near his home and got lots of great photos, and then I asked him to perform live for me so I could video his performance. It was absolutely mind blowing to watch such raw, untainted talent come out of its shell right before my eyes. I could tell that Jackson didn’t have a lot of confidence in the beginning, but by the end of the day, his head and his heart knew what I knew, and it was an amazing transformation. I asked him to play the Jason Mraz cover for me twice in a row, and I sat down between him and his father, closed my eyes, and began to write whatever came into my mind. Here are the thoughts I jotted down while listening to him perform: “perfect yet passionately enunciated soft vocals”, “damn, when he lets go it sends chills down my spine”, “the melody and harmony feels like a windy breeze blowing through me.” After several songs, and the daylight had disappeared, I thanked him and gave him his first CD’s, and carried a peaceful state of mind home. I was so at rested that when I awoke the next day, it seemed like someone had rocked me to sleep…. I had slept like a baby.
I spent the next several days getting Jackson ready for the world, only to find out he was more ready than I knew. We worked on a few things, like how to post his upcoming shows to all of his social media outlets, and I got him to begin seeing himself as the rock star I know he is inside. Over the course of a couple of weeks though, I discovered exactly how much music is the biggest part of him; so I only had to get him to understand he belonged in the music industry too.
After many nights of prep work, I’m ready to share what I found and give you all Jackson’s story in his own words:
JACKSON LEBEAU: Music has always been a big part of my life. My mother used to sing and play guitar, my sister, Sarah, sang and played guitar and piano, and my brother, CJ played the drums. When I was younger, I had my mother teach me three chords on the guitar, and just kind of ran with it. My brother, sister, “and I started playing music together about 4 years ago. We played open mic nights at the Virginia beach oceanfront, and that was when I started writing lyrics for my sister to sing. I quickly found myself addicted to writing. I was never much of a singer, I couldn’t carry a tune to save my life. Luckily for me, my sister was willing to be my voice. After about a year of playing and writing, Sarah became less interested in playing music and I was left with a decision to either sink or swim. I knew at this point I couldn’t walk away from music, but without a voice I really only had one other option. I decided to build my own. I sat at a piano for most of the summer before my senior year of high school, and taught myself to sing. Along the way, I taught myself to play bass, piano, and drums to help with the writing and arranging of my original songs. One of the first songs I had ever written for myself was called “If This Were A Love Song”. The original hook read:
“If this were a love song, I’d make sure that you knew”,
“If this were a love song, it wouldn’t concern you”.
After working with the song I made a conscious decision to drastically change the tone of the lyric. It was my way of rewriting the story behind the song. I didn’t like the idea of looking back on an angry point of view, so I decided to turn it into a legitimate love song. The lyric then became:
“If this were a love song, I’d make sure that you knew”,
“If this were a love song, I’d name it after you”.
Now, I am a student at Old Dominion University, studying Music Business/Production, in an attempt to learn as much as I possibly can about every aspect of the industry. I was so obsessed with the power that came with songwriting, the control of every aspect, that I’ve been writing ever since and have never looked back. With about 64 songs total, some finished and some still hopeful pieces, I’ve begun the process to pick which songs will be the best representation for my first album.
As far as musical influences go, my musical background is somewhat split down the middle. I grew up listening to classic groups like Pink Floyd, The Who, Genesis, and Tom Petty. The kind of artists who could get away with writing 8-minute songs. At the same time, however, I’ve acquired a taste for the pop melodies of current artists like John Mayer, and Jason Mraz. I love that these pop artists form a community with their hooks, and you cant help but sing along. Somewhere between these styles is where I hope to find my place in this industry.
TIFFANY TEST: So that’s the whole story! I am so grateful that I met this wonderful artist and his family, and even more grateful that the world will be a more harmonious place because of musicians like Jackson, who love to write and sing for all of the right reasons. He may have been just a 20 year old local musician a few weeks ago, but today, he is confident about his talent and is ready to share it with the world. He has CD’s to pass out now, great videos that only he has the rights to, at least three professional social media outlets to display his upcoming shows on, a small fan base, and most importantly, a new fan who would like to share his music with you. I arranged for him to get tickets for him and his family to a show by Jason Mraz, who as it turns out is his idol, and why he was singing that song that led me to him in the first place.
Please take a few moments to check out Jackson’s videos and pages below!