Teen Singing Star Starts Day On 7

January 28, 2011 Updated Jan 28, 2011 at 9:42 AM EDT

By WKBW News

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January 28, 2011 Updated Jan 28, 2011 at 9:42 AM EDT

BUFFALO, NY ( WKBW ) While you may not know the name Jackson Harris right now, you will.

The newest up and coming teenage pop star from New York City visited with Patrick Taney and Ginger Geoffery Friday on the set of "Eyewitness News This Morning."

Read more about Jackson on his website www.thejacksonharris.com. The following was a conversation Jackson had with PopEater.com

Why He's About to Pop: Jackson Harris, who grew up in the city and attended a prep school in a New York suburb, knew in his early teens that music was his calling. The singer-songwriter -- influenced by today's pop-rock and hip-hop, and classics like the Beatles and Frank Sinatra -- spent his time after school learning to play music and compose songs, and he then decided to pursue a music career rather than head off to college. With a love of his craft and a pride in New York City, he recorded an EP to tell his own story, plus a chilled out, acoustic cover of Jay-Z's hit 'Empire State of Mind' that's been making its way around the Web.

"Jay-Z definitely reigns as the king of NYC, and I definitely don't dispute that," Harris tells PopEater. "The first time I heard 'Empire State of Mind,' though, it was being performed live, so I think of my version as a little bit more laid back."

Harris says that his take on the hit is "for those people who love the original but who are interested in hearing it in a different way." Read our exclusive interview with Harris to find out how his songwriting began, his most memorable fan connection and what's to come.

Seven Questions With Jackson Harris:

When did you know that you wanted to pursue a career in music?

I knew I wanted to pursue music by the time I entered middle school. Everyone was starting to get interested in different things -- sports, history, books -- and it was around that time I decided that music was my thing.

As a former prep school kid yourself, who is your favorite fictional prep school character?

Holden Caulfield from 'The Catcher in the Rye' is a big favorite of mine. I also like Chuck Bass from 'Gossip Girl.'

Who are your musical influences?

I love Billy Joel, OneRepublic, Maroon 5 and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I'm also a big fan of hip-hop, so I love Jay-Z, Drake and Usher. I love Usher. The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Elvis, and Frank Sinatra are all classic musicians that I of course really love.

What's the story behind the collection of songs on 'Long Story Short'?

'Long Story Short' represents the last few years of my life. I've been living and writing and trying to capture some of the things that have happened to me in song, so it's really an autobiographical tale of what I've been going through. I think the album is honest pop-rock that has some really good storytelling -- in this case, the storytelling is all autobiographical, so it's all real.

With your growing fan base and buzz around your 'Empire State of Mind' video, have you had any memorable fan encounters yet?

Definitely. I had the opportunity to meet Ms. Glamorazzi, a fashion/beauty guru who has a huge following on YouTube and who will be featured in my upcoming music video. She came across my 'Empire State of Mind' video and decided to tell her fans about it -- and that's been a huge help. It was really nice to connect with another person who is following her dream. Also, it's been awesome to receive letters and messages from people who say that after listening to my music they've been inspired to pursue their own dreams. It's an incredible feeling to know that my music is inspiring other people.

If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?

I would definitely love to collaborate with Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic, who is an amazing songwriter. I would also love to collaborate with Usher on a song. I think we could do something really cool. Also, Drake and I are both young, emerging artists, and I love his new album, so I think working with him would be really cool.

What's to come for you after the EP release?

Next up will be a full-length album, some tour dates around the country and a trip to London. We're also shooting a video for 'Long Story Short' later this month.