Randy Jackson


Randy Jackson smiling while wearing a suit

Although best known as a judge on the Fox television vocal competition American Idol, Randy Jackson is also a longtime bassist, producer, and music industry executive.

Born Randall Darius Jackson in Baton Rouge, LA, in 1956, Jackson began playing bass around age 13. Early in his career Jackson nabbed work with a variety of jazz, R&B, and soul artists, including stints with fusion violinist Jean-Luc Ponty and drummer Billy Cobham; however, his most high-profile gig was with the rock band Journey, with whom he toured and recorded from 1983 to 1986. Since that time Jackson has either performed, recorded, or produced with a wide array of name artists, including Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Michael Bolton, Celine Dion, Madonna, and many others.

As well as being a working musician, Jackson has worked in the corporate end of the industry, with eight years as Vice President of A&R at Columbia Records and four years as Senior Vice President of A&R at MCA Records. In 2002 Jackson appeared as one of three judges on American Idol, along with record executive/producer Simon Cowell and performer Paula Abdul. The show was an immediate success and Jackson’s habit of calling contestants “dawg” soon became his trademark.

Besides appearing on American Idol, Jackson also hosts a syndicated radio show for Westwood One called Randy Jackson’s Hit List and continues to work behind the scenes managing, recording, and producing. In 2008 Jackson released the solo album Randy Jackson’s Music Club, which featured a single sung by fellow American Idol judge, Paula Abdul.