Young Shadrack makes his mother proud!

by Carla Dees, Special to Toronto Moon Magazine

Shadrack Jackman -Josh Dees

Shadrack Jackman -Josh Dees

Came to the Sushi House  bar, 294 College St., to see my son, Shadrack Jackman, perform.

Once I pass the bar and go through the crimson curtains I am struck by the cave-like atmosphere of the room. Quite intimate and pretty: the patrons are aglow with anticipation.

The show was opened by Brendan Philip , a young man on the verge of completing an album. Nice vibe, good voice-accompaniment by his drummer, Jamal was hot –right on point– but so LOUD that Brendan’s voice became lost. I was hoping that they would turn Brendan’s mic up to HOT!

The gift that is Shadrack Jackman is amazing; a blessing. A self-taught guitarist and natural-born singer, he has the ability to transport his audience to the heights of his awareness of music, of life, of angst; of better things yet to come with his innate knowledge of…notes.

Shadrack opened his 5 song set with a cover of Prince and the Revolution’s “When Doves Cry” –so lovely to the high register of his voice, (“Maybe I’m just like my Mother, Maybe I’m just like my father –too proud”)– and then back to his natural, making this song his own. I heard at least 3 octaves. His guitar work is delightful.

Savvy Dees (one of his many brothers and a gifted artist in his own right) is filming the show. There was spontaneous applause from the crowd. His second song choice was and original, “Orion”. Shad wrote this song at Christian Camp four years ago, he told me. It has tribal rhythms with the greatest accompaniment by Philip Szlatchta on Djemba drum –one big African percussion instrument.

“I know you can’t see Orion from where you are;
I can see light – I can see stars.” (dear boy)

“How Me Goes” came next –another original that he wrote for ‘The Re-Mix Project’ which he performed at Revival nightclub. Re-Mix is program that helps develop (incubates) creative young people that have not the finances to see their dreams through. His lilting voice and his lyrics (”down, down, down”), made tears fall from my eyes.

The third original was called “Foreigner”. This song began with Shadrack singing a capella and then his playing his guitar. Deep. (“I am a prophet on the brink of self-destruction”.) Fifth song of the set was another original. “Wild Child” –Shadrack on keys– started out with him just talking and then a changed beat and singing. This song is captivating.

Shadrack went to York U studying theatre. He has performed in numerous musical theatre productions, (he played a great Scar in “The Lion King” in a school production) as well as many other venues and continues to perform in and around Toronto (6 degrees, Kensington Market, Wrong Bar, etc.) Catch him if you can. You will feel blessed when you do.

There is something about Shadrack’s voice –the catch and the timbre, the subtlety of emotion, the nuances, the inflections– that only a birthright can give.

Would that it were that all of his brothers and sisters could one day sing together. That is a sweet dream.

Carla Dees was a long-time regular writer for to-nite magazine, as Toronto Moon was formerly known