Maurice Jackson Bio
The Singer, the Minister, and His Music
If the age-old adage is true “great musicians are born, not made;” then Maurice Jackson certainly fits the description. His lifelong history of more than fifty years in the music business reads like something out of a fictional storybook. At the age of nine, Maurice saw singer, Jerry Butler performing at the Regal Theater in Chicago and proclaimed then and there that he wanted to be like, and sing like Jerry Butler. Being blessed with a unique voice, vocal range, and the ability to play the piano by ear; he was well in sync to the path that led to his unique history as a musician, singer, and songwriter.
First, when he was in his early teens, his Mother became keenly aware of his musical talents and sent him to the University of Chicago Music Conservatory to hone and polish his vocal skills.
Secondly, Maurice sang at Lilydale, his father’s Church, and so as it goes his sisters and brothers and the church fell in love with his vocal presence, and singing style. With his voice ringing loud and clear, he touched the hearts and souls of church members who exclaimed: ‘We just love hearing you sing;” wondering more often, how did such a young man get such a ‘big beautiful voice?’ Maurice became unstoppable in recognizing his own musical talent, and as a teenager entered every school talent contest — inwardly knowing he ‘would win” the competition. That early winning attitude and spirit led to him being offered a major record contract that his parents frowned upon, and would not let him sign because they did not want him to sing secular music.
As a young adult, in his early twenties, Maurice moved to Reno, Nevada, and found himself entering yet another singing contest that he just happened to learn about his first day exploring his new city. Fearless as always, he took to the stage and sang. After his performance, there was nothing done, or nothing said by the sponsors of the contest so Maurice didn’t know who won; and yet two weeks later, he was called and told that ‘he won’ the contest. So, was there an angel sitting on his shoulder pushing his talent forward? The song he sang that day that made him the winner of the contest was: ‘100 Pounds of Clay’. After being informed that he won the contest, he further learned that the contest was actually an audition for a television program called Break Out. From then on, it was game on in Reno, Nevada. The television show, Break Out, gave Maurice broad exposure for his stage persona, singing talent, and a platform where his musical genius would be seen and heard. He formed his own band and named his new group, Maurice and the Mark IV. A white band with a black singer out front leading the way was a unique feature at that time and welcomed by audiences in Reno, Nevada. This young man, who said to himself I’m going to be famous like Jerry Butler, was on his way. Maurice and the Mark IV band later changed their name to the Citations so the shorter name would fit venue marquees. The dynamic group was widely sought after performing for over five years in Reno, Nevada, and booked performances as far away as Anchorage, Alaska.
Still growing his artistry by writing and composing his own music, Maurice yearned to make his first recording. That wish came true in 1969 when Maurice, still in his early twenties, moved back to his hometown of Chicago, Illinois where he recorded his first song: “At Last True Love Comes My Way” which he recorded for the Checkmates. The song was played in wide rotation by popular Chicago radio disc jockey, E. Rodney Jones.
Maurice’s inimitable warm vocal style mesmerized listeners and struck a chord with music promoter, Eddie Thomas who recruited Maurice to sing the song Lucky Fellow arranged by Donnie Hathaway. Lucky Fellow was placed on the Lakeside Record label and Lakeside Records along with promoter, Eddie Thomas, obtained national radio airplay for the song.
