A talented and also versatile base player, Randy Jackson is additionally a prolific performer and record producer. After an ext than 20 years in the music service as a conference player and record company executive, Jackson moved right into the public spotlight in 2002 when he came to be one of the 3 judges ~ above hit tv talent show, American Idol.

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Jackson was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 1956. He was the youngest the three kids born come Herman Jackson, who functioned at the neighborhood Exxon plant together a foreman, and his wife, Julia. In high school, Jackson was an accomplished athlete, but his first love was music. Inspired by listening a neighborhood R&B band rehearsing in his neighborhood, the learned exactly how to play the bass guitar; his brother, Herman, came to be a drummer. “I was so enthralled,” Jackson told world magazine in a 2003 interview. “I thought, ‘Wow, ns wanna be one of those guys.’” as a teenager, he would sneak the end in the evenings to listen live music and perform in local clubs.

Worked together Touring Musician

Jackson attended southerly University in Baton Rouge, studying music. The took some time off in his senior year in order to acquire more practical experience, playing in jazz drummer Billy Cobham’s band and also appearing on two of Cobham’s records. ~ graduating from southern in 1979, Jackson took on a permanent career in music. A talented keyboardist and also a base player, equally at residence in jazz, popular music or rock, he soon uncovered ongoing work-related as a session musician (as well as a nickname Randy “The Emperor” Jackson) in studios top top both coastlines of the unified States.

After some beforehand recording occupational with Jean-Luc Ponty, Bobby McFerrin, and a variety of jazz fusion artists, Jackson played base in a pickup band that consisted of Carlos Santana and also members of the thankful Dead, play at totally free concerts and benefits in and around san Francisco. He was hired by the rock group Journey to play bass on your 1983 album Frontiers and, after Jackson carry out on increased on Radio, Journey invite him come tour through them to encourage the album. Although the band then went on a lengthy hiatus, Jackson preserved his friendship with front guy Steve Perry, and helped him assemble a band for his 1994 solo album, because that the Love of strange Medicine, and subsequent tour.

At a Glance…

Born in 1956, in Baton Rouge, LA; married Elizabeth Jackson, (divorced 1990); married Erika Riker, 1995; children: (first marriage) Taylor, (second marriage) Zoe, Jordan. Education: southern University, BA, music, 1979.

Career: played bass and keyboards on end 1000 albums, 1980–; toured v Journey, 1980s; Columbia Records, vice president of A&R, 1990s; MCA Records, an elderly vice president of A&R, 1990s; UCLA, teacher the recording market classes, 1990s; Fox TV’s American Idol judge, 2002–; continues to produce, perform and also manage artists.

Addresses: residence —Tarzana, CA. Publicist —Brit Reece, PMK/HBH, 8500 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 700, Los Angeles, CA 90211.

Jackson later referred to the 1980s together a “bold, wild, crazy” duration of his life, follow to united state Magazine. He became a sought-after performer, easily recognizable due to the fact that of his distinctive, six-inch-high flat-top hairdo. Transparent the 1980s and early 1990s, his reputation as a mainly player won Jackson part high-profile touring and studio gigs through a diverse range of artists, consisting of Madonna, Tracy Chapman, Kenny G, Aretha Franklin, Cher, Elton John, and also Michael Bolton. That played base on Bruce Springsteen’s lucky Town and Human Touch albums, both released in 1992. He likewise played keyboard and bass ~ above Whitney Houston’s first two albums, and also performed ~ above Celine Dion’s first English-language album, Unison. Touring v Bob Dylan, Jackson was the base player on 2 Dylan albums, down in the Groove, and also Under the Red Sky.

Moved come Los Angeles

Jackson’s music ambitions extended beyond working together a sideman. Creating songs and performing, he prospered “really worn down of being the conference guy,” the told human being magazine. In the at an early stage 1990s he relocated permanently to Los Angeles to find more an imaginative opportunities.

Jackson became vice president of A&R in ~ Columbia Records, a place he held for eight years. At Columbia, Jackson produced and co-produced a number of albums, including Eddie Money’s right Here, Trisha Covington’s slow Down, and also Flesh and also Bone by Richard Marx. He additionally worked on a number of soundtracks and also compilations, including first Wives’ Club and The Truth about Cats & Dogs. He ultimately spent four years in ~ MCA documents as senior vice president of A&R, developing Rahsaan Patterson’s Love in Stereo, Gladys Knight’s in ~ Last, and also Jesse Powell’s 2001 album, JP.

