Get to Know... Tori Jackson

With a self-professed obsession with coffee and cute coffee shops, Tori Jackson has blasted onto the North Florida country-pop music scene in the last few years. From Lake City, outside Jacksonville, she’s been writing her own songs since she was 8, and grew up listening to Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, and Elvis among other country music. In 2017, Tori opened for country superstar Jake Owen at the North Florida music festival Party in the Pines. She has also released an original album recorded in Nashville using Grammy-winning musicians, has performed at the world-famous Bluebird Café in Nashville, and was put on the NSAI’s (Nashville Songwriters Association International) “Writers to Watch” list in 2017. This year, this UNF student plans to release five more original songs, graduate in April, then relocate to Nashville to pursue her musical dreams.

 But first, Narrow sat down with her for our latest “in their own words” segment.

 Narrow: How do you personally describe your music?

Tori: “Pop-country storytelling. The personal storytelling aspect of country music is actually what drew me into the genre. Since I was a little girl writing silly songs in my songbook, they all had a story line. Although I grew up listening to 90’s country, which tends to be very “twangy,” my songs definitely have more of a pop vibe than those traditional country songs”

 N: Who are some of your music influences and favorites?

TJ: “My main songwriting influence has been Taylor Swift. When I was in elementary school, my mom bought me her first CD, and I would play it every day when I got home from school and try to write songs that sounded like hers. As I’ve grown as an artist, Tori Kelly and Dan + Shay have been some of my main influences. Lyrically and melodically they are geniuses. Some of my all-time favorite bands/artists include Boyce Avenue, Carrie Underwood, George Strait, and Dierks Bentley.”

 N: Tell us about your relationship with (voice coach) Chrys Rowe.

TJ: “Chrys Rowe has been my voice coach and so much more since 2017. I came to her when a huge opportunity came my way - opening for Jake Owen at Party in the Pines. She helped me prepare for the performance vocally, and since that

event, we have worked together on songwriting, working in the recording studio, and ultimately everything that will further my music career. I don’t have enough great things to say about Chrys. Love that woman!”

 N: Tell us about the Lake City music scene.

TJ: “Lake City is a pretty small town. As far as the music scene, it is definitely growing! When I was in high school, I would sing at local fairs and small events, but I really had to travel all around North Florida to get gigs. More and more

restaurants in Lake City are hiring musicians to come play, so hopefully that will become a growing trend.”

 N: 5 people you’d invite to a dinner party (past or present)?

TJ: “Teddy Roosevelt, Robert Downey, Jr (Aka Iron Man, my favorite superhero), Tori Kelly, Jesus, Amelia Earhart”

 N: Tell us about your new music release, “Define The Relationship”

TJ: “’Define The Relationship’ is my newest single and it is actually a personal story! I wrote this song about the beginning of my relationship with my now husband. He is a super laid-back person, and when we first started talking, I felt like I had to kind of “get the ball rolling” you could say. I’m the kind of girl that if the guy doesn’t want to commit, then I’m not hanging around. It’s just a super fun girl power song and I’m stoked about it!

 You can follow Tori’s journey at @torijacksonmusic on Instagram and Facebook. She says, “Make sure to check out my new single, ‘Define The Relationship’ and message me when you do! I love connecting with people who connect with my music.”

dave kosciolek