Catching Up With: Tito Jackson
Legendary guitarist and performer Tito Jackson has a lengthy resume as a founding member of the iconic Jackson 5 and The Jacksons. While the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer is no stranger to the spotlight, it’s the first time he’s stepping out on his own with his solo debut album, “Tito Time.” The album is expected to be released later this year. The first single, “Get it Baby” will be released through Spectra Music Group on June 3rd and features legendary rapper Big Daddy Kane. JET caught up with Tito Jackson to chat about his forthcoming album proving the naysayers wrong.
JET: Over the years there were hints that you were working on a solo debut album and then we didn’t hear anything else. What happened?
Tito Jackson: Part of it was trying to find a home for the album which I did at Spectra. Actually, I was recording a record at Motown and right when I was really getting into it, my father moved us from the label so I never got to finish it. I have been working on this album for quite some time. I became more interested in being a father. I had heard about fathers that didn’t stick around for their kids and I didn’t want to be one of those people. I also had a lot of tragedies over the years. Every time there’s a tragedy, it can set you back a little bit. You just have to keep going and do everything that you love in honor of the people that passed.
JET: What can you tell us about Tito Time?
Tito Jackson: I named it Tito Time because I took my time with it. I’m probably the last Jackson in the world to ever record anything (laughs). All of my siblings released their solo projects so it’s my turn years later. Actually this project is one that I started from the ground up. By that I mean I built Poppa T Studios. I bought the equipment, and a friend and I wired the whole place all for the sake of this project. My brother Michael passed right when I was in the middle of the construction, so I didn’t touch that studio for like three years after he died. I just didn’t have the strength. I eventually got back in there and started recording. I really wanted to find songs that everyone would enjoy regardless of their race, so the album has a lot of different genres. I just believe if you make good music, then people will enjoy it.
JET: Talk about your single, “Get it Baby.” How did it come to fruition and how did you link up with Big Daddy Kane?
Tito Jackson: Linking up with Big Daddy Kane was actually through my production team. One of the producers knew him. We wrote “Get it Baby” in my studio, and it’s just one of those songs where there really wasn’t a whole lot of science work to be done on it. It’s one of those songs that has a Rock & Roll feel to it, but it also has a little bit of everything in it like funk and soul.
JET: What are your thoughts on the music industry, especially now compared to when you first got into the business?
Tito Jackson: It’s hard to say. There’s definitely a big difference and it’s all because of the internet. I think it’s one of the best times for musicians or artists that are trying to be heard. It’s so easy to reach people these days. We didn’t have those things back then. To record a song back in the 60s you had to have money. Just to do one single back then it was roughly about $13,000. Today if you have a computer then you have all the studio time and musicians that you need right there at your fingertips. The down side is anybody can get your music for free. The advantage is those are the people that will come to your shows.
JET: What do you say to the naysayers that didn’t believe you would ever release an album?
Tito Jackson: People have always underestimated me, and I knew they [would] but I never said anything. People have made all kinds of jokes, and I never said a word. I just like for it to show in my music. For the ones that didn’t think I would do the album, I’m going to make a liar out of them. I put a lot of time, love, heart, and soul into this album, so it’s definitely Tito Time.
For more information follow Tito on Twitter @TitoJackson5 and check out his website, TitoJackson.com.