It’s hard to miss Damar Jackson when he walks into a room, his 6’1” frame crowned by shoulder length locks, rendered even more impressive by this confidence that makes it clear he knows exactly where he belongs. Once he steps onto a stage, it becomes absolutely undeniable: R&B newcomer Damar Jackson is a star.
Throughout his adolescence and young adulthood, Damar’s talent has been rivaled only by his impressive business instincts and drive. A young prodigy who began playing the drums and keys at his church at the age of 9, he has stood in awe of great vocal performances as far back as he can remember, watching greats like Prince and Michael Jackson. His mother, also a singer in the church, fully nurtured his talent, enrolling him in music lessons as soon as she discovered her son’s innate talent. By the time he was in high school, Damar knew exactly where he was headed; the only question was how. “When I was in high school, if you wanted to get money you were either selling candy, selling drugs or selling mixtapes,” he recalls. “So I had this song I wrote with my boy. And I figured out how to record it on my keyboard and put that one song on blank CDs.” When he succeeded in selling 80 copies of that self-recorded CD single, he knew he would have to find a way out DeRidder, LA in order to reach his destiny. A band scholarship would lead him to the University of Louisiana at Monroe, and while there, Damar continued to create opportunities to promote his music all while honing his craft. “The whole time I was in school, I was creating my sound,” he says. “So I turned my room into a recording studio.” As he wrote and produced his own music, he became a resource for others in the area looking to record, allowing him to learn the ins and outs of the recording process. He also booked and promoted his own shows, which would lead to opportunities to open for artists like Bobby V, Day 26, and Ludacris. As he prepared for graduation as a Mass Communications major, a chance Twitter encounter lead him to an internship with Def Jam Record’s Atlanta office. With $300 to his name, Damar set course for his future and has yet to look back.
While his intern days were not without their share of challenges – Damar recalls sleeping in his car after events to make sure he made it to work on time, this proved to be the best finishing school for this rising talent. Under the tutelage of industry vets J.R. McKee and Leland “Big Fruit” Clopton of Family Ties Ent., Damar continued to perfect his craft as a songwriter and producer, contributing to K-Camp’s success with songs like the hit single “Comfortable.” He also learned the business side of the record game, studying the A&R and marketing process intently and always making himself an asset to the team. “It’s been amazing to witness Damar’s growth firsthand,” says Fruit with whom Damar shares quite a few co-production credits. “I’m sure he’s going to have an advantage over his peers due to his insight on all aspects of artistry and the business. He’s definitely going to add a refreshing energy to the industry.”
Today, he stands prepared to apply what he’s learned as he presents his own music to the world. The candor with which Damar Jackson recounts his musical journey is also present in his music, allowing him to offer fans a level of honesty and vulnerability rarely seen in today’s R&B. His debut single “Crazy , ” in which he revisits the last days of the relationship that sustained him during his early years in Atlanta, is an emotional rollercoaster both musically and lyrically. “We got to a point where she saw the success coming,” he explains, “but even though I thought we had been preparing for the late nights and work trips, it started driving her crazy.” As he puts the finishing touches on his debut project, from which the single is drawn, Damar promises more of the same “I be trying to tell both sides of everything. There’s a lot that comes with the decision to choose to take it there with a woman that you don’t plan on marrying. But a lot of guys aren’t honest about the consequences, not just what you’re doing to her, but how it affects you too.”
With this project nearly ready for the public, Damar is already setting his sights on the future, and not just as an artist: this multi-instrumentalist is currently drawing the blueprint that is sure to make him a force in the music, film and even tech space for years to come.