Not everyone’s musically gifted, but just about anyone can hum along to a song or clap with the beat. Kor’ee Jackson is different. When he hears a song, or even someone hum, he can play the tune on his violin.
Jackson, sophomore, has been playing music since fifth grade in order to escape the chaos of his tough Louisville neighborhood growing up. He said he lived a life of fear, always wondering if he would die just by stepping outside to check the mail.
“I grew up on Third Street. Every other day I would see either fights, drug sells, or murders all in the front of my house,” Jackson said. “I hated it, but it became very normal to me. I had to grow up quick living on this side of Louisville.”
He started playing the piano while in elementary school, then eventually taught himself how to play the drums and trumpet, and eventually violin.
“I was in the 7th grade when I started playing the violin. I actually taught myself how to play it,” Jackson said. “I was a student with a 3.7 GPA. I was into things like music, and I am the first in my family to be able to graduate high school. So, when it came to things such as homework or music I had to teach myself.”
Jackson’s love for music was so intense that he began to sample some of his favorite songs on his violin. He could mimic the instrumental versions after hearing a song just once.
“I love music and I love listening to music,” Jackson said. “What I do is I will turn off lights and outside sounds, and I will blindfold myself. I will pay a song, and once I pick up on the beat and melody I will begin to mock the sound with my violin. It usually takes me like 5 to 10 minutes of listening to a song before I am able to play it back on my violin.”
Jackson is a former EKU football player, and most of his friends have no idea about his musical ability. His first performance on campus wasn’t until the 2016 EKU Step Show, when the whole campus saw what he could do with his violin.
“Only a few people outside of my family know I can play the violin and mimic instrumentals of songs with it,” Jackson said.
Jackson said he never performed in public before because he didn’t want to try to make money with his music.
“I already know that once I show people or tell people what I can do everyone will want me to do this event for them or play at this function for them, and I don’t like that at all.”
Junior Tyeisha Johnson witnessed Jackson’s talent at the Step Show performance. Like others, she had no idea he was a musician.
“I have seen him around campus and I knew he used to play football, so when he got up on stage with a violin I thought it was a joke until he played that song and it was perfect,” Johnson said. “Even though it was the instrumental I was able to sing along to what he was playing.”
During the intermission act, Jackson played the instrumental version of Alicia Keys’ No One and the crowd sang along as he played it with his violin.
“As soon as he started playing the song on his violin, I automatically knew what song it was,” said senior Nakia Marrow. “I was completely shocked. Honestly, this was the best part of the whole step show. I always seen him on campus, but I would’ve never though he had this type of talent or he could do that with a violin.”
Jackson said he’s still timid about public performances, as he doesn’t want to sell what him him.
“I chose to keep this to myself because this is something I love doing,” Jackson said. “Because it’s what makes me unique.”