Millie Jackson Interview
Millie Jackson was born 35 years go in a small town just outside of Augusta, Georgia. Her singing career began when, on a dare from friends, she got up on stage and sang "Stand By Me." A club owner liked what he heard and hired Millie for the enormous sum of $20.
Things have changed for Millie today. She owns a $26,000 Mercedes and a Cadillac. Touring 50 weeks a year, Millie has nine albums out, four of them gold.
The National Association of Television and Radio Artists (NATRA) named Millie the Most Promising Vocalist of 1972, and "Cash-box" named her Best Female R & B Vocalist along with Aretha Franklin.
Critic Dennis Hunt of the L.A. Times said, "Millie Jackson is better than Midler and just about any other female entertainer you can name — Donna Summer. Barbra Streisand, Diana Ross, Linda Ronstadt."
We spoke to Millie Jackson.
Q. You have a new album out, "For Men Only" (Spring/ Polydor Records), what's the album like?
A. I'm speaking to men more than women on this album. It's along the same lines as the "Feeling Bitchy" album. I'm speaking more about women on this album.
Q. Have you ever been told to tone down your concert performances?
A. No. I'm not saying anything that's bad. All I do is talk sex. The most I can do is overpopulate the country.
Q. You once said, "The public will tell you where you're going for the next three or four years." How does the public do that?
A. By buying or not buying your records. That's it.
Q. Why don't you have a manager?
A. I don't need anybody to tell me what to do. Other people need managers, lazy people. I have an organization.
Q. Do you think being forced to attend church six days a week as a child had something to do with the way you are today?
A. That had nothing to do with it. That was only for a year when I was with my grandparents.
Q. How do you find your material?
A. Brad Shapiro, my co-producer, gives me the material. I find some songs, and pick whatever is best.
Q. What have you got against disco?
A. Disco music is dead. The record companies are not accepting disco anymore. The disco acts couldn't work off their records. They couldn't get bookings. People didn't buy disco records.
Q. What kind of music is "in" then?
A. Up tempo music — R & B, New Wave, Funk. There's a difference between up tempo music and disco music.
Q. You manage yourself; did you ever manage anybody else?
A. I had the "Facts of Life" for a while, but I didn't think I could do that successfully. They had two albums out on T.K. Records, and did "Looks
Like We Made It" before Manilow had the hit.
Q. Ever get tired of touring?
A. No. I got the ideal situation. I work three days a week and I'm home four days. I played in Syracuse two or three years ago in some country club.
Q. Would you like to try your hand at acting?
A. Not particularly. I like comedy. If I could get a good role as a comedian, but all the black comedians I know want to be singers.
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