Featured image by Michelle G. Gonzales
One of Hollywood’s most promising young talents is on the horizon, and his name is Armani Jackson. Though some might recognize the 19-year-old actor from his role in 2014 horror/comedy ‘Cooties,’ or his latest gig — starring as protagonist Everett Lang in Paramount+ series ‘Wolf Pack,’ Armani also happens to be a budding artist who is actively making a name for himself in the music industry.
Impressively enough, the Wisconsin native takes on multiple hats as an artist, both writing and co-producing his own music. These skills were truly honed at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is when he found a passion for making music. “The pandemic made me realize I wanted to do something I could fully control which acting doesn’t always allow,” Armani tells Pop Crave.
That control over his craft can be heard in past singles “Roll With Us,” “She Wont Stop,” and “Almost Perfect,” all of which paint a clear picture of who Armani Jackson is as an artist, as well as the stories he aspires to tell with his music. In his latest release, the alternative pop/rock headbanger “Drain,” Armani continues his story, this time confronting the thought of emotionally draining someone you love. “I wrote ‘Drain’ about being in a dark place and not wanting to bring someone down with you. The mental battle that comes with that is hard and I hope people can relate to that,” explains Jackson.
Pop Crave caught up with Armani to discuss his new single, “Drain,” starring in Paramount+ series, ‘Wolf Pack,’ co-founding his own mental health non-profit, and more. Keep reading for the full interview, and make sure to stream his new single, “Drain,” out now!
Hey Armani, congrats on your new single, “Drain.” What is the track about, and what made you want to release it as your next single?
Thank you! I wrote “Drain” about being in a dark place and not wanting to bring someone down with you. The mental battle that comes with that is hard and I hope people can relate to that. I originally was going to release another single of mine that I recorded much earlier than “Drain,” but something told me to get it out now because I think it’s such a strong song.
How would you describe your style as an artist to new listeners?
I often find it hard to describe my music style because it goes way up and then way back down as far as sound and emotion, but I’d say I’m somewhere in the alternative, indie pop/rock area right now.
Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
Recently I’ve been really into artists like Tom the Mailman, Glaive, Oliver Tree & Chase Atlantic. The list could go on forever, honestly.
Can fans expect a music video for the track?
You can definitely expect a Visualizer/Music Video for “Drain” on the day of release, February 17th! It’s shot by my good friend Janush Libicki and really captures what I had in mind for the song.
Will “Drain” be part of a larger body of work, or do you plan to stick with single releases for now?
I have been thinking about releasing an EP or an album, considering how many cohesive unreleased songs I have been sitting on. I want to see how it goes with frequently releasing singles first and depending on the success, a larger body of work is most definitely on the horizon.
You’ve written all of your past singles, including “Roll With Us,” “She Wont Stop,” and “Almost Perfect.” When did you discover a passion for writing music?
I didn’t discover my passion for music until just about 2 years ago. The pandemic made me realize I wanted to do something I could fully control which acting doesn’t always allow. I started writing in my bedroom and messing with Pro Tools and Logic, and eventually found Josh Collins & Ryan Gladieux, a producing duo that called themselves “The Morgue.” They are now like best friends to me. We collectively understand what I’m going for as far as sound and brand, so working with them has been a blast.
You are also currently starring as the lead, Everett Lang, in Paramount+ series, ‘Wolf Pack.’ The show is incredible, by the way! What attracted you to the project?
Filming ‘Wolf Pack’ has been an absolute treat. It’s the exact type of project I’ve wanted to be a part of for a long time now. When I got the breakdown on the project, I immediately connected to the story and the character Everett. I tried my best to make a great, authentic tape because I really wanted this one, so receiving that final call that I had the role was a dream come true.
You’ve gotten to work with the iconic Sarah Michelle Gellar, who both stars in and executive produces the series. What has been the biggest piece of advice she’s given you as a young actor in the industry?
Sarah is a really important person to the cast because of how much she understands being in a position like us. I’d say the biggest piece of advice that Sarah gave me while filming was that just because you’re a younger actor surrounded by adults, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get to be heard at all times.
You are co-founder of Beautiful Minds 999, a non-profit organization dedicated to “the education of holistic modalities for mental health, drug addiction and suicide prevention.”
I think it is so cool to see you and your family lead an organization like this, especially after watching the challenges your character Everett faces in ‘Wolf Pack.’ What does Beautiful Minds 999 mean to you, and how do you hope to make an impact on those who suffer with mental health issues?
Yes! Starting a non-profit was something my family has wanted to do for a while, so starting Beautiful Minds 999 was a blessing. We recently partnered with Social Impact Fund, who works in partnership with entertainers that have foundations to handle the business side, and the donations go straight to them. I hope to bring more education on holistic methods for dealing with mental health issues and create a safe space for those conversations that need to be had. Playing a character that deals with a fair amount of anxiety and mental health issues has only made it easier and more obvious that this is something I want to do.
What are some of your biggest aspirations for the new year and beyond? (I read that you’re itching to play Miles Morales in a Marvel movie. Let’s get the campaign started!)
I want to grow my brand and release a ton of music by the end of this year! And yes, playing Miles Morales in a live-action would be a great next acting project to say the least, and I really think I could pull it off. Very optimistic of course, but nothing is impossible.
Armani Jackson’s new single, Drain, is out now on all platforms.