Pre-Guliani New York was rough and Jackie used singing as an anti-mugging strategy… “Family, friends, they were not allowed to hear me sing, but the scum of New York I could perform for.
“Family, friends, they were not allowed to hear me sing, but the scum of New York I could perform for. When I was in a scary situation, on a deserted street or walking by a group of men alone, late at night, I’d start singing. I figured that the singing would do three things: make me seem relaxed and carefree; or make me look crazy and they’d leave me alone; or show my would-be attackers that I was not afraid to use my voice. I was clearly testing the ‘music soothes the savage beast’ theory. It must have worked because I never had a problem. I even got some nice compliments from my impromptu audiences.”
Eventually, Jackie had enough of the fear of performing to actually let it go. She planned her debut performance as a gift for her mother at her surprise 50th birthday party.
“I knew the first time I performed, it was going to be very emotional for me. I was definitely going to cry. So rather than look the fool in a room full of strangers, I surrounded myself with family and friends. What I didn’t know was it was going to be so emotional for everyone else. We were all crying.”
As suspected, once Jackie started singing you couldn’t shut her up. The ability to cook and sing turned out to be handy talents when she got to Australia…