Pop Star Stacey Jackson: “The World Is My Oyster”
She became an inspiration for stay-at-home moms when she shot to fame, having launched her music career at 40. Following the success of her debut single, Stacey Jackson has gone on to release four albums & over a dozen singles, recorded a track “Live It Up” with legendary rapper Snoop Dogg. Now in her 50s, with her regular show on Spotlight TV, she gives proof that love for that ’80s nostalgia is still a prominent part of today’s culture as her latest single ‘FLIPSIDE’ smashes through to hit the No.1 spot on Global Digital Radio charts.
She strongly believes you should keep trying to roll the dice and take a chance, no matter what your age. “You’ve got to just literally throw the spaghetti onto the ceiling and see what sticks – she said to CrunchyTales-. because you never know what half that’s gonna go down“,
Stacey, you are a singer, songwriter, entrepreneur, TV presenter & mother of four. Tell me, how did you manage to get back in the game at the age of 40 and how do you balance it all?
Well, that is the quintessential question for any working mother. I was always in the music industry but then I had kids quite young. I took 15 years off to focus on my family and my husband’s career, supporting his decision to move to London with him being the only breadwinner and me to take care of the kids. But I never lost sight of my dreams. As the kids got older, I realised if I really wanted to get back in the game, I’d better start sooner rather than later because the wrinkles were slowly appearing and I knew that the music industry is very ageist.
But that didn’t stop you, right?
It was a bit of a crapshoot but I thought: OK, let me see if I can get involved in some ways, even on a charity level. So, I reached Music for Youth, which provides platforms for kids to perform live all over the country, and offered my expertise. I ended up taking about 30 or 40 kids from all over the UK helping them create this album of cover songs – most of them were classic Motown rock hits- and raised over 20 thousand pounds. One of the kids, an affiliation to the charity, was a DJ and one of the records got remixed and my vocal was on it. So, suddenly I got catapulted into the club charts and I was sitting between Lady Ga Ga and the Scissor Sisters. The phone calls started coming in and my career slowly took off again. Finally, I got a chance to get signed by a major record label. Something I couldn’t refuse at my age.
But, you know, I still had the kids at home and when a record label wants to sign you that means they own you and you’ve got to travel when they want you to travel and perform when they want you to perform. It was sort of like: how to retain the control of my schedule and my life? I really very much believed in myself, my husband believed in my talent and my family were big supporters so I decided to open up my own record label, instead, learning from the tricks of the trade to how to release records and build my own profile. Over the years, I started writing with more extraordinarily talented, credible producers and co-writers. As I kept getting asked for one club hit after another, I then wrote a song that required a rapper. I had a great manager at the time who send it to a bunch of musicians. Then Snoop Dog left a message.
What was it like getting to work with such a big name?
It was great because we had this bonding connection where funnily enough we’re trying to find the commonalities between the two. You see, he’s got kids the same age, he’s got a wife who is an entrepreneur and has been through a lot on his side so he kind of understood the message – it’s never too late to live your dreams. His rap was like: it’s time to put your purse down and let down your hair. We wrote the song and recorded it together, so it was something I’ll never forget. You know, now people send parts back and forth electronically but for me, there’s nothing more than that experience.
Many women over 40 think it’s too late to start over again. Have you ever had self-doubts regarding the chances of achieving your goals? If so, how did you move on?
Confidence is the key. You have to believe not only in yourself but in your work and put it out there because at the end of the day you’ll never know. Of course, that takes a lot of thick skin, especially in my industry. You know, you have to go on audition after audition, you have to send your tapes out to people, you have to be prepared for a lot of rejection and it’s probably worse when you’re older. The risk is greater but I was just one of the lucky ones I guess and I was persistent and I built up a really good fan base on social media. I think part of the success is the fact that I have a lot of people who don’t just believe in what I do but believe in the story that here is this woman of 40 something – now I’m in my 50s- and that if she can do it then why can’t I? And that’s maybe partly why I grew so much in the industry because I was a bit of an anomaly. Here’s this old lady strutting her stuff in high heels.
You have spoken about the challenges of being a mature woman in the public eye. In your opinion, how can we challenge ageism in this society?
I think the best way to challenge it is to say there’s nothing better than experience. Just from raising kids, I’m probably good at a million other things that I didn’t know I was ever good at. So I think the key is to make people realise that it’s not that you’ve been out of the game: you held it with doing so many other things in your life that you don’t even chalk up to be important. But, you see, it’s important having different experiences in life. Doing all the other things I’ve done over those years actually helps and I could never be who I am without never having the chance to be a mum. Raising my children gave me so much confidence: I mean, I didn’t know what I was doing when I had my first child, but then you learn, you get with the programme right, and then I had another kid and another kid and another kid and I just kept doing things in my own way. That’s what made me feel a little bit invincible, and that’s why I thought like you’ve got to roll the dice and take a chance. A million people are going to say “No“, a million people are going to say: “we want someone younger or somebody taller or somebody with a British accent“, but you just don’t know. Life is really a blank canvas and you have to treat it like that. Life is short you gotta do it.
