Jami Jackson's Music Player

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Audition for Dreamgirls on Broadway

So on Saturday, November 22nd, I auditiioned for the Dreamgirls Broadway Show. I was soo excited to audition because I thought it would be a great opportunity for me. They were looking for African American females in their twenties for the parts of Effie, Deena, Lorrell, and Michelle. It's an equity broadway show, but they had open auditions for people who were not equity. I'm not an equity actress, so it worked out for me. Equity is a union for actors and actresses, but one hasto do an equity show before they can join. There were a couple auditions for the broadway show, so it worked out with my schedule.
However, I did not know what I was getting myself into! The audition was at the famous Apollo Theater in Harlem, which I originally thought was cool, until I had to wait outside in the cold for 3 hours! It never got above 30 degrees outside! And the wind was vicious. Of course, silly me, I was trying to be cute for the audition, so I decided that I didn't need gloves or a hat. I did have enough wherewithal to wear a wool coat, but still! What was really funny about the audition was that a girl that I knew from college, who graduated before me, came right in the line after me! It was very unexpected because I hadn't talked to her for about two years, but I was so glad to see her there, and she was glad to see me. Had she not been there, I might have thought really hard about turning around and going home. But I didn't!
Not only was it freezing outside, the line was extremely long! It wrapped around the corner of the building. I was number 376 and I think there were more than 450 people there total! I had no idea that many people were going to show up. I had previously auditioned for the broadway show Rent and I literally walked in and walked out of the audition. As soon as I got there, I was able to audition because there was hardly any line. Apparently, though, the producers of Dreamgirls on Broadway advertised the auditions everywhere!
Now let me tell you about the demographics of the line. The auditions were supposed to be of women in their 20s, but seriously, there were women who were in their 40s and 50s auditioning too. I'm like, really? It was clearly written what ages the producers were looking for, but these women were in denial. It goes to show you that dreams never die! Not only were women way over their 20s, there were a good portion of women singing songs from the Dreamgirls soundtrack. Not that there's anything wrong with singing those songs, but it is too predictable. And the chances of someone else singing the same song is high. There were more "And I am telling you" renditions than I could count!
I ultimately auditioned with the song, "Never loved a man (the way that I love you)" sung by Aretha Franklin. Thankfully, they let us sing 16 bars, so that ended up being the first verse of the song, which was exactly what I wanted to sing. I love that song because it's got a lot of attitude, dynamics, and hits it hard at the end, in a short amount of time. We also had an accompanist which was nice because I didn't have to sing acapella. It was like deja vu because I had auditioned with the same song for the Amateur night and Showtime at the Apollo auditions. It was very cold when I auditioned for that as well and the line was extremely long. But this time felt different from then. The casting directors that I auditioned for seemed to really like me. They said I should definitely hear back from them is a week. Of course, I am to putting that much stock into those words. I definitely felt like I did great in the audition, but you never know about what these people really want. My look or voice may just not be what they are looking for, or it may be exactly what they are looking for. But it's got nothing to do with talent. So we'll see...maybe I'll hear something soon!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

How Time Flies!

It has been a minute since I've last posted a blog. I have been so busy with work, singing, and now school! I am studying for the MCAT and am planning to take it in May 2009. I am hoping to get into medical school in the Fall of 2010. I know you must be thinking, "WHAT?" Yes, I am applying to medical school! I am really a nut, but I have actually always been interested in medicine. When I was little, I made a little medical book for myself and I used to read our home medical book to learn about different diseases. I was a pre-med student in college as well as a psychology major. So I've decided to pursue psychiatry as a profession. But that doesn't mean that I'm finished with singing! I'm just getting started! I just want to have my eggs in more than one basket, because you never know!

So....about the singing. There's so much to say! I did a great show for the HBCU-UP and AAAS Sunday Brunch on October 26th. HBCU-UP is an undergraduate research program that is held at the historically black colleges and universities in America. They held their annual conference at the Westin Hotel in Atlanta, GA. The HBCU-UP conference is sponsored by the National Science Foundation and and organized by AAAS, or the American Association for the Advancement of Science. It was a fun show! The songs really seemed to resonate with the audience and they were getting into it! The food at the end was good too :). I worked really hard on the set because I had to break it up into 30 minutes of secular music and 30 minutes of gospel music, but it turned out really well. I even added 2 new songs to my arsenal, "I will always love you" and "The Battle is the Lords". I was afraid that my voice wouldn't last for that long, but thankfully it did. You can find the songs on YouTube. At the end, I signed many photographs for some of the audience members which was also really nice.

