If you haven’t yet listened to ‘I Will March For You’, by Australian singer songwriter Jake Jackson then I recommend you do. It is a beautiful song backed by 18 members of the Australian Girls’ Choir and heartfelt lyrics inspired by his father who passed away when Jake was just two years old.
“My father served in the Australian Army in New Guinea, in Africa and Egypt and I have developed the habit of marching in the Anzac Day parade for him every year. I’m a singer songwriter; I have been all my life. I was finally moved to do a song about exactly that and about him and this is what came out. It’s a strong song. Everybody seems to identify with it. It’s a great song to play live, especially if you can get a decent introduction onto it, [then] people know what it’s about, rather than having to work it out. If they understand what it’s about then they usually take it straight through the heart, which is always rewarding as a writer.”
Naturally the choir can’t always perform live with Jake but this doesn’t take too much beauty away from the song. “I often work with a vocalist and obviously you can’t emulate the beautiful sound of the choir. It’s nice with just a single voice too, it works well. The choir certainly adds to it. It certainly makes it sound anthem like. What’s amazing is how youthful they sound. They were youthful [but] I couldn’t believe how obvious their age group was when you listen to the recording. It was a surprise to me. In the studio they sounded older. The technical ability of the girls was frightening. Some of the parts they recorded without the backing track. The musical director would have the backing track in her headphones and the girls were singing completely in tune. It was very impressive; they have a huge talent.”
It is an inspiring song that Jake has written from the heart about his family. “My family, like I suppose most Australian families, is dotted with people who have served in different campaigns and it doesn’t matter where you are from. For example our friends from Vietnam have a million relatives etc. who have been lost in different campaigns. My family has a history of people who have served. It’s inspiring to see what they have done.”
“It’s not, necessarily, particularly focussed at the guys who did that campaign or the guys who did this campaign. It’s just an ode to all those who went out and served for their country This time of the year is when we all stop and reflect. It certainly sits well with the national conscience at the moment. It’s amazing how the movement has just got so big.”
Jake’s father didn’t actually die at war. He was a survivor of the New Guinea campaign but contracted malaria four times. “The New Guinea campaign was a very tough, hard campaign. Like I said, my father had malaria four times. It really knocked him around for the rest of his life. It wasn’t so easy to get rid of and once you had it, it kept reoccurring. They say most of the killing up there was done within a metre and a half, which I just find horrific. If you think just about that statistic, most of the killing done within a metre and a half, which means it was all basically people hiding in the jungle, people jumping out of the jungle. Just not very nice!”
Jake has been having fun in the studio recording his second album. It’s an album with a country urban feel which will probably be ready for release at the end of the year but for now he is having a break from recording and focussing on promoting ‘I Will March For You’ “This is the absolute focus of what I have been doing for a while.” With the 100th anniversary of the Anzac Campaign this month, Jake is expecting to be very busy promoting this song during April and will return to the studio next month. He has had many offers to perform the song, although ideally he would prefer to perform a whole set. “I’m happy to do whatever. It’s not about your own ambitions or ego; it’s simply about getting the song out there and enjoying the song.”
The song is getting national recognition which Jake, as a Melbourne based musician, is finding very exciting.
You can hear the song at www.jakejackson.com.au
by Suzanne Bunker
Copyright © Suzanne Bunker 2015. All rights reserved