The thought of speaking to her forever-idol Stevie Nicks makes Paris Jackson extremely nervous. So nervous, in fact, that she almost can’t muster the courage to do it. For so long has the 20-year-old actress-model-musician admired the iconic Gold Dust woman that she is petrified of saying the wrong thing, of talking too much or too little. But Nicks puts Jackson at ease with the first syllable of her velvet voice, and the two speak about the perils of social media, the power of folk, and the necessity of finding one’s place in the music.
Stevie Nicks: Tell me who you are and what you love.
Paris Jackson: I’m very open about myself and my personality on my social media. I don’t post a lot pictures of myself, but I post a lot of pictures of the things that I love. There are a couple pictures of you on there, actually.
SN: I’m going to tell you this because it will make you laugh: I don’t have a computer, I just have a flip phone in case of a fire.
SN: I’m like your sweet old grandmother who lives down the street. I’m not on Facebook. I mean there is a Facebook [account set up], but I have absolutely nothing to do with it. I have never even been on your social media.
PJ: Honestly, the less I use my social media, the happier I am, and I’ve been using it less and less, but when I do use it I make sure to keep it very real and honest and true to myself.
SN: Right, and that’s good.
PJ: People can be really cruel online. People can be really fucked up so I try to—
SN: It’s out of my realm of understanding. And if you’ve paid attention to my life, you know that I really believe in the art of mystery. I believe that being mysterious is really great.
PJ: You’re kind of the queen of that.
SN: It’s always been my way, since I joined Fleetwood Mac in 1975. I really didn’t want people to know that much about me, except the crazy things building up to joining Fleetwood Mac that I was willing to share, but as far as my life or my boyfriends or my love affairs or my friends or any of that, I preferred to be the…forbidden queen. We all built a persona, and that was mine, and I have pretty much followed it to now. It’s still the way I run my life. Except on the flipside, I am really willing to say, well, I was a waitress, I was a cleaning lady, I supported Lindsey [Buckingham] completely. I was the sole provider for almost five years for us before we joined Fleetwood Mac, when we had no money and absolutely nothing, except our four-track Ampex that his grandmother left us money for. But I’m probably the queen of selfies because I started with Polaroids in, oh God, probably 1978. I would take my Polaroid camera on the road and set up full-on sets by myself while everyone went to bed at the hotel, and I would take these Polaroids, which I dug out for my last record, 24 Karat Gold, and used a lot of the ones that I thought would never be used. But people go, “God, you’ve been taking selfies way before us,” and I was.
PJ: It was way before they had a name for it.
SN: I have an iPhone but it [doesn’t have service]. I just use it as a camera and I have my little digital camera, but none of that will ever take the place of the Polaroid.
SN: By the way, your pictures in the magazine are stunning.
PJ: Really? You think so?
SN: I don’t think so, I know so.
PJ: Aw! That makes me so happy. I was so excited when they showed me the reference photos and they were all pictures of you. I’ve looked up to you for a very, very long time, so when they said they were going to do my hair like yours, and that I was going to wear similar clothes to yours, I was just so excited.
SN: Well they look fantastic. For me, there is nothing more fun than a photo session. We used to do photo sessions and it would go on for like three days and we’d have the best time. Go to Western Costume, rent a ton of costumes, and go for three solid days. So when I look at your photo session, I’m thinking, Wow, I hope she had as much fun doing this as I used to.
PJ: I had a blast, I had such a good time.
SN: What are you doing right now?
PJ: Right now I am working on a film about the rock and roll scene on the Sunset Strip. It takes place in 1996.
SN: There was a lot going on in L.A. in 1996.
PJ: Apart from work and the modeling, I am in a band now and we are working on our record. We thought we had enough material for an EP or an LP, but it turns out we have enough material for an album, so I think we are going to get that done by fall.
SN: What kind of music?
PJ: Probably like indie folk, a little bit of Skynyrd rock, and then we might do a cover of one of your songs, if that’s cool?
SN: Oh, you have to. I think that everybody starts out with folk music. Lindsey and I certainly did. Then you evolve out of folk and into wherever it takes you. When you listen to Bob Dylan and listen to his words and amazing lyrics and his stories like “Tangled Up in Blue,” which after listening to it 5,000 times over the last 40 years, I realized that it’s actually about a murder. I finally figured that out and thought, Wow, all of the times I listened to this song, I didn’t get that. So, folk music is really where the storytelling starts, because nobody is worried about having a big band. All you have to do is play simple guitar or have someone else play simple guitar for you. That’s all you need to get into folk music. And folk really helps you decide if you want to be more of a performance-singer or a full-on songwriter-singer—which way you want to go. It did that for Lindsey and me. We slowly worked out of that and into more of the duo we became and the duo to the band and then we were a duo within a band and then by the time we moved to Los Angeles joining Fleetwood Mac, we became an instant trio. But our initial thing really came from folk music.