The wide airplay momentum spiraled Lucky Fellow by Maurice Jackson to a radio hit show-stopper. The promoter, Eddie Thomas, arranged next to get Maurice featured on Soul Train. In the ’70s, Soul Train was a ticket to stardom for musical artists to showcase their talents. Maurice’s appearance on Soul Train singing Lucky Fellow really did make him a Lucky Fellow. His lyrical style and unique voice were seen and heard all across the U.S. beaming a bright light for him all the way to the United Kingdom. To this day record promoters in the UK still play Lucky Fellow and continue to reach out to Maurice letting him know they still love the song and the man behind the vocals who gave them Lucky Fellow. So, that was the beginning history of the man and his music before he was approached during one of his Chicago night club performances to join with some other independent singers as a lead performer for a unique group in the making. Singing independently on their own in night clubs, singers Helen Curry and Maurice Jackson combined their talents with singers, Chuck Jackson, and Eric Thomas, and their new group was born. Since each singer was independently talented with songwriting skills, harmonizing, and unique singing style their team became known as the Independents. The team was headed for swift stardom under the tutelage of music producer and promoter, Eddie Thomas. Maurice worked closely with Thomas keeping the group focused on polishing their dance steps, and early morning rehearsals before every new stage performance-enhancing the group’s signature style. It wasn’t long before the Independents made their appearance on Soul Train growing their fan base. Amazingly, every single song they recorded reached the top ten on Billboard’s R & B Charts in the early 70’s. This was a rarity, but their music fans fell in love with their look and their sound. Maurice’s hit song, Lucky Fellow, was placed on the group’s second album
Self-titled: “The Independents.” Baby Boomers still relish the old songs of the Independents that they sang and danced to: “The First Time We Met;” “Couldn’t Hear Nobody Say It,” “Baby I Been Missing You,” “I Found Love On A Rainy Day,” “I love You Yes I Do,” “No Wind No Rain,” and “Leaving Me!” “Leaving Me” became certified Gold for the group.
The swift path of the Independents dissipated when Maurice Jackson left the group
to go into the ministry. Many questioned his decision to leave the Independents, but he felt he had a greater calling. After leaving the group his music took an entirely different turn when after producing his new group, “Maurice.” Songs he became drawn to write and produce were Gospel and Inspirational. His worldwide travels had revealed to him that many people were looking for consolation and inspiration. It automatically became second nature for him to write inspirational songs that could reach both the Christian community and mainstream music listeners who wanted to be uplifted and restored with healing words and consoling music. Further pursuing his call to the ministry, Maurice, studied theology and founded his own church ministering to people in Chicago for over fourteen years; where he was also able to support a Christian school for elementary students and a prison ministry. His educational ministry and his prison ministry meant weekly devotion that led to salvation for hundreds of people. He says some of his proudest moments were seeing students in the Christian school move on with a solid foundation for a better and brighter future. It was his opportunity to pay it forward; and he did so by often pulling funds from his own accounts in times of need to keep his ministry going.
Maurice’s love for the ministry and revelations over the years brought him full circle where it became important to release his album: “HE.” Maurice had written and produced over eleven songs on the “HE” album over twenty years prior. Many of the songs on the album received wide acclaim with people revealing they could not make it through the day, and times of personal crisis, without hearing songs on the album like: “It’s Alright … “God will make a way out of no way!” The “HE” song itself is a reminder to people that God is real, and “HE” is everywhere. Maurice recalled the hours, days and weeks spent in the studio with vocalists and musicians to polish each and every song on the “HE” Album. He said that the encouragement and inspiration the album brings is timeless. With the overwhelming feedback received, he realized that the “HE” Album is as relevant as much today as it was twenty years ago. God’s time is no mystery, and Reverend Maurice believes all prior paths led him to his current release of the “HE” Album for the edification of all of God’s Children. He now feels that the album will further his song ministry by reaching people at a time when so many need hope, renewal, and to reaffirm their belief and understanding in knowing that God cares. God's power can always be a living force in the lives of people because “HE,” God created heaven and earth, and because “HE” is our Creator. As the song lyrics remind us: “HE” can turn the tide and calm the angry seas … “HE” alone decides who writes the symphony!” So, how amazing is it that life is a symphony, and the sincerity of the vocals, the music, and the background vocals in this album written and produced by Reverend Maurice Jackson can touch and inspire people across the world regardless of religious gender. The genre of the “HE” Album has been deemed both Gospel and Inspirational because it gives the listener renewed feelings of hope, inspiration, and love that makes everyone want to sing, and dance, and give God the glory. The beautiful “HE” Album is one of the very best works of Maurice Jackson, with the man, the minister, and his music delivering unique messages of atonement, and salvation to people who want to be uplifted, inspired, and reminded that God is real.