Listening to Keisha Jackson's voice quiver on throwback ballads such as the Anthony David duet "Lady" is like sitting on a plastic-covered couch in your grandma's living room, nodding to the sweet release of vintage soul.
"I'm a bad-ass, gutsy soul singer. Ain't no comparison or competition. No one has a voice like mine," proclaims the poised veteran, whose robust vocals convert stages into her own personal pulpit. "Soul music is more than singing from the gut. It comes from the Negro spirituals and always deals with our struggle and condition as black folk."
Gritty soul sangin' has led to recurrent globe trotting and an enduring career as the accompanying weapon of choice among a bevy of acts including Aretha Franklin, Erykah Badu, Toni Braxton, Slick (Coupe Deville Theory), Joi, OutKast and Raphael Saadiq. Jackson lives for the gig and cut her industry teeth backing her legendary mother, the slick-talking Millie Jackson.
She began her assault on the Atlanta scene in the late '80s/early '90s, unleashing her musical voodoo in venues such as Mr. V's Figure 8, 731 and Marko's. These early club years informed her soul leanings.
There is a stark contrast between commercial viability and talent. Label support and superficial marketing yield hits; real gifts render careers. So don't expect Jackson to rush through her upcoming album.
"I don't trip about success taking too long. I plan on stickin' and staying with my company, One Voice Entertainment. I hustled too many years to come out with penny [ante] music that only lasts a year," she says. "Music is such a passion, there is no alternative. I am in it till the day I die, and I know God is pleased with my work."
Keisha Jackson's "R&B Mixtape Vol. 1" can be purchased at www.myspace.com/keishajack.