Following on from the release of his debut album Hired Hand in 2012, Melbourne singer-songwriter Jake Jackson is back with a special single – I will March For You – which is an ode to his father. A timely release for the Anzac centenary, and indeed any day of remembrance, the song will resonate with anyone who has a loved one who has been at war, or who serves in the armed forces. It is not a song about Anzac Day, but instead an ode to those who deserve to be remembered for their unwavering bravery.
Jake’s father died when he was only two-years-old and the only memories he has of him are through the eyes of his mother, now 93-years-old. He says she still lights up when talking about his Dad, and passed on his letters, photographs and medals which helped him develop a bond for the man he never had a chance to know. Delving into the history wasn’t an easy journey, but one that Jake, as a father now himself, felt necessary.
“There was a point in my life where I felt the need to understand who he was,” he says. “This led me down a labyrinth of paths as he had a very different life to mine. My mother is still alive and she still speaks of him with a great deal of reverence, and after researching his military history I understood why. He served in North Africa and New Guinea – where he was awarded an MBE – and enlisted with his brother when he was about 20 and living in Melbourne. As I learnt more about him I felt that it was very appropriate to march on Anzac Day wearing his medals and honouring his contribution to our prosperity and freedom. It is the day each year where I get to spend time with my father’s memory.”
After marching in last year’s Anzac Day parade, Jake sat down to start writing I Will March For You. However, in the early stages he found it too emotional to sing more than a verse or chorus and put the song on the back-burner. It was only after putting some distance between himself and the song that he felt ready to complete it late last year. “This song is my anthem to the fallen, to all those who have sacrificed and to all those that have served their country in the pursuit of the preservation of freedom,” he says. “I hear it as a song for all time and I really hope that others see it the same way. It is my personal experience and feelings, and the feeling that is shared by millions of family members and friends all over the world from many different lands and so many conflicts.”
To give the song the haunting dynamic it deserved, he called in the help of the Australian Women’s Choir to assist. “It was an easy song to record because there is not a lot of production, I really wanted to keep it as simple as possible with the main component being the choir and the cello,” he says. “The Australia’s Women’s Choir were great to work with and we achieved a beautiful youthful sound. I have always loved the cello since my days at the Con, so that was always in my mind. They say the cello is the closet instrument to the human voice and when you hear it played, it really does leave an impression. Robyn Payne produced the song for me and I love that we kept it very simple and accessible.”
Since recording the song, Jake has played it several times to audiences at his shows and is constantly overwhelmed by the response. “I was amazed by the reaction I Will March For You received when I played it to people,” Jake says. “Some just heard it as a ballad, but others, those who had been touched by loss, found a deeper association with the words as I sang them. There has been numerous times where it has just been too much for people and I would watch as their tears just flowed. It is quite amazing to watch listeners reach into their memories as they realise the sentiment of the song. I found it empowering to be able to open people’s hearts.”
Jake Jackson is fast earning the reputation for his incredibly personal songs. He is not afraid to dig deep within himself and share that with music fans. He is in the middle of recording an EP, due for release later in 2015, and with I Will March For You as the first song from the forthcoming release, its evident listeners are in for a treat. “If a song is not from your heart, it is worthless,” says Jake. “All the songs that I have penned are stories and emotions, feelings and thoughts. If you don’t mean it, please don’t sing it. Strong words I know but I play music for these things, I’m not interested in anything hollow when it comes to music.”
Jake Jackson’s single I Will March For You is released to radio on Friday 27th March 2015. Check out the video clip here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGw5FjCTL7M
For more information, visit www.jakejackson.com.au