CareerBorn in Harlem, Jackson was trained as a gospel singer from an early age, singing at the White Rock Baptist Church. There he met Paul Laurence, who would later become his record producer and songwriting partner. After completing school, Jackson joined Laurence's group LJE (Laurence Jones Ensemble) and played the New York nightclub scene. During the early 1980s, Jackson moved to the West Coast and sang lead with the R&B band 'Mystic Merlin', but soon returned to New York to work with Laurence at the Hush Productions company. He sang on demo recordings of Laurence's compositions, and also served as a backing singer for Melba Moore after she saw his nightclub act.In 1985, Jackson landed a recording contract with Capitol Records, and issued his debut album, Rock Me Tonight. The Laurence-penned title track stormed the R&B charts, spending six weeks at number one, and made Jackson an instant hit on urban contemporary radio. "You Are My Lady" gave him a second straight R&B chart-topper, and also proved to be his highest-charting single on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #12. With "He'll Never Love You (Like I Do)" and "Love Is Just a Touch Away" also hitting the R&B Top Ten, Rock Me Tonight topped the R&B album chart and went platinum. Jackson issued the follow-up Just Like the First Time 1986, on the heels of a number one R&B duet with Melba Moore, "A Little Bit More" (from her album A Lot of Love). Another platinum seller, Just Like the First Time continued Jackson's dominance of the R&B singles charts; "Tasty Love," "Have You Ever Loved Somebody," and "Jam Tonight" all hit #1, while "I Don't Want to Lose Your Love" went to #2.In August 1988, the British music magazine NME, reported that Jackson had verbally attacked George Michael in the Los Angeles Times over his black music chart success.The pace of Jackson's success slowed with the 1988 release of Don't Let Love Slip Away, which nonetheless featured another two R&B chart-toppers in "Hey Lover" and "Nice 'n' Slow." The title track of 1990's Do Me Again and "Love Me Down" duplicated that feat, and "Main Course" just missed, topping out at #2. Even so, Jackson's earlier placings in the lower reaches of the Billboard Hot 100 had long since disappeared, and some critics charged that his albums were growing too similar to one another.Seeking a new beginning, Jackson parted ways with Capitol/EMI in late 1993, and signed with RCA/BMG Records. His label debut, Here It Is, appeared the following year, with diminished commercial returns. Following a Christmas album, Jackson split with RCA and recorded Private Party for the smaller Street Life imprint of Scotti Brothers Records in 1995. Several years of silence ensued, until Orpheus issued Life After 30 in late 1999; the equally low-key release Live in Concert followed in 2000. After returning to the charts with It's Your Move in February 2004 (Martland Entertainment), Jackson released his tenth studio album, Transitions, in September 2006 on the record label Orpheus Music.At the end of 2010, Jackson released a new album on the Entertainment One Music label, entitled For You, and produced by Barry Eastmond. The album featured the single "I Don't Wanna Go".Jackson appeared as a lounge singer on The Golden Girls episode "Two Rode Together" (original air date: 2/18/1989) and sang the Disney classic "It's a Small World" to Sophia.