Now, I have really exciting news! Earlier this year, I blogged about a reality TV special that I was doing for BET. Now the TV special is set to air! It's going to air on BET on December 1st at 7:30pm (EST). It is called, "Are You Positive?" and it should be a very poignant show. December 1st also happens to be World AIDS Day so its making an impact in that way as well. I am so excited to see it! I saw a clip on BET and it looks really good. It's on www.bet.com/onblast under News and News Specials. There is so much more work to be done in the fight against HIV/AIDS but I am glad to be a part of it!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Singer/Songwriter Showcase and MTA Subway

On July 29th, I participated in the MRK Productions Singer/Songwriter showcase and competition. The prize of the showcase was to become an opening act for the next show and other fun perks. It was at the club, Don't Tell Mama, it was great! However, I didn't end up winning it :(. I got a lot of good feedback from the audience, but it was the kind of show that you have to bring a crowd to in order to win. I didn't bring enough people there to vote for me. I did have a few good friends come out and support, which was nice. It was good for me nonetheless because I have never played at that club before. Johnny Kira played 2 songs on the guitar with me, "Sista Girl" and "Let Love Live". I also met a lot of really cool people. I even added a couple of girls who were from out of the country to my mailing list!

The next night, I had a show at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, so as you can imagine, I was tired! However, I still had enough energy to perform. I sang a few songs from my album and saw some other really good acts. Two of the people who performed their poetry was this one guy named Definition and another guy named Abraham. They were great! The host of the event, Tongo, also performed some of his poetry. He had some riveting lyrics as well.

The show for the MTA Music Under New York program on August 3rd turned out to be really worthwhile. Although it was very hot underground, I made sure to bring enough water to hydrate me. I also got a good amount of cash from donations! There was a lot of love from the crowd in general. A lot of people just walked by, but there were a good number of people who stopped and listened, or who smiled at me as they walked by, or who went through the trouble to stop, pull out their wallets, take a dollar out, and drop it in the guitar case that I was using to hold donations. It can be hard to perform in the subway because a lot of people just walk by trying to get where they need to get to and pay the artist no mind, as I have done numerous times myself, but all I need is 1 or 2 people who really seem to care. Plus, I'm there to make the subway experience more pleasant and I can only be glad with whatever extra I get out of it. I'll keep you posted on the future shows in the subway! I expect to see a lot of "interesting" people!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

My Grandma's Birthday at the Duplin Winery

My Grandma's 80th birthday party was a success! The theme was "We Celebrate Love" and we had a really great turnout. My grandma was so happy. We invited 120 of our family and friends and had 118 people at the event! Everyone had great things to say. My mom and aunts worked really hard to plan the event and had thoughful party favors for every guest. They gave pictures and handpainted rocks that had my grandma's name and birthday on it. They also gave custom-made wrapping paper with chocolate that had her picture, name, and birthday, as well as tidbits of information on the back. My grandmother was born on July 12, 1928 and during that year, bread was 10 cents a pound, women gained voting rights, sugar was 35 cents for a five pound bag, and Mickey Mouse had his first debut. Maya Angelou, Shirley Temple, and Vidal Sassoon were born and the first bubble gum was made (Double Bubble). Even gas was 21 cents per gallon back then! Man, wouldn't that be great now!

The song that I sung , "Where I am" by Lachun Pace for the birthday party turned out really well! I had my producer, Bionik, make the track for me last minute but he was able to record it for me in time. I love singing gospel music because I always hope that by singing it, I will be able to touch someone in a special way.

