lyricist and producer from the woods creating hip-hop from the heart to uplift and inspire listeners around the world.
Jackson Whalan is an American lyricist and producer known for his high-impact rapping, music production, live performance and collaboration. He has independently released over 100 songs, including LPs, EPs, singles and features, while touring extensively, both solo and with a live band.
“Berkshire, Massachusetts-based emcee/producer Jackson Whalan delivers the bangin’, bluesy “From the Woods (Remix)” featuring KRS-One, the hip-hop icon and co-founder of Boogie Down Productions. A studio daydream that manifested into a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, the cut brings together an iconic pillar and omnipresent voice of hip-hop culture and a promising young artist who is putting his own righteous energy into sound art. The results are nothing short of stunning, as KRS-One brings his inimitable presence and bombastic South Bronx style to the thumpin’ “From the Woods” (Remix)…” – B. Getz via Live for Live Music
Jackson was born and raised in Berkshire County, on the western edge of Massachusetts. There were very few examples of hip-hop artists from his rural hometown, but the music made its way into his life when he found CDs that belonged his older brother. Inspired at age 11 by The Score by The Fugees, Illmatic by Nas, and other late 90s hip-hop, Jackson forged a path not previously traveled by any white kid from The Berkshires.
When Jackson discovered the power of hip-hop, things were turbulent at home, at school and in the world. He was waking up to issues of race, class, politics, human rights and climate change. His music became the vehicle for addressing injustices and inspiring people.
During middle and high school, local hip-hop artist Regi Wingo (Dominik Omega) schooled Jackson on the five elements of hip-hop. Regi led Jackson into the recording and releasing of multiple mixtapes and albums under the name The Aposoul. As a young teen, he began performing locally.
Through a local youth organization, Railroad Street Youth Project, Jackson was paired up with a mentor, award-winning songwriter Robby Baier. The non-for-profit youth organization catalyzed Jackson’s music with unique opportunities for his artistic development. At age 17, Jackson performed at The U.N. Headquarters in New York City for The International Day of Peace in front of a global audience of youth representatives and Messengers of Peace: Jane Goodall, Elie Wiesel and Michael Douglas.
Jackson attended The New School University in New York City, and formed a band, Technicolor Lenses, with his friend Sam Eckstein (Esseks). The duo was later joined by drummer Brandon Lewis and vocalist/percussionist, Carmen Estevez. In 2012, the band won first place in The New School Battle of The Bands, with the prize of studio time at The Bunker Studio in Brooklyn, NY. There, they recorded Eternal Eyes EP (2012) with Grammy-winning engineer John Davis.
In 2012, his college studies took Jackson to India, where he studied Integral Sustainability for a semester at an eco-village, Auroville. There, he created a collection of field recordings that he wove into his music. Back in the U.S., he studied turntablism at The New School with DJ Rob Swift; he graduated from The New School in 2013 with a B.A. in music.