Money for music

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Up-and-coming local musician seeks community aid using
Kickstarter fundraising campaign

By Alison James
Associate Editor

Music-making has become one OHS grad’s passion, and he is asking for community support to help fund his current endeavor.
Josh Jackson, 19, son of Jim and Melinda Jackson, said his brother first piqued his love of music with a pile of hand-me-down CDs.
“I started wanting to learn how to make songs myself,” said Jackson. He started recording his own music at age 15. The early songs, by his own admission, were “really bad.”
“I kept practicing,” said Jackson, who operates under the band name Fiery Crash. “I made my own little studio in my room when I was 16.”
In September of last year, Jackson connected with the Nehemiah Foundation for Cultural Renewal of Sugar Hill, Ga., through a friend of his sister to begin producing his album, “In Clover.” Since the whole production process requires significant financial backing, Jackson created a Kickstarter in hopes of reaching the necessary funds.
“We sat down and tried to come up with the most economical number we could,” Jackson said. “$6,000 was where it landed.”
That money will go toward multiple stages of the production process, including mastering, CD creation, distribution, merchandise, marketing and shipping.
With nine days left in the campaign – the full goal has to be reached by Jan. 18 for Jackson to receive the funds – the project has just under $3,000 pledged. Donors can support the venture at a range of levels. At $10 and up, rewards are offered to donors – like a free CD for donating $20 or more, or a personal theme song written and recording by Jackson for giving $200 or more.
Nehemiah Foundation producer and president Michael Minkoff shared his accolades for Jackson’s work on the Kickstarter page.
“He told me exactly what he wanted a part to sound like, then he played it. Most of the time, he got what he wanted in a take or two. It was amazing to see,” Minkoff said. “The mixing process was similar. I have never gotten such specific notes on mixing. Like he already had the whole song (sound and all) in his head, and he just needed me to click everything in place.”
In mid-2014, Jackson recruited fellow OHS grad David Bizilia, son of Kevin and Linda Bizilia, to play guitar for some of the songs.
“When you’re listening to (the album), Josh has his own sound,” Bizilia said. “I think he did a really good job putting these acoustic songs with more electric-sounding songs.”
Jackson, who is songwriter as well as musician, said his goal is to make music that is genuine, that embraces and shares his faith but isn’t necessarily praise and worship music.
“We are all humans who have the same fundamental longing for purpose, and I have found what that purpose is, which is to live in the grace of Jesus Christ and share it by the means that God has given me,” Jackson said. “I don’t make ‘Christian music’ because that kind of music only appeals to Christians. If the hope I have is as real as I say it is, I am going to try my best to tell everyone, not just people  who need to be reminded of it sometimes. So, I write songs as my life happens, because there are new lessons to learn everyday. I like that I can write about a specific thing in a song, and people will be moved by it, not just because of the sounds, but because they empathize with the song.
“All else aside, I want my music to be a positive medium for empathy.”
Although Jackson and Bizilia had a difficult time choosing favorite tracks of the album, Bizilia said “If You Were Mine” put him “in a great mood the whole night.”
“When we were in the studio recording it, I didn’t want them to turn it off,” Bizilia said. “It’s so groovy … I know that’s super cliche.”
For Jackson, the song that most speaks to him is one that expresses a life realization he was going through – “In Clover.”
“I think what I was starting to realize at the beginning of my senior year was that I was wasting my life away a little bit – just living for me,” Jackson said. “I realized I was getting really sick of that – this feeling of self-gratification all the time and not helping anyone else. So, the main line in that song is, ‘It’s an easy choice to live in a void of hopeless wonder until I’m destroyed,’ – like, just living for yourself doesn’t get you anywhere. It might make you happy for a little bit, and then you realize you’re incredibly depressed.”
Assuming the Kickstarter campaign is successful, Jackson said they hope to release the album March 2015.
To hear clips of songs and to help fund “In Clover,” visit https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/595571771/in-clover-by-fiery-crash or simply go to www.kickstarter.com and search “In Clover.” The project deadline is Jan. 18 at 8 p.m.; all donations should be made before that time.
“The main reason I make music isn’t to impress people; I don’t care about that,” Jackson explains in a video on his Kickstarter page. “I’m doing this because I know music has helped me through a lot in the few years I’ve been on this planet, and I’m trying to return the favor. ‘In Clover’ is the album I’ve always wanted to make.”

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