Template:Infobox musical artist 2Randall Matthew Jackson (born on June 23, 1956 Baton Rouge, Louisiana) is an American musician and record producer, now best known to the general public for being a judge on the television show American Idol.
Jackson grew up in Baton Rouge but was not into music until sixth grade. His first big break in the industry came when he played with fellow Baton Rouge act John Fred & His Playboy Band when he was 17 years old. He subsequently attended Southern University, where he graduated with a double major in music and psychology.
As a musician Jackson plays the electric bass. One big break of his was that he played bass for violin virtuoso Jean-Luc Ponty as well as playing bass in the band Journey for a period in the 1980s. He was a highly regarded session player in Los Angeles during the 1980s. His credits are far too many to note, but range from playing with Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Billy Cobham, Herbie Hancock, Richard Marx, Billy Joel, Bob Dylan to playing at the Grand Ole Opry with The Charlie Daniels Band. His production/songwriting work in the San Francisco Bay area with Narada Michael Walden and Walter Afanasieff led Randy to be quite in demand as a producer himself. While in the Bay area Randy played in Bands with Carlos Santana and Jerry Garcia. He moved to Italy in the late 1980s and produced a record for Italian popstar Zucchero. The record 'Zucchero and the Randy Jackson Band' produced one of Zucchero's biggest hits - 'Donne' He has also recorded, produced, or toured with many well-known artists and bands, ranging from Mariah Carey (whom he knew when she was still a teenager; he was in her band at Live 8 in London in 2005) to *NSYNC, Céline Dion, Bruce Springsteen and Madonna. He has also worked as an executive with Columbia Records and MCA Records.
Jackson also manages current artists Van Hunt & Nikka Costa. He does very select session work, usually just for close friends, but continues to maintain his ability to play very diverse styles of bass. He played bass onstage on the 2006 Grammies with Mariah Carey as well as The Sly & The Family Stone tribute.
Jackson has been a judge with American Idol since its inception in 2002. On the show he is known for taking a middle road of criticism between the supportiveness of Paula Abdul and the nastiness of Simon Cowell. He has popularized "pitchy" as the way to describe off-key singing. He is also renowned for his heavy use of slang terms and gestures in African American Vernacular English, most notably the words "dude", "dawg", and "man". Jackson sometimes also refers to the group of male semifinalists as "the dawg pound." When Randy says "you can blow" or "we've got a hot one tonight," it means "you can sing well." Widely well regarded in the music industry, Jackson's commentary is generally that of constructive criticism. He tells the contestants what a record company label executive would be thinking, but not actually tell them.
He was married to Elizabeth Jackson (with whom he has 1 child) until 1990 when they divorced. Since 1995, he has been married to Erika Riker, with whom he has 2 children. In 2003 Jackson had well-publicized gastric bypass surgery and has subsequently lost over a hundred pounds, which explains his drastic change in appearance from season three of American Idol onwards.
Contrary to a widely circulated story, Randy Jackson is not related to actor Samuel L. Jackson, the civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, nor to pop music sensation Michael Jackson (though the latter also has a brother with the same name).
- ↑ 'American Idol' judge Randy Jackson strives for stardom, The Daily Vidette from AP, 3 February 2005
- Jackson, Randy. What's Up Dawg?: How to Become a Superstar in the Music Business.. Hyperion, 2003. ISBN 1401307744.