The name Austin Brown may not ring any bells, but he is the youngest son of Rebbie “Centipede” Jackson, and, of course, the nephew of the late Michael Jackson. Brown, a talented and versatile singer, songwriter, producer and dancer, is ready to carry on the Jackson family business for the next generation. But he isn’t necessarily looking to live off the family’s fame.
“Music is in my heart,” Brown said. “It’s what I love to do. I can’t help where I come from, but I love where I come from, so I just do music and I create.”
Brown said he grew up listening to everything from Boyz II Men and George Michael to the Beatles. And while such a diverse musical taste isn’t uncommon with the iPod generation of today, the singer said he loved to sit around and dissect what makes each artist special. He’d listen and wonder what about the Beatles inspired Brian Wilson’s (of the Beach Boys) work, which in turn inspired the Beatles.
Brown also loves to perform, which he said started when his mom first took him onstage. “She was doing a show in Japan and I was about 3,” said Brown. “When I first looked up, there was all of these things onstage — gargoyles and all this weird stuff at the club. And I got scared and kind of ran off, but I paused when I ran off. So my mom tried it again the next day, and I danced my heart off after that.”
Some 20 years later, Brown has teamed up with super-producer Rodney Jerkins and is set to release his debut album, 85. The title represents what Brown has learned from music throughout his life.
“He had the vision. He said, ‘It’s going to be called 85.‘ Why 85? ‘Because that was the year I was born and in ’85 this artist came out, and the music sounded like this. We’ve got to be inspired by this,’ ” Jerkins said. “The whole thing we kept trying to do was create a sound that makes you want to dance and feel good.”
The album’s first single, “Target Practice,” debuted Monday on Brown’swebsite, and the video will follow. Brown said it doesn’t look anything short of stunning.”It was directed by a man by the name of Tom DeSanto, who is the producer of ‘Transformers’ and ‘X-Men,’ and it was such a blessing to get him for my first video,” he said.
“He’s downplaying it for me,” Jerkins said. “Your first video and you’ve got the producer of ‘Transformers’? How did you get him from the movie world? Most people go from making music videos to the movie world. He’s coming from the movie world to the video world.”
By Steven Roberts