Jackie Lawson
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Jackie Lawson

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Band Country Singer/Songwriter

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


"'Crazy Blonde'"

It’s only taken 9 months to put together – feels like forever if you’re waiting for it, but it was really quick by industry standards. “I guess it depends on when you say we started the project,” says Charleston native Jackie Lawson. “A couple of the songs on this album were written years ago, not months. And we’ve wanted to do a full album for 3 years.” She’d been to Nashville numerous times, but the June 2006 trip was different. June’s trip was for the sole purpose of looking for more songs. That marked the beginning of the “Crazy Blonde” project.

Jackie Lawson is a country music singer, songwriter, and entertainer who in the last five years has opened for Buddy Jewel, Josh Gracin, Sugarland, and Craig Morgan. She’s written dozens of songs, performed at hundreds of shows, released a Single CD (“A Little Hope”), and created quite a buzz throughout the Midwest and Nashville about her high-energy show and evocative vocals. Oh, and somewhere in there she earned her bachelors degree in accounting at EIU.

She’s been singing with Black N Blue (dance rock band) for nearly two years, and last year she debuted her country band Jackie Lawson and her Hillbilly Rockstars (JLHR) who immediately started winning contests in the country music scene.

Hard work has always meant progress for Jackie, and this is no exception. “I don’t know how, but we knew that it was time for a full album. I crunched the numbers, called my producer in Kentucky and said, ‘I wanna do it. It’s time and I’m ready.’”

She knew from the beginning that this project would mean a lot of time and work, but hadn’t imagined all the details that would need worked out. While looking for music, Jackie approached several local businesses and supporters for sponsorships. Ultimately, she gained the support of Linda Nugent & Associates, KC Summers, John Inyart / Midas, Charleston Rotary Club, and Charleston Elks, and received additional support from other anonymous individuals.

While the songs were being recorded and mixed, Jackie was communicating back and forth with the design team for the CD package. And while the CD was being designed, she was re-writing all the information for her newly remodeled website www.jackielawsonmusic.com. While all these were being worked on, she began making arrangements for the giant CD release party to be held at Brian’s Place in Mattoon on March 9.

“We drove to Nashville at least every month to write and look for music. Zac [her husband] and I must’ve waded through hundreds of songs and CD’s looking for just the right sound. I already had narrowed down to 3 songs I’d written and one by someone else. I found 5 more songs in Nashville – including “Crazy Blonde Behind the Wheel” which later became the title track – and wrote one more to fill an album with 10 fantastic songs.”

Of course, any song she didn’t write needed permission from the songwriters’ publishers. This sometimes meant contacting 3 different publishers for one song (if the song was co-written by 3 people).

“We scheduled a day at Masterfonics ‘Tracking Room’ (where the likes of Kenny Rogers, Shania Twain, and Gretchen Wilson have all recorded albums) to lay down the music. I spent all of December in a vocal booth. Everything got mixed and mastered, the CD was designed and duplicated, a new website was designed to match, and now – FINALLY – it’s time to reveal all this hard work to the world.”

Did we mention that Jackie is also in two bands, and that they never stopped performing while all this was going on? How did she do it?

“A lot of help!” she says. “I am blessed to be surrounded by people who believe in me: sponsors, friends, family, my band, my producer, my Nashville friends, and most especially my husband. He keeps me organized and on track. And if I’d been up three nights in a row for shows, he’d be the one to drag me out of bed and drive me to the next studio session or radio interview.”

But really when it all boils down, she adds, she loves her music so much that calling it “work” seems laughable. She calls music and entertainment “addicting” and her band agrees.

“I just hope that when people buy “Crazy Blonde,” they can hear how much I love what I do. I enjoy the wide range of style and the drama of country music and I think this album reflects that.”

The CD release party will be 7:00-8:30pm at Brian’s Place in Mattoon on Friday, March 9. Doors open at 6:30 and minors are welcome until the kitchen closes at 9. Jackie Lawson and her Hillbilly Rockstars will be performing all the new songs and telling stories about the project. CD’s will – of course – be available for sale at the party and then afterwards online (www.jackielawsonmusic.com) and at Positively Fourth Street Records in Charleston. The first song to be release from this album “Stubborn” is already being played on radio all over the Midwest.


- Journal Gazette - Times Courrier


Discography

Currently, Jackie has just finished her first full album “Crazy Blonde”, recorded in Nashville, TN at the legendary Masterphonics Studio. The new album, produced my Mike Jones and Jackie, consists of 10 previously unreleased tracks. Four of these – "Don't Let Me Love You," "Stranger," "When You're Here," and "Give Me a Break (Busy, Busy, Busy)"– were written by Jackie. "Stubborn", of the Crazy Blonde album, was released to radio in February of '07 and has been recieving rotation air play and request air play by numerous radio stations through out the Midwest as well as a few out East and down South. Check out http://www.illinoishomepage.net/media_player.php?media_id=1203 to watch Jackie perform an acoustic version live on WCIA news.

