Most heartbreakers would be banished to the "Do Not Disturb" abyss, but Trevor Jackson has broken a heart (or two) for good reason.
It's no surprise the 21-year-old Grown-ish star has a few love lessons under his belt. Similar to his on-screen character, he's attractive, smart, and can crack a joke with the best of 'em—a catch by any millennial's standards. Still, like the rest of us, it's not easy navigating the uncertain waters of situationships and swiping right. But what the multi-hyphenate artist (singer/actor/dancer) does know about the emotion, he puts it on wax.
Jackson recently released Rough Drafts Pt. 1, a colorful 15-track LP, on which he sings, raps and displays his self-taught guitar skills about lust, loving the girl who tolerates his faults, and dealing with the ultra-exposed world of fame. Inspired in part by Prince, the project, housed under his Born Art/Empire imprint, explores Jackson's rock, country, trap, and Caribbean influences; a mesh of sounds that doesn't exactly follow a specific concept like other LPs, which Trevor prefers. "There's not one song that everyone likes," he says. "People are really gravitating toward the entire project. It goes to show that every song has its own kinda feel."
Despite being jet-lagged from traipsing the country for Justine Skye's ULTRAVIOLET tour, a press tour, and readying the release of Director X-helmed remake, Superfly, the triple threat is alert and candid about his heartbreak, how God's love steers his life path, and most importantly what's next for his career.
xoNecole: The finale and second to last episode of Grown-ish was a big deal. We got to see Zoey (Yara Shahidi) choose between Aaron and Luca, and these are two guys with very different approaches to a relationship with her. How similar are you to Aaron and how he pulled up on Zoey?
Trevor Jackson: I'd say the communication is similar. You can never really act as if you're with someone until you have that conversation. It has to be verbal so that there's no guessing. Communication is key. And the way that Aaron does it, I definitely agree with. If there's ever a moment in my life where I feel that way about someone, I have to tell them, especially if I want to be with them.
"Communication is key... If there's ever a moment in my life where I feel that way about someone, I have to tell them."
Right. Just be upfront about it. What were your thoughts about the season as a whole and the reception you all got?
I was overwhelmed in a great way. Obviously shooting it, I knew it would be amazing but just being able to see the response and the relatability that the show has, the concepts, the stories that we're telling are very poignant and on-the-nose for this day and age, and that's crazy to be a part of.
It definitely seems like a show in 10 or 15 years that people will look back and acknowledge that this was a great snapshot of life as a young 20-something or late teen in America.
Yeah, and I feel that's needed. People want to feel not alone, and this show definitely brings people together like, 'Oh, we all go through the same stuff.'
What are you personal thoughts on dating in this generation?
I don't know, man. I don't think there's any rule to doing it, 'cause people, especially two people and the way they interact, are so specific. One way you go about it with one person can be completely different [than with someone else]. One person can wait two months before they kiss a person — there's just no way to know. I just go off my feelings and instincts.
Do you think our generation is expecting too much from dating, as far as wanting that long-term forever love?
Anything's possible. Honestly. If you actually want to do it, it's possible.
On "Apocalypse", you reference God. Do you feel your religious beliefs inform the way you love in romantic relationships?
I guess you can say that. My relationship with God bleeds into anything I do, which is what I prefer. I never want to go into anything alone. God always knows more than me, so I tend to have Him surrounding whatever I'm doing.
Sidebar, what is your religious background? Did you grow up in the church?
I didn't grow up in church, but I started my relationship with God with I was about 14. I go to One Church now, and I love Jesus. I don't know the Bible backwards and forwards, but I've felt God before and that feeling is like no other.
OK, dope. So, on "Broken Hearted", you talk about being damaged emotionally in some ways. How have you healed from heartbreak?
I write music. I actually have a whole album called Unlovable that I already have done, and it's about that. About breaking up and not being with the person that you were with every day and you feel like a part of you is just gone.
How do you deal with breaking someone else's heart?
Well, that's the only way that my heart has been damaged is because I've broken someone else's heart. And that is not the best feeling. The reason that I did is because I felt like I had a lot of growing up to do. I didn't want to drag anybody I was with through that. It just was not the right time. I don't regret it though because it would be worse if I didn't do it.
Do you feel like heartbreak has changed you?
Oh yeah. All the way. It's just a maturity thing. Nothing's for certain. Everything that you think is for you may not be and sometimes you have to step outside of yourself and look at it from a different perspective. Once you're in love and in something, you're so in it that it seems like it's the end all be all and there's nothing else. So I kinda had to go through that, and be like, 'Wow you'll be OK.'
Sounds like it's the good kind of heartbreak. You're saving that person from some bullshit down the line.
Right. It's just hard to see that bit of it though when you're not with someone.
How would you define love?
At this point in my life, love is someone you can't live without. But you have to look at yourself and be like, "Why do I love this person?" I think you have to grow into love, there are different stages and the older you get, the more experiences you get, love can mean different things.
If you could describe your perfect relationship using a song title from Rough Drafts Pt. 1, which song would it be?
"Broken Hearted" because it's a non-judgemental love. I'm very different because I've been through a lot of life very quickly, so I'm just a little bit crazy, and that's a song about someone who loves me past all of that. They understand me. Like, 'Although you're crazy, you're wounded and you're bruised, I'm still here to love you.' So that's the love I hope to receive and the love I hope to give.
What kind of man do you hope to become, outside of your art?
I always want to be who God wants me to be, so that's first. Also, I just hope to be the best at whatever I decide to do. I want to become more patient in my life. I always try to be and do good, and my intent is always a loving spirit. And you can never become someone you're not proud of if you live like that.
Within your work, what do you hope for the future?
I want to direct an Oscar award-winning movie. Yeah, I want to start directing that's why I've been doing all my own videos recently. It's painting my picture, my brush, the way I see it. It's coming from head to the screen, which is pretty amazing. So I want to keep sharpening that tool.
"It's painting my picture, my brush, the way I see it."
For more Trevor Jackson, follow him on Instagram. Be sure to catch him in this summer's Superfly, in theaters June 15. And if you haven't already, listen to Rough Drafts, Pt. 1.
Featured image by Getty Images