At Columbia Records, he had met and also worked v Mariah Carey, that asked him to write and produce two songs, “Fireworks” and also “I Know,” for she 2001 film, Glitter. He additionally co-wrote 2 songs on Carey’s 2003 album, CharmBracelet, “My conserving Grace” and also “Irresistible.”

Became American Idol Judge

In early on 2002, Jackson’s agent argued he fulfill the manufacturing team behind a brand-new reality TV show, American Idol. Occurred by previous Spice girl manager and also powerhouse producer Simon Fuller, American Idol was based upon the well-known British sensation, popular music Idol. The format was a televised to sing contest, in i beg your pardon young singers competed for a record contract, their performances assessed each week by a panel of judges. The show’s twist was the joining of the general public, who voted in document numbers by telephone to save favorite contestants. Popular music Idol had actually made a star of several of the young performers, and one the the judges, sharp-tongued document producer Simon Cowell.

After more than a decade in Los Angeles, Jackson was a respected industry veteran, whose credits consisted of over a thousands gold and platinum albums. His very first reaction to the ide of American Idol was not positive. “TV’s corny, cheesy, whatever,” that told LA radio DJ JoJo Wright, in one interview posted on the deejay’s website. In spite of his year of suffer in the music business, Jackson had actually spent tiny time in prior of the camera—aside indigenous a 1992 base guitar instruction video, Randy Jackson: Mastering the Groove, and a guest appearance in the 1990 television special, mother Goose absent n’ Rhyme. “I’ve to be behind the scenes with all this artists,” he stated in a Newsweek on-line interview. “I’ve viewed celebrity up close, yet I’ve never really lived it.”

Believing the music service to it is in in a an innovative slump, Jackson had strong feelings about the increased focus on looks end talent, and concerns around the longevity of many new artists. However watching tapes of the original British variation of the show convinced Jackson to readjust his mind, joining Simon Cowell and singer Paula Abdul on the American Idol evaluate panel. “I’m law the exact same thing I execute as an A&R person,” Jackson to be quoted together saying in an interview v the Miami Herald. “You understand what you’re feather for, what makes a star.”

American Idol’s star find attracted tens of hundreds of aspiring singers in 7 cities. In Los Angeles alone, an estimated 11,000 civilization registered because that the second season’s auditions, just two of whom made it throughto the show’s final 12, follow to a special American Idol execution of human being magazine. Although the judges were no asked come hear every the contestants, Jackson uncovered the grueling audition process exhausting and also at time dispiriting, despairing the the delusions of numerous of the hopefuls. “This is a hard, tough, tough business,” he told Newsweek, “I think karaoke has done the record sector a large disservice.”

American Idol proved a enormous hit because that the Fox network, quickly graduating, claimed US magazine, “from guilty satisfied to fully pop society obsession.” The an initial season attracted an median of 12.7 million viewers, if the second season averaged 21.7 million, with an ext than 38 million viewers tuning in for the finale, follow to The new York Times. Because of the general public appetite for the show, it was increased from 25 come 38 episodes in its second season. The series spawned a movie, concert tours, compilation albums, an interactive video clip game, connected merchandise and also a spin-off series called American Juniors, when Newsweek reported on international versions the the show in much more than a dozen countries. The album by an initial season winner Kelly Clarkson, debuted in ~ number one on the Billboard charts in April of 2003. By the finish of the second season, Jackson felt i was sure enough about the truth of the judging procedure and public poll to laud the show’s contribution. “This gives me hope because that music,” he told Newsweek. “It might be the start of a music organization where it’s based upon talent, like it was in the ‘60s and ‘70s.”

American Idol pushed Jackson firmly right into the windy consciousness. Although he never came to be a media darling favor the acerbic, controversial Cowell, Jackson became a family name. Part commentators poked gentle fun at Jackson’s way of speaking: Newsweek suggested that the many notable change in season 2 was that “Randy, Randy, Randy has actually stopped saying names in triplicate and embraced a new verbaltic—Dawg.” described by Newsweek as “the least high maintain of the 3 judges,” Jackson to be praised because that his amiable, laid earlier approach come American Idol. Simon Cowell to be quoted in world magazine as saying: “Randy is the only human being on this display … who has actually remained totally and utterly unaffected through it.”