In September 2005, Jackie released her debut CD single "A Little Hope" and "Waiting", both original works. "A Little Hope" was released independently to radio and helped to raise over $300 for the American Cancer Society.
Jackie continues to tour and delivers a dynamic country concert backed by her Hillbilly Rockstars. She also continues to write music everywhere she goes.

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

“If I was to sum up my music, I’d say it’s one crazy blonde with a high-energy rock show dumped in a country bucket,” says Charleston, Illinois native Jackie Lawson. Jackie has an expressive voice, soulful and strong, gentle and innocent, kickin’ and down-home. It’s a unique voice that stirs the heart, leads the imagination, and brings the songs to life. On stage, she has a remarkable way of making her audiences feel at ease, yet entertained, with a fiery-sweet attitude and energetic presence that won’t quickly be forgotten.

Growing up, Jackie had a number of musical influences, thanks to the diverse tastes of her family. “I’ve grown up being surrounded, inundated by music. My parents played albums of everything from the Beatles to the Judds, Patty Loveless, James Taylor, and Harry Chapin. My brother, a jazz musician by education, often played Pink Floyd, Blind Melon, Pearl Jam, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and anything not pop. Somewhere in there, I started listening to Tom Petty, Janet Jackson, Aerosmith, & No Doubt. I can enjoy any one of these albums today, but you’ll usually find me listening to the female powerhouse voices of modern country, like Sara, Martina, Sugarland, & Faith. I really respect Faith Hill as an artist and as a person. She's really come a long way. I hope someday I can pull off her kind of success with the same grace and humor.”

Although only in her twenties, Jackie is well on her way. If you were to ask her how long she’s been singing she’d tell you, “twenty-something years; well, sort-of. I’ve been an infamous shower singer for 20 years, a church singer for 12, and entertainment singer for 9 and a country singer for 4.” A whole is the sum of its parts, and a life is a series of moments; Jackie’s is no exception.

At age 17, she flew to Argentina for a year as a Rotary Youth Exchange student and returned home fluent in Spanish and singing up a storm. It was during this time Jackie unknowingly began nurturing and creating her own individual style of singing.

Now, back home, the kindhearted locals of her hometown never hesitate to show her their support. She adds that her biggest encouragement comes from home, though, from her husband and her family.

With a big push from her husband, Jackie decided to take some chances by diving in head first. In October of 2002 he drove her up to Detroit for her first audition ever, for the second season of American Idol. She passed two auditions before meeting Simon, Paula, and Randy in the third audition. Unanimously, they told her that she had a good voice, but wasn’t quite what they were looking for on the show at that time.

On March 6 of 2004 Jackie readily accepted the opportunity to open for Buddy Jewel offered by the folks at Nashville North USA in Taylorville, IL. Jackie comments, “For being my first big label opening act, the experience was so uplifting and motivating. I told myself that music and entertainment is definitely where I want to be.” She admits that this decision made her a little nervous at first, but borrowing the lyrics of a Jo Dee Messina song (“Was That my Life”) Jackie says confidently, “Yes, I’ll fall before I fly, but no one can say I never tried.”

Forging ahead, Jackie has since opened for Josh Gracin (2005), Sugarland (2006), and Craig Morgan (2006 in front of 8,000 screaming fans!). She's joined the Illinois Country Music Association (ICMA), American Society of Composers Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI), and graduated from Eastern Illinois University with a bachelor’s in Business Accounting. She has been chosen to compete in numerous Colgate Country Showdowns from Wisconsin, Indiana, Missouri, Kentucky, and Illinois, and she's competed at the State level for Illinois (2005) and Indiana (2006). As a result of her onstage talent and widening fan base, Jackie has been invited to sing with several area country and rock bands including Twisted Dixie, Black N Blue, TNT & the Dynamite Cowboys, The Awesome Possum Project, and Northern Lights.

In August 2005, a locally successful dance rock and blues band “Black N Blues” asked Jackie to join up as lead vocalist. She accepted on the condition that they would back up her country shows when spring rolled around. It was a perfect match! Black N Blue dropped the “s” and focused on popular rock tunes of the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, & today. When the time came for country music, an alias band was created under the name “Hillbilly Rockstars.” Both bands (well, the same band under two names playing two different genres) skyrocketed in popularity and are constantly touring the Midwest.

In September 2005, Jackie released her debut CD single "A Little Hope" and "Waiting", both original works. "A Little Hope" was released independently and helped to raise over $300 for the American Cancer Society.

Currently, Jackie has just finished her first full album “Crazy Blonde” and is planning a release p