Jack Tracy is a recording artist who recently released part one of his second studio album, “FOR YOU,” through the label, Necessary Outlet. Recorded at Redbird Studios in New York City and mixed by Grammy nominated sound engineer Brent Kolatalo, “FOR YOU” features bold sound and up-tempo, dance-centric songs that display Jack’s unabashed love for life. Jack recently discussed the album via an exclusive interview.
Meagan Meehan (MM): How did you discover your love for singing and how did that evolve into a love of dance music?
Jack Tracy (JT): I have always loved dance music. I grew up on Janet Jackson and took dance lessons from second grade through college, and continue to drop into classes here and there. I was a musical theater major as well, so I love a real production number. When the music and the lyrics fit with a well-crafted visual presentation and intricate choreography, that’s just heaven for me. I love watching it, I love being part of it.
MM: Is your love for Janet the reason you titled your new album, “For You?”
JT: Even though I am a massive Janet fan — her records hang throughout my new home and the choreography to every one of her routines is taking up space in my brain that must be needed for something vital — I have to admit that that reference only came to me after I named the album! It must have been a subconscious motivation, for sure. The conscious motivation is really a triple meaning. First, the songs are LGBTQ in their content, so LGBTQ community, this album is “For You”. Second, as a follow-up to my previous album which was much more focused on recreating styles of songs I liked growing up, this album is far more current in its sound. So, while my first album, “Older”, was for me, this one is “For You”. And third, the title track is a ballad sung to my childhood self, thanking him for hanging on through all the twists and turns of his life. As I sing to him, “I know the world, it tore you apart, and the only thing you knew how to do was lock the hurt inside your heart. Now I can put that in a song ‘For You’.”
MM: Is your recent break-up reflected in any of your songs?
JT: Not the songs on part one…but I’ve got two albums worth of new material on deck for next year that I’ve already started recording, plus two movies and a web series so stay tuned for all of that. As someone who wrote three seasons of a web series about a prior break-up (“History” is now streaming on the Necessary Outlet’s YouTube channel), I definitely know how to turn heartache into art. I thought I was traumatized by the break-up that “History” is based on, but this recent break-up basically said, “hold my beer.”
MM: What prompted you to break up the “For You” album into three parts?
JT: Self-awareness of my current standing in music which is, quite frankly, barely on the map. People who see me, especially live, tend to like what I do, but without a machine behind me helping push my material, I needed to find a way to get several bites at the apple each year. So not only did I break-it up into three parts to be able to go back every few months with new material, but each song also has its own music video. I’m just about finished with the second set and while I loved the videos in the first set, these new four might be my favorite ones. I’m becoming an FX pro at this point.
MM: What has been the reaction to the first four songs on the album from fans in the downtown NYC clubs where you have performed them?
JT: Above all, I know I can turn a party. That is certainly my greatest strength as a musician. Other people may have better producers or vocals from the heavens, but I can put on a show. The audiences are usually very into it and many people come up afterwards to talk to me and the dance team. And boy do they slip into my DMs. Ha! But for me the true test is what the team at the club and the drag act think, because they see everyone. So, if they like you, if they think you are doing a good job, then that’s the best sign. You can have good audiences and bad audiences the real barometer are your peers. And so far, the teams I’ve been able to work with have been incredibly positive and supportive. Shout out to my friends at The Monster and Club Cumming in NYC.
MM: Are your shows elaborate spectacles or low-key performances?
JT: The shows I’m doing right now are definitely elaborate for a non-drag club act. Costumes, intricate routines, and usually some audio/video elements. My goal for next year, however, is to actually produce my own event to feature LGBTQ artists in order to give myself, and others, the opportunity to put on a more elaborate show. Hopefully I’ll be back to talk to you about that soon.
MM: How do you come up with the concepts for your music videos?
JT: It really all stems from the song. I grew up in the golden age of music videos, so when I’m writing a song, I’m thinking about the video at the same time. The video is an inherent part of the song for me. Even the songs on Older that don’t have videos, they do in my head, for sure. “For You,” I really wanted to make sure every video had a very different look, feel and concept. Some big dance numbers for sure, some more artistic pieces, some FX stuff, some comedy, some drama…I really wanted to show the full breadth of what I can come up with. I see most of what I’m doing right now as building a portfolio for my impending “break” that will boost me to the next level. So, I want to make that portfolio is as diverse as possible.
MM: What is the heaviest thing weighing on your mind right now?
JT: I am really wondering whether I should give up on looking for love. Let it find me, sure, but I think I’ve deprioritized something that had always been a constant part of my life. I think I may be one of those people who is actually the best version of themselves single. I think I like myself more without the influence of others. I love being me, and I’ve yet to ever find someone who hasn’t viewed the ultimate test of love as being how much of myself am I willing to give up. I’m not sure I can be in love and succeed at what I want to do. And I care about my dreams more.
MM: What’s your goal for the new year?
JT: Same goal as every year — create things that are even better than what I created the last year. Grow, learn and keep pushing. Better music, better movies, better series. I’d personally love for something to take off the way History did. I have a few ideas and I’m anxious to try them out next year. Personally, I want to return to who I was in elementary school. Those years when I was confident at being exactly who I was with no apologies. I feel like I am at the part of my story where the hero returns after being tested by the world in order to use everything he’s learned in his final battle. I’m older, wiser and pretty damn tired for sure, but still hopeful that my best years are still ahead of me. I hope to look back a year from now and laugh at how naive I was because so much has happened that I never would have imagined for myself. But in the meantime, just keep swimming!