Born 185 miles outside Nashville in the small city of Maryville, Tenn., Jackie Lee heard Music City calling his name at a young age. With music in his blood—his dad is a professional musician—Jackie got his start singing in church. After moving to Nashville at age 17, Jackie began honing his sound. The now-25-year-old recently released his current single, “Getting Over You,” the first song from his upcoming debut album. As Jackie continues putting the finishing touches on the studio album, he’s also gearing up to hit the road in March as part of Dan+Shay’s Obsessed Tour.
SING BEFORE YOU CRAWL
“My first singing engagement, I was three years old. I sang at my aunts wedding. My dad had me doing music from the time I could crawl. Music is something that I have always—literally my earliest memories have to do with music. I was two years old and my aunt, my dads sister, sent me a video—I had just turned two and I could barely speak. I’m sitting there with my dad and I had my little guitar and we’re singing songs, and I could remember all the lyrics to the songs, but I couldn’t read or write. I could barely speak but I remembered the lyrics to the songs.”
“I could talk about Mom [who passed away in 2016] all day long. She’s a wonderful person that cares about everyone and really wants to see the best come out of people and expects nothing less than the best. This kind of sums up my mom: In high school, I went to a school that was in the city, it wasn’t event the school that I was zoned for, but I went there originally for the music program. The football team ended up being pretty good too so I played football. I went to a school where a lot of kids didn’t know how they were going to get to school or get home. Didn’t know what they were going to eat. Didn’t know what they were going to wear. Didn’t have deodorant. Didn’t have toothpaste. From seventh grade to my senior year in high school we probably had about 35 kids live with us on and off. My mom had such a heart for people, and she loves people. When I think back about some awesome times in my life she always demanded that I respect myself.
JACKIE’S FIVE MUST-HAVES ON THE ROAD
- My Mophie charger because I’ve been on many airplanes and my phone has died and I cannot call an Uber.
- I have a bible that is broken up into single days that you read about 10 minutes a day. You can read the whole bible in a year. I’ve been doing that this year.
- My girlfriend [Taylor Dye of Maddie & Tae] got me a brown travel Frye bag that I love so much. Like a little satchel thing. I always carry that with me.
- Earphones. I can never leave the house without my earbuds
- A hat, I’ll definitely bring a hat. I always have an extra hat in my bag.
“I think that’s been the biggest struggle in my personal life is having self confidence. That’s one thing that my mom always had was confidence in herself. She knew that she was a good person. She knew that she cared about people.
“‘Getting Over You’ was one of the last songs of mine that she ever heard. I’ll put it like this, she’s heard it but I never got to play her in person the final version of ‘Getting Over You.’ When I started to go down this path of really exploring who I wanted to be without anyone else’s opinion, that’s when I started to settle in on a sound.”
THE STORY BEHIND “GETTING OVER YOU”
“I went into the writers room with Brent Anderson and Paul DiGiovanni [who is producing Jackie’s debut album]. Brent is a very funny, goofy guy. He’s one of my best friends. We were there for about 40 minutes, 45 minutes and I could tell the he wasn’t himself. I was like, ‘Hey man, you okay?’ He said, ‘No man, I’m a little heartbroken.’ I was like, ‘Well, you want to go get a beer at 10 am?’ He was like, ‘No, I want to write this out.’ I was like, ‘What happened?’ He said, ‘My girl and I broke up last night.’ He started going through text messages on his phone of what they were saying the night before. I saw a lot of text messages I wish I would not have seen. He got to a text message that said, ‘Well Brent, if you think getting over me was hard, try getting over you.’ We kind of had been beating our heads against the wall, trying to find something to write about that day, and he said that and we all three immediately were like, ‘Ah, that’s it.’ We started writing it. We wrote the first verse. Then we wrote the chorus, and I was like, ‘Man, we haven’t messed this up yet, this is pretty cool.'”
THE SOUND OF NEW MUSIC
“I’m super excited about what we got [for the new album]. [Producer] Paul [DiGiovanni] really brings his pop influence for sure. I love singing large melodies. I love singing soulful melodies—R&B. ‘Getting Over Me’ is the perfect blend of all of that. It’s got the more edgy pop sound, but it works on country radio because that’s where I identify. I want it to be fun too. Music is music. I want people to be able to jam. For a long time— I take this as a compliment—but for a long time people were like, “‘Oh, your voice, you just need to sing ballads all the time.’ I don’t want to be an artist that they have to pass out pillows everywhere I go to sing because I’m going to sing an hour and a half full of ballads. I want every song to have, a fun bounce. Whether it’s a happy song, sad song, whatever. I feel super happy with what we have done so far.”
ON THE ROAD WITH DAN+SHAY
“It’s going to be a lot of fun. I was stoked [when I found out]. We were on our way to Memphis to do Country Cares and my manager got a call from their manager. I’ve never been on a tour. It was the first experience of that and it made me really happy. I love being on the road. I love getting to see places in general. Whenever I get to a new city I love to go do something that that city has to offer. Also to be on tour with Dan and Shay I really love their music as a fan. I hope their fan base likes what I do.”
“She’s awesome [Taylor Dye of Maddie & Tae]. She’s so wonderful, she’s such a sweet person. As great, or as sucky I guess as it is that we don’t get to see each other as much as we’d like to, she’s also the person that I can get off the road and maybe have a few frustrations that someone that doesn’t hit the road doesn’t understand and they want to talk about it. We don’t have to with one another unless we want to. We can just come home and unplug and not have to worry about it. I feel like you give so much on the road, it’s unfair sometimes when you’re in a relationship, that you don’t have anything left to give. It’s also good to sit down on the couch and not have to say anything. We both give each other that space to do that.”
ON THE HORIZON
“Everyday my management team hits me up with something new we got on the books. The summer is filling up. We’re doing a lot of festivals. We’re really busy until Stagecoach at the end of April. I’m opening up the main stage—solo acoustic. I wouldn’t trade any experience I’ve had so far in Nashville with the way I feel now. Everybody has their own path, everybody has their own journey. I know that I’m still at the very beginning of mine. I look at everything that I’ve done so far as pre-production of setting up the rest. I’m super excited about this year.”