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Go away with ... Tikyra Jackson

A founding member of Southern Avenue, which was nominated for a 2019 Grammy for their album “Keep On,” Tikyra Jackson is stepping out from behind her drum kit to promote her solo single, “No More Fear.” Inspired by the worldwide protests to denounce George Floyd’s death, Jackson went all out on the track, playing the instruments herself and singing lead vocals. An avid traveler, she says her career has taken her to so many wonderful places. “I was 19 years old when I began touring with Southern Avenue and our journey together has led us to the most serene, beautiful destinations,” says Jackson, 25. “It’s about a 15-hour drive from Memphis to the mountains and the bluest skies I’ve ever seen in Colorado. It has become my favorite place on Earth.” Fans may follow her on Instagram and Twitter (username @TikyraDrums) and Facebook.

Q: Where did you go for your first childhood trip?

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A: When I was in sixth grade, my family of eight took a road trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando. I had a blast as we sang every theme song, gospel song and commercial jingle we could think of for the entire 10-hour drive. There was more pizza than I could digest, the rules seemed to bend a lot easier and every park we went to felt like the adventure of a lifetime. Getting to play with my band Southern Avenue at the Eat to the Beat Festival last year at Epcot Center was a childhood fantasy come true! I never thought we’d be headlining a festival inside the Disney World grounds. The happiest place on Earth indeed! When I decide to have a family of my own, I will be sure to stuff them in the van and drag them around the country every summer, if they let me.

Q: What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from your travels?

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A: That health is the most important. That means mental, emotional, physical and anything under the sun that involves your well-being. It’s important to keep moving and not stay stagnant in things that don’t benefit you or give you purpose. Life is more about shedding and evolving, finding that flow of energy within the world and connecting to it.

Q: Pick one: food cart or fine dining?

A: It would definitely be at a food truck or even small cafes. At some point in my life, I tried going vegan. Australia seemed to be on the trend with every store and just about every restaurant offering the most scrumptious vegan entrees.

Q: Where would you like to travel to one day?

A: Africa. Denpasar, Bali. Tokyo is also on the list. I’ve always fixated on their trends and cuisines. In general, I love seeing how the geography shapes people and cultures around the world, especially when it comes to music and food.

Q: Have you spent any holidays or birthdays overseas?

A: On my 24th birthday, we happened to be on tour in Barcelona, Spain. Mornings were filled with sun and three-hour drives through small towns that decorated the grassy valleys. Madrid was even more beautiful, bursting with painted-stone pathways, aromas of fresh bread and various cuisines from the restaurants. At night, soft melodies accompanied by Spanish guitar permeated the streets like lullabies.

Q: What are your travel essentials?

Musician Tikyra Jackson recommends hiking Colorado’s Deer Mountain Trail. (Tierinii Jackson Naftaly - Roselily Images)
Musician Tikyra Jackson recommends hiking Colorado’s Deer Mountain Trail. (Tierinii Jackson Naftaly - Roselily Images)

A: When it comes time to tour, I always bring my essentials like my MacBook, iPhone and hard drives. I also like a neck pillow and extra-large gray plush blanket and a few of my favorite pins from various festivals that I wear on my blue jean jacket. Sometimes I come home with more than I had when I left. I always make sure all my drums and bandmates are accounted for. This may come as a surprise, but we have forgotten some of both in the past!

Q: What guilty pleasures do you indulge in on the road?

A: Walking around cities and towns for miles just to explore and absorb the scenery, the scents and the culture of the people there. When it comes down to hours in the van, I always get sucked into the Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) videos on YouTube. Zach Choi is one of my favorite content makers when it comes to ASMR. One day I found a video on Facebook of a woman eating a pickle over the headphone microphones and I just found it very satisfying. Little did I know there would be a world of these videos on YouTube for me to obsess over. I also love writing music on my acoustic guitar. The drives always provide fresh inspiration with every mile. I think that if the road itself had a soundtrack it would include some indie, funk, blues and R&B. I love creating playlists for the drives. It’s my favorite way of discovering new music.

Jae-Ha Kim is a New York Times bestselling author and travel writer. You can respond to this column by visiting her website. You may also follow “Go Away With...” on Twitter at @GoAwayWithJae where Jae-Ha Kim welcomes your questions and comments.

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(C) 2020 Jae-Ha Kim

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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