David Leonard [Jackson Waters]
When we first popped in our Jackson Waters “Come Undone” record, we were immensely drawn to their musical style and the important messages about love, hope and faith in their lyrics. Jackson Waters’ talent is undeniable and we knew we had to immediately talk to them about their record to really get the back story of how this band came to be. What you you’ll read below is the 411 we got on JW, straight from the lead singer, David Leonard.
First off, can you tell us the story of Jackson Waters? How did you guys come together?
Basically we came together… um, me, Toby and Ryan were all going to college together in Arkansas, and we just kinda met there and started playing shows. We had all played in bands before but, we just met there and you know, were like ‘we all loved the kind of the same music, so let’s try to throw something together.’ It’s kind of how it started…
Where did the name Jackson Waters come from?
It doesn’t mean a single thing. [Laughs]
Yeah, we love the movie Almost Famous, and they [the band from the film] were called “Stillwater”. And so we thought that Jackson sounded pretty Southern… kinda cool… 70’s sounding. So, we put Jackson Waters together. Took the ‘Water’ off of “Stillwater” and took the ‘Jackson’ that sounded kind of Southern and put it together. That was it.
What do you think it is that sets Jackson Waters apart from other bands out right now?
I don’t know, I mean, I think… um, that’s a good question. What does set us apart from everybody else out there? I think what we try to communicate in our music is just trying to be ‘real’ and putting real music out there that people can relate to and situations that people go through everyday. Trying to really communicate with everybody that way and trying to relate to everybody; trying to give them something that they can feel and grasp a hold of.
When you write music, where do you gather your inspiration from?
I think definitely from friends and family and just situations that we’re all going through. Just, you know… trying to find inspiration in pretty much everywhere we are sometimes.
Is there a certain song that you’ve written in which you feel most connected to?
Umm, I mean for each and every one of them, they should probably have a different answer for that question but for me personally, one of the songs that probably I feel connected to the most is a song called “Center of Attention” and probably the song “Come Undone”… which both were tracks on One Tree Hill. “Come Undone” is just a struggle with moving past my past, you know, and dealing with the things that are in my closet and trying to move on to ‘a new day’ kinda deal, you know?
Well, you know those songs we buzzed about a lot after they were on The CW’s “One Tree Hill”. How was the response from that for you?
That was awesome man, we couldn’t have asked for anything better. Just being able to get your music in front of so many different people, and just the response from people who really enjoyed it, you know, who never would have heard it if it hadn’t been for the show.
You guys have been labeled a “Christian-Southern rock band”. Do you think it’s tough for Christian artist to become popular amongst mainstream music? Do you think it’s harder for people to accept bands whose music is centered on their religion?
Yeah, definitely. Well, I don’t know if it’s harder, I think there is a slight disadvantage because ultimately, probably people automatically put the label on and think you’re just trying to put out some messengers like some televangelist, you know just trying to tell them about some problems. I think for us it’s never been about trying to point out the wrong things in people’s lives. It’s about letting them know who we are and knowing where we come from. You know, just because we believe in Jesus Christ, it’s more about trying to show them the love of Him and that’s what our relationship with Christ is about, it’s the love that He’s shown us. It’s not about trying to point out peoples wrongs, it’s about trying to come along and love them just like He’s loved us kinda deal.
Well, you said that “Center of Attention” and “Come Undone” are tracks that really mean the most to you. What’s the song that you love to perform live that like… really gets you going and holds personal meaning behind it?
I mean, I think I would definitely come back to “Center of Attention” just because it’s such a cool vibe. It’s one of those songs that you play live and people turn their heads kinda thing, you know because it’s not just slammin’ guitars or a lot of noise. It’s very sparse and very, you know just emotional.
One of my favorite songs on the album that I really enjoy, and I think others will is “Different.”
Can you tell me the back story behind it? I just love that song.
Really? Nah, I mean the back story was just, you know… and the writing of the song was just trying to make something that really expressed how we felt after realizing that there was a God that loved us for our screw-ups and for all the things that we have in our life. Um… and that’s just kinda how it was. You know… ‘I felt different’, kinda thing.
Yeah, I felt really connected to the song. It really stood out when I was playing the record.
Cool! Thank you.
You’re welcome! — If you were given the chance, who would you be interested in collaborating with?
I mean, I would love to collaborate with like… we’re all huge ‘classic rock’ fans and stuff like that, and like 70’s music. I mean, Tom Petty or Stevie Wonder… I would love to collaborate with Bill Withers. Those kinda guys are somebody that I would just love to work on something with. It would just be… it would blow my mind.
If anyone pops in a JW album, or downloads your tracks off of iTunes… what message do you hope they take away from your music?
I think just that Christianity is different that just in-your-face. You know, there’s a relationship that’s there and there are real people out there that really love the Lord and have a relationship with Him, who would love to show you the love He has given us.
We hear you’re in the studio working on new music. How is it going? Any hints are to what to expect in the near future?
We are! Yeah, I think the tracks are coming along really good. We’re really excited about them and you know it just goes back to that… writing about what’s happening in our life and the transitions that we’re going through. I think it’s going to be a little bit of a different flavor than what this album is… but, I think it’s going to be a pleasant surprise.
We’re very excited to hear it! — Thank you so much.
You’re welcome, thanks for calling.
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