How Trevor Jackson Uses His Personal Life Experience To Create Music

In an interview with BET, the actor-singer discussed his new single, "He Don't Know," his tenure on "Grown-ish," and his aspirations to work with Denzel Washington.

Trevor Jackson is known for acting roles like Aaron Jackson from "Grown-ish," Zurich from "Burning Sands," and his lead role in "Superfly." Lately, the singer has been using his musical talents and bringing different flavors to the R&B scene. 

On Tuesday (April 23), Trevor released a new single titled “He Don’t Know.” The song takes a fun approach to the Afrobeats genre, combining R&B and Hip Hop elements. He reveals the inspiration behind the song is just him being a “side” dude. “It's about the guy on the side, he's out, and he sees the girl but she's not alone,” he tells BET. “And I'm like, ‘Oh, he doesn't even know. Huh?’ That's happened to me before, quite a few times so I wrote about it. It’s basically like, ‘Hey, let's not do too much. As long as things stay secret, we can continue our arrangement. But, if you blow the spot up, it’s over.’ That’s what I’m saying in the song. ‘Let’s not get too crazy, let’s not make it obvious.’”

This drop comes shortly after his EP “Heads Up,” which came out in March. He admits that the title track was also based on the same personal experience. “Initially, the song, ‘Heads Up’ came about because I was in the studio and I was trying to invite people to come hang out. I was on the phone with this girl and she was like, ‘Oh, I'm sorry I would, but I'm at my man's house… I gotta go.’ And she hurried up off the phone and I was like, ‘Let me make this a song,’” Trevor adds. “The other songs I had were kind of in that same vein. It's basically just the perspective from the guy on the side. Guys are often in that position whether they know it or not. I wanted to be transparent and show what it's like to be a man in love with a woman who's in a relationship. A lot of the records and the music kind of are a reflection of that.” 

Although the 27-year-old isn't proud of being the side dude, he says that as long as he’s being honest about the experiences that he or someone he’s close to has gone through, there’s always somebody out there who would listen. “I would rather keep the stories human. I'm not proud of it, but I gotta be honest. I'm proud of the human experience,” he says. “We don't always get it right. I feel like young men, especially get less grace when it comes to their relationship struggles. The more honest we are with ourselves and with each other, the better we can come to a more peaceful understanding of one another in relationships.”

Wolfacejoeyy Says It’s His Time To Shine

Trevor wants people to feel freedom when listening to his music. “There's freedom in pain. There's freedom in crying. There's freedom in joy,” he continues.  I just don't want people to try so hard not to feel. I've been that person. I still am that person, I'm working on that. All of the music I've made in my life has allowed me to realize that even if it's later, I'd be like, ‘Yo, I was really hurting when I made that song, but look how beautiful that song is. It's harder to see that beauty when you're in all that pain, but it's always together.”

The artist’s weekly covers, known as "T-MIXES," have garnered significant attention on social media. His rendition of Tyla’s “Water” has received over 60 million views and 505,000 likes collectively between TikTok, Instagram, and Youtube, which surprised him. “Those are all songs that I want to be on and artists that I like,” he says. “I think I would sound dope on these songs and that’s how I pick which songs to cover. Also, I always think about songs I wish I wrote. That’s how I know something is really good. I’m like, ‘Ugh, why didn’t I think of that?’”

Trevor, who now resides in Los Angeles, was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. He’s brought his Midwestern upbringing and values to both the TV/film and music industries. He cites James Dean and Michael Jackson as his biggest musical influences, which continuously center his art and give him the confidence to go forth in pursuit of his dreams. 

Though from a basketball-oriented family, he chose to pursue entertainment at age eight. He portrayed Young Simba in the Broadway national tour of “The Lion King” and over the years, he has taken on notable roles. In 2010, he portrayed Kevin Blake in the final two seasons of “Eureka.” Expanding into film in 2012, he played Quincy Smith in “A Beautiful Soul.” That same year, Trevor starred alongside Tyler James Williams as Kris McDuffy in Disney Channel's “Let It Shine.”

Trevor’s most notable recurring role on “Grown-ish” was the most extended character to be present in the series, which is currently in its final season. “I am sad that it's ending… Six years of my life. Very sad, but a wonderful time,” he says. “I think the most important thing about Aaron, the character I play, is just his relentlessness and his ambition and his fight to the end. I think that's how I've been with my career. I think that's how I've been in my own life, regardless of what's thrown at me. We gotta go on, we gotta keep pushing. Even if we're afraid, even if we're sad, even if we're heartbroken, we gotta keep pushing. And I think that my character, Aaron, is the same way. You know, whether he is breaking up with Zoey or whoever he is breaking up with, he’s still gotta go to work. He's gotta put a smile on his face, he's gotta show up and get the job done.”

He reveals that his ultimate goal is to work with Denzel Washington. “I'll play the role of a tree. I don't care. I'll play a tree, a table, anything. Just let me be in the movie with Denzel and just brush his shoulder or something. Just get a little bit of that magic, you know what I mean?” he says. “I wanna work with Colin Farrell, Leo, Robert, I mean, these are all amazing people. I wanna work with Drake, Kendrick [Lamar], Rascal Flatts, and Luke Combs. Those are just a few.”

Trevor also advises people trying to enter the music or TV/film industry while starting young, like he did. “Make sure you follow your happiness as much as your success,” he begins. “I see people all the time living in a prison, like a living hell but they're like, ‘Hey, I gotta do it.’ And it's like you have to be happy and peaceful. I’d rather chase things that make me feel that way. Do it because you love it. Be patient, which is so hard for people that are creatives because they're so passionate. And I feel like whenever you are an artist, you love harder. So the pain is more, you hurt deeper as an artist. And it could just be from the state of the world. I feel like when you're in the industry for a long time, you get caught up and forget that you are on the other side of the world or in other places, you are a hero to some people. Whether you believe it or not, that's just the, the, the facts of it.”

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