Would you consider yourself a late bloomer?
That’s a good question. I don’t think I’ve changed much. I think people who know me from back in the day will probably say I’m just an older wiser version of myself. I’m probably a late bloomer because I put my career on hold for a while but I did that later. If you’re saying late bloomer in terms of the actual industry that I’m in, yes that’s for sure, but I think I’ve blossomed in so many other ways all through the years that kind of made me who I am right now.
In such a fast-paced world, it’s important to find our inner peace as well as look after our well being. Do you have any particular rituals?
Yes, I work out every day. For me, if I don’t work out it’s like I didn’t brush my teeth. I have to work out. It gives me adrenaline to start the day, I feel better for it and I feel less guilty when I drink an extra glass of wine. It’s obviously a mental thing with me but I feel like I can own the world after I work out and as you get older it’s so much more important to have that strength and keep up with the flexibility and movement. You know, I don’t want to be an 80 or 90-year-old woman who can’t touch her toes. Also, in terms of skincare, I think hyaluronic acid is a game-changer. Since I’ve been putting it on my face, my skin is much brighter. Actually, it’s a new discovery for me. Since the Pandemic, I’ve got into self-care at home as none of the salons were open, and buying all these skincare products I found pure hyaluronic acid is the best.
You are also an entrepreneur. How did you end up launching a workout top called Staefit?
Well, over the years I had 4 kids and my boobs were not the same. As you know, fitness plays a huge part in my life but I used to gather a lot of sweat under the bust line getting rashes. I thought it was time to tackle those issues women with bigger busts may have while working out. The StaeFit top is the only front-fastening workout top with a built-in bra on the market, made with ultra-absorbent materials, designed to draw away trapped moisture from the body post gym workouts. There was nothing available at that time, so I produced a very small unit amount and I went onto the Ideal Shopping Channel to sell it. I went through different fabrics in China and learned everything there was to know about how to wicker waist sweat and all the different materials that would make it work. It was funny because I’m not really into the fashion world but I just thought: you know, obviously all the people following me are around my age might have the same problems I have and so I thought let’s give it a go. So, it’s still being sold, whatever products we have left and I thought at some point I’d build a branch from it so it’s still on the back burner but it’s something I’m very passionate about.
I guess launching this kind of new business wasn’t that obvious…
You know, it’s really just finding the right network of people. That’s why I think age and experience are actually an advantage: over the years, you have established a network of friendships and family that can help you a lot. Never be shy about that because you never know, what comes around goes around. I’m the first person to help someone else if anyone ever needed any support or help. I’m right there, I really do believe that a good circle of friends is your first go to in anything in life. I think people innately want to be in your cheering section. Really good friends are like that. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there are a lot of people who are like: “What is she doing?” Research is important, too. I made a lot of mistakes along the way but that’s how you learn, right? It was a kind of process for me: the creative side was what I enjoyed the most, as manufacturing and selling are not really my forte.
Your latest single ‘FLIPSIDE’ has been released last December, can you tell us a little bit about the single? It has 80ish vibes. Am I wrong?
It’s the theme song for my television show. Something I wrote with one of my long time collaborators before I even got the TV show. You know, I was inspired by a lot of 80s music as I grew up in those years. In the beginning, they were going to use a stock record for the opening but I said: would you mind maybe using something like this? And they loved it. Anyway, a long story short, we didn’t even do any promo for it, it was just organic, people were calling in saying: what is this song? Is it an 80’s song? Who wrote this song? It became number one on the digital airplay charts just a couple of weeks ago and we’re now launching an acoustic version of it, which will be my first ever release of that kind. The song was written deliberately about taking risks, taking chances and doing what you love to do as it’s never too late to live your dreams. So, yes it all circles back.
Finally, what would you suggest to a woman who wanted to launch their music career at a later stage in their life?
It’s difficult, I’m not going to lie: for every two steps forward, you take a step back. That’s like my mantra: always be prepared for rejection because there will be. Any door that opens, go in it because you know, once you are over that certain hump of being like my age, you realise that windows shutting right; it’s not as wide open as it was when you were in your 20s. But you never know. Just go in, give it your best and see what happens. You may end up making music, designing a sports bra, writing a book (“How Snoop Dogg Made Me A Better Mom” set to be released imminently), and landing a television series.
What else is in store for Stacey Jackson?
You know, the world is my oyster. I love the presenting, I love entertaining, I do a regular radio show in Liverpool. If I could help anyone be their best self, if I can inspire any other woman or guy to have the confidence to go out and just live their best life then, then I’ve done my job.
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