Alex Broad reports on the sudden death of recording engineer, keyboard player and producer ANDREW JACKSON
On 24th February 2018, American record producer, sound engineer and keyboard player Andrew Jackson - who played a behind-the-scenes role for a number of classic modern worship albums by such artists as Jesus Culture, Matt Redman, Bethel Music, Kari Jobe and Michael W Smith - died. He was only 29 years old. Andrew had flown to the UK where he was going to produce a live album at King's Cross Church, London by their worship team KXC. But a heart attack during the flight to the UK cut short Andrew's plans. A live video stream of Andrew Jackson's Celebration of Life church service was subsequently shown on YouTube in March. During the celebration, tracks on which Andrew worked were played, including songs from Bethel Music's 'Without Words' and Matt Redman's 'Glory Song'.
The celebration of Andrew's life gave those in attendance and those YouTube watchers glimpses into the recording technician's life. How he became an intern at a recording studio owned by his soon to become close friend and boss, Jeremy Edwardson. Said Edwardson, "Andrew was really unique when it came to the music because he was just as much emotionally attached to the music as he was excited by the science behind it. So he would be very moved when he was recording a string section playing a beautiful melody and then he would be equally as stoked about getting a soldering iron and repairing cables."
Andrew had a close relationship with his brother and two sisters. One of his sisters, Rachel Jackson, spoke at the memorial: "I realise that most of you in the room have never seen us all together, which is kind of funny because of how close we are knit at the heart. Many people throughout the last couple of weeks have just been surprised at how far apart we live but how close we are. It was so evident as people were traipsing through our house, supporting and loving our family in the last weeks, honestly we are really darn good at being close. My siblings are some of the best things in my life and I'm speaking on behalf of all four of us. I often say if more people had great siblings in their lives there would be less people in jail."
The song "One Day" was played as a tribute to Andrew at the memorial. This was a song that he worked on with Matt Redman. At the service Andrew's father Alan Jackson spoke about how much that song meant to him and his family. "For us 'One Day' means there will be no more tears, no more shame, no more mourning, no more grief, he'll be in Heaven, and right now I am sure that Andrew is dialled in with the heavenly band playing some fabulous instrument, singing his heart out, worshipping God and we are so happy that he is in a much much better place. We miss him terribly but we will see him. That is the hope that we have."
Although Andrew died before he got the chance to produce KXC's new album, the team decided that they wanted to complete the project in his honour. So the album 'All Things New' was released in July. Pete Hughes, the leader of King's Cross Church, said, "I hope this album enables people to know that whatever they're going through, God is with them, God is good, and his love for them will endure forever." The album was recorded live at Scala King's Cross as it was originally planned to be and Andrew's family flew over to London to be present for the event.
Andrew was a hugely skilled recording engineer. By 2015, he was engineering and contributing keyboards to such projects as Derek Johnson's 'Real Love', Kristene DiMarco's 'Mighty' and John Mark McMillan's 'Live At The Knight', while the following year he was working on Jesus Culture's 'Let It Echo: Unplugged' and engineering Bryan & Katie Torwalt's 'Champion'. 2017 saw him engineering and playing keyboards on Kari Jobe's 'The Garden', Kim Walker Smith's 'On My Side' and Jesus Culture's 'Love Has A Name'. Andrew's father said at the memorial, "Most people like their work, some of us really are fortunate to love our work. Andrew loved his job, he loved music and he loved his boss. I don't know anybody on Earth that I have ever met that loved his boss more than Andrew loved his boss. And I thank God that Andrew had a job he loved."The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.