They had the event at the Duplin Winery in Rose Hill, NC. The Duplin Winery was started in the 1970s and is a family-owned and family-run business. They produce wines from the Muscadine grape, which is a native of the Southeastern region of the United States. As a child, I used to pick Muscadine grapes from the vine and I remember how sweet, yet tart the grapes were. The skin of the grape is so thick that I would have to bite the skin and suck the pulp out to enjoy it. It is so amazing how Duplin Winery's wine captures the exact taste of this grape! Their wine is reminescent of my childhood memories. It's available all over America and if you ever see the bottle on the shelf or want to try a new wine, I suggest you visit try it out! The website is http://www.duplinwinery.com/.

I am personally a fan of red wine nowadays because of all of the health benefits! It's rich in antioxidants and it lowers the risk of heart disease. Cabernet Sauvignon apparently has the highest amount of polyphenols, compounds that benefit the heart, and then Petit Syrah and Pinot Noir come next. Researchers recommend 2 glasses of wine for men and 1 glass of wine for women each day (b/c women and men metabolize alcohol differently). Isn't this great news?! What brand of red wine do you like to drink?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

New Music Media!

New idea on the way! My friend, Mardi Ellen, has developed an innovative way to market music in this crazy music world! She has developed an encrypted music CD that decodes a mystery series she has developed. The series is Davinci Code meets Atonement meets King Lear. What's interesting about it is this series uses her proprietary product, Mend TM, that is a new interactive media model, publishers, look out! I think it will be a great opportunity for songwriters and singers to get their music out there! Read more about it at www.mardi-ellen.com.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Destination Weddings

June 5 was a busy day! I filmed a lot of my day with BET. They filmed me having lunch with my boyfriend Cides. It was fun b/c we ate Chipotle in Bryant Park. The security guard was trying to stop us, but one of the cameramen had a pass that let us continue. Cides is a natural! He was joking and playing on camera . He even started talking about what our wedding was going to be like, so then I had to say "Woah baby!" :) . He was saying he wanted a destination wedding in Hawaii...he was really getting into it! Destination weddings can be expensive! I would like a small wedding and a wedding by a beach seems romantic, but I would hate for people not to go because of money. I know, for instance, that I would have to pay for my grandmothers because I can't expect them to pay that kind of money. One of my colleagues at work was saying that if you have a destination wedding, you have to pay either the flight or the hotel for your guests. I'm going to a destination wedding in Panama next April and I will have to pay my way. It's going to be about $1500!! It's going to be all-inclusive, but still.... If I had a wedding, I wasn't planning to pay my guests to go, but now I don't know...What do you think? What kind of wedding do you want?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

My First Blog!

Hello World!

This will be my first blog ever! Hi!!! My name is Jami Jackson and this blog will serve as a way for me to talk about issues that I think are important to not only me, but to you. I also want to keep you all informed about what it is that I'm doing day to day.

How are you feeling? Today, I had a pretty busy day. I work at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center as a research coordinator and had a lot of administrative things to clear up. New York City was so gross outside! It was raining and really dreary, so I knew the day wasn't going to be great. However, after work I went shopping at Strawberry's and got a really cute dress and skirt! The dress has spaghetti straps with a draping front, and the skirt is floral. I needed clothes because I'm preparing for a video shoot with BET tomorrow! I am part of a HIV/AIDS campaign with MTVU and the Kaiser Foundation that is trying to fight the stigmatism of the disease. The online campaign is found on http://www.posornot.com/. I already recorded a commercial for MTVU that is now playing on MTV, VH1 and even in Times Square! It's a great commercial because I am actually singing a song that I wrote, "Sista Girl". Hold on, let me back things up and let you know who I am:

I am a singer/songwriter born and raised in Durham, NC and who is currently living in NYC. I graduated from Columbia University with a BA in Psychology and Pre-med on May 2007. I am currently working and singing in a band. I released an album called, "Call My Name" through an indie label that my dad started called "Blacque Records". I wrote 8 out of 10 songs alone, and co-wrote 2 of those songs with my mom. The album can be found on my website: http://www.jamijackson.net/.

Oh and, should I mention how amazing it is to be living and see the day that we have a Black Male, Barach Obama, as the first Democratic Presumptive Nominee! I am so happy to witness such a great feat!

Ok, so it's past 12 in the AM and I'm mad tired, but I wanted to get this out before I went to sleep. Thanks for reading and I'll be back!!