If you bring up the name Jayson Jackson, it’s usually associated with some of todays genre breaking artists — Santogold [listed as one of Rolling Stones top 10 albums of 08] to Spankrock (IT kid quote, or next big thing, insert fast). Jayson is a career builder. His addiction is really spotting a twinkle in the eye of a passionate artist. His job is simply delivering it to the worldstage, regardless of whatever tools his industry dictates at the time.
Back in 1993, it was less about internet and more about the quintessential mix tape. The craft of his hustle was birthed that year when he first nabbed a NYC internship at Columbia Records, while at the same time acting as A&R assistant to the then Mercury Records President. At 23 years old, Jayson became part of a think tank for a young band called the Fugees, and began his knowledge of day-to-day artist development. Soon came better positions at Uptown Records and Def Jam (1994-1996) where he played a direct role in the spawning of Method Man, running the creative on Grammy winning single “All I Need”, Montell Jordan, Onyx, and Redman. Evolving to Director of Marketing for Urban Music for Elektra meant fostering more careers in a corporate setting from En Vogue to Adina Howard. In 1997, Jayson was lured to Bad Boy Entertainment to serve as Vice President of Marketing and Promotions under Puff Daddy’s tutelage cementing the legacy of Notorious B.I.G., Faith and introducing the new stars like Mase, The Lox, and Carl Thomas to the ever growing hip-hop cultural fabric. For 36 out of 52 weeks, Bad Boy Entertainment held the #1 spot on Billboards singles chart, making 1997 the most successful year in the storied labels history. The days of the clandestine mixed tapes gradually transitioned into the sophistication of CD culture. Jayson’s last position within record label walls was at Virgin Records as the Senior Vice President/General Manager of Urban Music. Artists ranged from Neptunes with their debut N*E*R*D to soul singer D’Angelo to pop icon Janet Jackson.
In a logical move to create his own world (while utilizing almost a decade of experience), Jayson eventually opened his own management firm, entitled Seven Days Entertainment. First on his agenda, was rekindling with an old colleague who was ready to strike out on their own, Lauryn Hill (spanning from his early days with the Fugees). Jayson quickly formed Lauryn’s business team and together launched her first solo record, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, which went on to sell 20 million records worldwide, be nominated for a historic 10 Grammy Awards and win 5. Another spotting of talent was the poet/activist Sara Jones for whom he Produced (alongside Exec-Producer Meryl Streep) a one-woman show at an off Broadway theater. The show, entitled “Bridge & Tunnel”, would go on to win a Drama Desk, a Critics Circle award and an Obie award. The play would ultimately go on to have a successful run on Broadway and win a coveted Tony Award for Special Theatrical production . The Seven Days Entertainment roster has also included Q-Tip and Mos Def in various successful touring and artist development efforts.
Having flourished through 3 technological shifts in the entertainment business, Jayson sees the new landscapes as a riddle to be deciphered. In his mind, passion trumps anything. His current artists, Santogold and Spankrock have already captured a furious fan base online and are being nurtured for greater heights. The real trick of Jaysons business is translating years of professional guidance while navigating the new challenges of the entertainment business. “There will always be new artists trying to tell their own stories, wether its music, film or theatre. The tools they use to tell those stories is the only thing that has changed” says Jayson. “How you get the information out there is what counts”.
Jayson currently resides in New York City and is a devoted Yankees fan