Enduring a harrowing childhood in Virginia where she experienced abuse and witnessed her mother’s mental decline, Judi Jackson found strength in music. She was aided by an unlikely benefactor. She met Wynton Marsalis at the Jefferson Center, telling the the acclaimed trumpeter she too wanted to be a musician. He later sent her a box containing music of the greats: Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and more. Inspired by these talented women who had also endured great hardship, she was more determined than ever to become an artist that pushed boundaries.
Her sound is as much soul as jazz, an impeccable merging of sensibilities that is getting her noticed. In just two years, her study of these legendary singers had left her positioned to open for gospel singer Mavis Staples. In 2019, while at college, she recorded her original composition, “Only You,” with Snarky Puppy for its Grammy-winning Family Dinner: Volume One.
She decided to move to London, and after taking part in tribute shows to Amy Winehouse and Nina Simone, she released the EP, Blame it on My Youth, in 2017. In 2018, she recorded a performance at Theatre Royal Stratford East, and the result was Judi Jackson Live In London.