Indie-pop singer Emily Jackson premieres “Higher” on CelebMix. The song is about what Thomas Merton referred to as the point vierge, a mystical metaphor for the door before us. The point where we each ask, “What do I want to do?”
In Jackson’s case, the answer to the question brought her back to music after a 10-year hiatus, which she took because of creative differences with her manager and label, who wanted to fashion her into the purified, molecular Queen of hip-hop. Rather than become something she had no affinity for, Jackson left to study acting at the CalArts School of Theater.
As time went by, people frequently asked Jackson why she wasn’t still singing. Later, she moved to New York, where she found herself standing in front of the mystical door. It was a “what now” moment. After to attending a Rihanna concert, she realized she wanted to sing. She wrote “Oh Mother,” released to vast acclaim.
According to Jackson, “’Higher’ was born during a pretty dark moment last spring. I found myself in stand-still with someone I was working with and felt like I had been totally taken advantage of. ‘Higher’ was created because I became basically hellbent on producing my own music so I wouldn’t have to rely on someone else to produce my art and could avoid this situation.”
“Higher” opens on emerging swirling synths flowing into a luminous pop melody full of streaming colors and Jackson’s potently captivating voice. Propelled by an austere, yet compelling rhythm, the tune wheels and soars on intense nuances of sonic pressure, and alluring harmonies.
The lyrics speak to rising from the depths to find artistic freedom, room to breathe, and love.
“Higher, higher / Till both my feet / Can touch the ground / Higher, higher / Till both my feet / Are firmly planted on the ground.”
“Higher” is excellent, full of electrically-charged colors, penetrating energy, and the sumptuously irresistible tones of Emily Jackson.