They say your childhood and early experiences are formative – colouring everything we do next. And for Oklahoma-hailed Thunder Jackson – whose father was a part-time Elvis impersonator who would play State Fairs – an intense and unwavering love of music was born.
The rising star has been making waves with his alchemical brand of rollicking pop-rock, packed with electronic flourishes, dark and emotive lyricism and the singer’s ethereal falsetto.
“Institution” is Thunder Jackson’s latest song, out today, taken from his highly-anticipated self-titled debut album – which delves into the artist’s tumultuous relationship with his mental health.
Watch the music video for “Institution” below – a trippy, disorientating fever dream…
Congratulations on “Institution” – what is the track inspired by? Where were you at in your life when you wrote it?
“Institution” is inspired by personal experience as much as any other song on the record. It was written almost three years ago in a basement and was inspired by a clouded era in my adolescence – a time in my life when my thoughts felt synthetic. I started to question if reality was real. My thoughts and feelings seemed mechanical and robotic. It was only after years of reflection and guidance that I started to feel fluid again. This song is my reminder that I can get out of the tunnel.
The lyrics are quite dark – how does it feel tapping into these vulnerable/raw emotions and experiences for your music?
It’s cathartic. Writing this album was the ultimate test of how far I could dive into my emotions and how willing I was to explore the darkness. “Institution” was sort of a therapy session in that writing these lyrics really allowed me to face some demons while acknowledging progress. I think it’s important to be vulnerable and raw when expressing your art. The realities of this world aren’t as shiny and glamorous as they may sometimes seem from the outside looking in.
How do you want fans to feel when they listen to the track?
However they please. It’s now theirs to interpret. I only hope they feel something. So long as they do, everyone’s won. The symbiosis of interpreting the same thing in many ways is what makes humans unique… it’s a beautiful thing.
How do you think you’ve progressed sonically since you first started making music?
Taking vocal lessons changed everything. It repositioned my whole dynamic and reframed how I approach making music. I can now channel certain things I wasn’t able to at the beginning of this record. I even went back and re-recorded songs. If you’re serious about being a singer, I strongly recommend trying to expand your craft.
What’s next for you? What are you excited about for the rest of 2020?
I have another single called “Caroline” coming out September 2nd and then my album comes out October 1st! I’m over the moon that it’s finally going to be out in the world. Last but certainly not least, I am continually refining how to make the perfect gin martini whilst singing Celine Dion’s “The Power of Love”. I will keep you posted on my progress.