Where has the music gone? This seems to be a question anyone with taste is asking nowadays. Gone are the days of authentic, quality, and original music that we all loved and enjoyed. Everything seems so pre-packaged and cookie cutter. Aren’t you tired of the Usher clones, boy band templates, and every singer being called a diva? Well the Muses must have heard our prayers because some much needed, and amazing, talent has presented itself in the form of Ashley “AJae” Jackson! AJae is the music industry’s breath of fresh air armed with a powerful sense of self and the promise of a better tomorrow. “I pride myself on originality and being true to my music…You know I’m unique because I’m just being myself and no one else…it’s easy to lose yourself in what’s trendy or poppin’, but I feel there’s a real strength and success in being true to yourself above all else.”
AJae is a talented singer with vocals that will lure your soul to salvation and have your feet moving to deliciously addictive beats. Her style is R&B/hip-hop meets pop, peppered with a maturity that you do not find in most young artist. She attributes this maturity and her strong confidence to her life experiences and upbringing. AJae has yet to release an album, but her singles, Just Do Me and Fleek are certified hits; and she has an EP on the way. The beats are sickening and the lyrics are beyond catchy. Just do not expect to hear the N-Word anywhere in them. Not only has her father forbade her from using it, she personally feels it is heinous.
Unless you have been living under a rock, then you know she is the daughter of Civil Rights legend and activist, Reverend Jesse Jackson. There was some controversy surrounding her birth, as she was born from the affair between her Rev. Jackson and her political scientist mother. However, the circumstances of her birth do not get her down, nor has it adversely affected her life. “I’m fine. I’ve grown up with the love of both sides of my family. That’s their drama. I was a baby. How I got the gift of life is nowhere near as important as what I do with it.” However, she admits coming from such a famous family has its pressures. Most people, including her parents, thought she would follow in her family’s political footsteps. “I definitely thought about it and considered it, but I know music is what I want to do….he [her father] certainly thought I would take up politics but after I released my single [Just Do Me] he fully supported my pursuit of music…Both of my parents are really amazing in that way. They just want what’s best for me and for me to be successful. I feel blessed to have them support me one hundred percent.”
Thankfully AJae has decided to use her life to become not only become a pop star, but be a positive example to others. With the rise of reality television and the all too common fight videos of social media, the landscape of the latest generation seems dangerous, negative, and skewed. “I want girls my age to really know their worth and know they can have fun without it going so far left [she laughs]” Unsurprisingly, her budding success has garnered her some offers from a few reality television shows (that she cannot name). She admits she would do reality television, but with some stipulations. “…it would have to be a show I approve of and I would have to come in on a positive and empowering note…we need more of that on television as Black women…I’m not with tearing other women down…”
At the end of the day AJae is still a teenage girl and that means relaxing and having fun AFTER she has met her responsibilities. “I’m still a teenager who has school, homework, chores, and responsibilities…my parents don’t treat me any differently just because I’m artist…” In her downtime, however, she makes time to hang with her two best friends, read books, try new smoothies, and cooks vegetarian entrees. She also spends time with her true love—music—by writing more music and coming up with chord progressions. Surprisingly, when it comes to romance she hilariously declares she is “single as a Pringle” and has not dated anyone in the industry. That does not mean she does not have a celebrity crush. Do the names Michael B. Jordan and David Washington ring a bell?
AJae is just what the doctor ordered to jumpstart some social consciousness into a dying industry. Her confidence, drive, and earthiness are to be admired in a time where lives are being cut short simply because they have the wrong skin color. While she is not a politician, she is a strong supporter of the Black Live Matter movement; feeling the issues between minority communities and law enforcement needs to be addressed. “It really makes me mad anytime I talk about this and I try not to cry, but I have to speak out. We’re in danger, you know there was a time as a Black woman I thought I was safe, but as you can see even Black women aren’t safe…My people, people that look like me are being hurt. Something has to be done…”
Everyone loves the girl next door and that is what AJae serves us. She plans to continue making music and even venture into acting. She feels blessed to not only have the support of her family, but her many fans as well. Ms. Jackson knows they are the blood of her career and does and impressive job of interacting with them via social media and in person. “I want them to know how much I love them. I wouldn’t be where I am without them.” We are more than sure she can do anything! She advises every girl in the world to first and foremost be true to themselves and know just how powerful they really are. A girl who knows her worth really is the cure to the world’s ailments. We love you AJae! To keep up with this future Pop Princess follow her on Twitter/Instagram @RealAJae and download her singles off ITunes!