Paris Jackson is driving. The light streaks through her sunroof onto her sandy-colored hair, pulled up into a high, messy bun. Her loose-fitting top reveals a smattering of tattoos on her arms and collarbone.
Even when she greets me, she’s got two hands on the wheel and her eyes are dead set on the road ahead. The whole vibe is a little stiff, but when she reaches a brief halt in traffic, she sneaks a glance down at her Zoom screen and compliments the AC/DC T-shirt I’m wearing. I feel like I’ve passed some sort of test.
When you hear paris jackson’s name (she now uses all lowercase styling, perhaps to de-emphasize her namesake city and her famous father), you may recognize it from the nepo-baby juggernaut of recent weeks. But nepotism aside, jackson, at 24, has assembled an impressive list of job titles: actor, model, singer-songwriter. It’s the last one that holds most of her attention these days; since releasing her first album, Wilted, in 2020, jackson seems to have been glued to a guitar or microphone, whether in the recording studio, onstage while touring, relaxing during downtime, or even in photo shoots. Performance is simply second nature for her. “It’s like asking a bird why does it fly or asking a dolphin why it likes water,” she says. “This is just what I do.”
For Wilted, jackson melded somber lyrics with dreamy, soft acoustics and piano, but the EP she’s about to release with Republic Records will show a grittier side. “The writing has similar formatting; they’re still all folk songs at their core, but the production has changed quite a bit,” she explains. “I’m going for a louder sound these days — more rock and grunge and yelling.” She cites the Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, Audioslave, the Pixies, Interpol, and Bright Eyes as her biggest influences.