Sometimes, you’ve just got to take control of your own destiny. Trevor Jackson came to that realization in late 2014. The 19-year-old singer, songwriter, performer, dancer, and actor had returned home from touring behind his 2013 debut #NEWTHANG EP [Atlantic Records], and he really wanted to get his next project out to the masses. He’d already delivered fan favorite trackssuch as “Drop It” (Remix) [feat. B.o.B], “Know Your Name” [feat. Sage the Gemini], “Like We Grown,” and “Me Likey” [feat. Kirko Bangz], and packed houses alongside Diggy Simmons and others. So, he wasn’t going to wait around or rely on anybody else to influence the vision for what would become his 2015 mixtape In My Feelings.
“I felt like I was growing up as a man, and it forced me to grow as an artist,” he exclaims. “I started to take the reins, and everything started coming together. I wasn’t going to wait on anybody. I started writing, and I was rebelling by saying, ‘I don’t care about what anybody says; I’m going to do me.’ I went under the radar and began creating.”
Instead of relying on producers and writers, Trevor turned to his older brother Ian. The two of them began co-writing together and tapped into a chemistry that only family could channel.
“When he was playing basketball, I used to wish I played so we could be on the same team,” admits Trevor. “It’s funny because now we are—it’s just a different kind of team. There’s nothing better than working with family who wants to see you succeed and vice versa. This is the first time people get to hear me. Everything that’s on here is from my experience. It’s really close to home.”
As a result, the project flows seamlessly from start to finish, following a narrative thread. It begins with a phone call between Trevor and his grandmother who mistakes him for his dad.
“That whole conversation says so many things,” he continues. “I’ve been in L.A. for seven years. I’m away from my family, and I only see them once a year. The fact that she thinks I’m my dad shows I’ve grown up a lot.”
The intro paves the way for “Right Enough,” where Trevor slides from rapping honest and hypnotic bars into a show-stopping chorus. Then, there’s “Bang Bang,” which boasts a stunning cameo from Louisiana trap king Kevin Gates.
“He wrote his verse in 20 minutes, came back in, and smashed it,” he recalls. “’Bang Bang’ is about everything. I got signed three years ago, but I haven’t put an album out. This is to everybody who told me I couldn’t do it. There’s always somebody asking, ‘Can he really pull through?’ I’m calling out everyone who was there with me from the beginning and the people who were never there. I’m not going to stop, so respectfully, ‘Bang Bang.’”
On the focus track “Simple As This,” airy production and keys complements a sparse beat that gives Trevor’s dynamic voice space to really shine. Nodding to a favorite from his idol Michael Jackson, “Dirty Diana,” it’s as seductive as it is soaring.
“It’s about those girls in the industry whose only goal is to get with somebody famous,” he says. “In entertainment, it’s as easy as a flick of the wrist. With one motion, she approaches you and listens. It’s meant to paint that picture.”
Trevor first captivated millions on-screen, after a three-year stint as Young Simba in Disney’s Tony Award-winning Broadway National tour of The Lion King. His credits include the SyFy original series Eureka, CBS’ Criminal Minds, the Disney Channel’s Let It Shine, as well as Harry’s Law for which he received the 2012 Young Artists Award in the category of “Best Performance In A TV Series – Guest Starring Young Actor 14-17.” Plus, roles in two upcoming movies Sons to the Grave and Juveniles.
Continuing his on-screen success, Trevor has recently earned himself a series-regular role on Season 2 of John Ridley’s ABC drama series American Crimealongside André Benjamin and Regina King. His character will add even more suspense to the already thickening plot.
Ultimately, people will truly get to know Trevor on In My Feelings. “When I was finally myself, that’s when I got the best product,” he leaves off. “There are so many people who strive to be somebody else. My message is be who you are. Be okay with that. Love yourself and others. I don’t open up a lot. However, this was my chance to. I’m being upfront.”