PJ: I really love it. Music makes me so happy. It’s always been an outlet to express myself and get out all the things I need to get out. And then I met this guy named Gabriel, who is now my boyfriend. But before he became my boyfriend, we had this crazy connection. I’ve never made music with another person the way I’ve made it with him, I’ve never been able to sing the way I do with him, and he feels the same way. Our creations just flow and they’re so organic. It doesn’t feel like it’s human. It feels so beyond the English language to describe. I’ve never given myself the space to make music but when I met Gabriel I didn’t really have a choice. I had to face the fact that I was born to be a musician and music is the only thing that makes me feel the way that it does. When we are creating, I’ll set my phone and we will just start recording and before I know it we’ve got 30 to 45 minutes of constant music on there in one take and we are creating and free-styling and then we will go back and listen to it again and pick and choose what can be a song. It’s only been two or three months since we started creating and we have more than enough material for two albums. It’s crazy.
SN: That’s how it happens, honey. It’s a magical thing that just comes and hits you. I don’t think that you choose it, I think it chooses you.
PJ: It’s so magical.
SN: When you meet somebody who you are really in tune with, that gives you a lot of strength to do what you want to do, because sometimes it’s scary to be an artist on your own. I never wanted to be an artist by myself, I wanted to be in a band in which I was protected.
PJ: Same here.
SN: Until I had been in Fleetwood Mac for five years, and had been singing with Lindsey for five years before that, it never occurred to me to be a solo artist. I just wrote so many songs. So, in 1981, when I decided to make a solo album, I told Fleetwood Mac straight out, “Listen, I’m not trying to break up this band, all I want to do is have a place to put these 40 songs I’ve written since 1975.” I felt stupid writing the next song because, why bother? They were a lot nicer about it than I thought they would be. They said, “Well then go make a solo record,” and I did, but I never wanted that as my full-on thing. I appreciated the fact that being in a band took the pressure off. People coming to you, asking, “What do you want to do? Where do you want to go? Do you want to do a tour? Do you want to do magazine interviews? How do you want the stage to look?” And you’re thinking, Well, can’t you ask the rest of the band that? Except when you’re solo, it’s just you. But you’ve found somebody to share this with you, which makes it all the more fun.
PJ: Yes, all the more special.
SN: And also so much easier because it’s not all on your shoulders.
PJ: I’m excited about it. I just got a text from him now. It’s funny that we were talking about him.SN: Well, this will be a great adventure for you. You can do your music and you can model. The world is in the palms of your little hands. You can be everything or you canbe exactly who you want to be. I look back over my life and I think, Wow what an adventure this has been. About 15 years ago, I decided in my own heart that I’m not going to be looking for a relationship, because I’m better off letting my music be my muse and being free enough to follow it where I want to follow it whenever I want to follow it. I was like 55 when I made this decision; I decided I didn’t want to be tied down. I wanted to be totally free. That’s the turnaround from the first 40 years of my life in music to now, wanting to be free and to be able to experience anything I want to without having to explain it to somebody else who’s asking, “When are you coming home?” Well, I don’t know, maybe six months? You don’t have anyone to get mad at you. If Mr. Right comes walking out of the brick wall then great, if it doesn’t happen I’m okay with that.
PJ: I agree. I’m just so excited to be talking to you.
SN: Well, I’m glad. When I write my songs, I hope that they reach out and touch people because that’s the only reason I write them. My songs always start as poetry. So, when I have a poem that I’ve written and I love, the idea is I can go to the piano and play. That’s my favorite kind of evening, in a really beautiful studio or a beautiful home with candles and a grand piano and recording equipment. That’s my idea of a perfect night, and it’s always just as good as it was 40 years ago. That’s the one thing that never changes—the excitement of what you do creatively never changes.
PJ: Thank you for that.
SN: So where are you off to? What are you doing tonight?
PJ: I promised my friend Jay I would go to his show; he’s playing at the Forum. He’s a good friend. I have this special gift that I made for him, and I’m excited to give it to him because I missed his birthday. I’ll have to go get my hair and makeup done.
SN: Well, the last thing I’ll say is that your dad is looking down on you and he’s very proud of you and he loves you and he’s right on your shoulder.
PJ: Thank you, I feel him every day.
SN: Yes, he is there. I lost my mom about five years ago and she talks to me, like about the stupidest things, like don’t drink that, it has a lot of acid in it. [Laughs] It’s crazy, you know?
PJ: Just the littlest things.
SN: If I ever thought there wasn’t another side, [I now know] there is. There absolutely is. Always know that.
PHOTOGRAPHS MARIO SORRENTI
FASHION CARINE ROITFELD
MAKEUP KANAKO TAKASE
NAIL ART MEI KAWAJIRI
CASTING EVELIEN JOOS
PROP STYLIST/SET DESIGN PHILIPP HAEMMERLE
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