Briarwood graduate orchestrates music career

Cole Jackson has been out of college for less than three months and is already making a name for himself in the music industry.

He started playing the piano at the age of 7 and said it was his home growing up.

“For me, I found some success on the piano and stuck with the music because I ran out of time to choose something else,” Jackson said.

His passion for the piano was a combination of his mother’s musical influence and his father’s love of cinema. John Williams and Hans Zimmer have been Jackson’s favorite composers since he was young, and their music fueled his love for the orchestral side of performance.

“Growing up, I loved film scores, but I didn’t know how that joy and passion would fit into today’s industry,” he said. “A lot of different genres have to go through this stage first, because we have this little space where everyone has to come to us before they can get to their final product.”

Jackson graduated from Briarwood Christian School in 2018, then attended the University of Troy, where he graduated from the music industry in May.

“Troy was unique because he majored in the music industry, which I thought was really cool because it prepares you for real work in the music industry,” Jackson said. “It was the call that drew me there.”

Jackson was in a long-distance relationship with his now fiancée, who was also dating Troy and had moved to Nashville. Each time he visited her, he accompanied her to her internship.

It was there that he met David Shipps, orchestrator, conductor and arranger. Jackson asked Shipps about the opportunity to intern for him, and Shipps accepted.

“David is one of the most successful orchestrators in town.” said Jackson. “He works on film music and a lot of arrangements too. During my time with him, I had to do a lot of different things, including attending many studio sessions of TV shows and movies being recorded.

Jackson completed his internship earlier this year, which opened up more opportunities for him. Much of his work is the fruit of relationships he has established through Shipps.

“My job is to take what the artist gives me, lay it out on paper and write for a whole orchestra. I had to reach out to gamers and session engineers to contract the whole thing out, so it was an all-encompassing project that took up a lot of my time,” he said.

In his career, Jackson has already:

► orchestrated six cues for a trailer library project recorded by Warner Chappell Music (subsidiary of Warner Brothers)

► created audio demos of over two dozen songs for the premiere of Logos Theater’s adaptation of the popular musical “The Scarlet Pimpernel”

► transcribed several charts to be orchestrated and recorded for performance on a Disney cruise line

► Orchestrated two songs as part of a collection of jazz combo orchestrations of multiple John Williams scores.

His latest project was the arrangement and production of an EP (extended play) for a musician as part of a recording session scheduled for July. He is also working on music for an upcoming Dreamworks movie and orchestrating cues for a major video game.

Jackson started his own company, Coleman Alexander Music. He does all of his work remotely from his Nashville apartment, and all of his equipment is set up in his home office. Her next big project: getting married in late 2022 or early 2023.

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