Continued come Produce

Jackson, who has actually taught A&R classes at UCLA, continued to occupational as a music producer throughout his commitments come American Idol. That recently developed vocals top top a duet in between Mariah Carey and also Justin Timberlake, and also made a personal appearance in the music video clip for Carey’s song “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak.” Describing bass playing together “therapy”, Jackson still determined to beat at sometimes studio sessions, including Kelly Clarkson’s debut, Thankful.

Jackson manages his very own artists, including former child star and also singer Nikka Costa, and also singer-songwriter van Hunt, with whom that co-produced Dionne Farris’ 1997 hit track “Hopeless.” In enhancement to his tv appearances as a judge on American Idol, Jackson was a presenter in ~ the 2002 MTV video Music Awards and, in the same year, made a guest figure on the Wayne Brady Show. He additionally appeared top top British tv in 2003, top top alternative selection show Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway.

Randy Jackson has been married twice. He divorce his very first wife, singer-songwriter Elizabeth Jackson, in 1990, and married previous ballet dancer, Erika Riker, in 1995. He has one daughter, Taylor, indigenous his an initial marriage, and two children, Zoe and Jordan, from his second. In interviews, that is eager to correct the impression that he is related to either music superstar Michael Jackson (who has actually a brother called Randy) or gibbs Samuel L. Jackson. He resides in Tarzana, a suburb the Los Angeles.

Selected discography

As musician

Jean-Luc Ponty, polite Evil, 1980.

Jean-Luc Ponty, Mystical Adventures, 1982.

Bobby McFerrin, Bobby McFerrin, 1982.

Jean-Luc Ponty, individual Choice, 1983.

Journey, Frontiers, 1983.

Whitney Houston, Whitney Houston, 1985.

Aretha Franklin, Who’s Zoomin’ Who?, 1985.

Eddie Money, Can’t organize Back, 1986.

Journey, raised on Radio, 1986.

Aretha Franklin, Aretha, 1986.

Kenny G, Duotones, 1986.

Whitney Houston, Whitney, 1987.

Michael Bolton, Hunger, 1987.

Bob Dylan, down in the Groove, 1988.

Madonna, prefer a Prayer, 1989.

Bob Dylan, Under the Red Sky, 1990.

Celine Dion, Unison, 1990.

Elton John, To be Continued, 1990.

Michael Bolton, Time, Love & Tenderness, 1991.

Cher, Love Hurts, 1991.

Michael Bolton, Timeless: The Classics, 1992.

Mariah Carey, MTV Unplugged, 1992.

Bruce Springsteen, person Touch, 1992.

Bruce Springsteen, lucky Town, 1992.

Tracy Chapman, problem of the Heart, 1992.

Mariah Carey, funny Christmas, 1994.

Aretha Franklin, best Hits 1980-1994, 1994.

Kenny G, Miracles: The vacation Album, 1994.

Dionne Farris, Wild Seed—Wild Flower, 1995.

Bon Jovi, these Days, 1995.

Tracy Chapman, Collection, 2001.

Various Artists, American Idol: biggest Moments, 2002.

Kelly Clarkson, Thankful, 2003.

As producer

Trisha Covington, (with Marc Nelson, Kyle West) sluggish Down, 1995.

Truth around Cats & dogs soundtrack, 1996.

First Wives club soundtrack, 1996.

Rahsaan Patterson, (co-producer) Love in Stereo, 1999.

As producer and also musician

Eddie Money, best Here, 1991.

Richard Marx, meat & Bone, 1997.

Gladys Knight, at Last, 2000.

Jesse Powell, JP, 2001.



Newsweek, might 5, 2003, p. 71; might 26, 2003, pp. 52-58.

New York Times, might 23, 2003, section C, p.1.

People Extra, may 2003, pp. 16, 24, 79.

People Weekly, in march 24, 2003, p. 67.

TV Guide, might 17-23, 2003, pp. 24-27, 47.

US, April 14, 2003, p. 71; may 5, 2003, pp. 40-45.


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“Randy Jackson operated on Mariah Carey’s 2003 album CharmBracelet,” Mariah Carey Organization, www.mariahc.nu/info/discography/charmbracelet.shtml (June 6, 2003).

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“To The allude with Gary Jackson,” Network, www.thenetworkmag.com/issues/025/urban/urban.htm (June 6, 2003).