Check out our interview with actor, producer, singer and songwriter Jackson Dollinger who stars as Young Max in the popular Disney Channel Original Series, “Sydney to the Max”, in its third season.
His new EP “Social Isolation” features four original songs, each blurring the lines between different styles and revealing Jackson’s incredible charisma and versatility. The opening track, “Golden Hour,” plays as an impactful introduction to this EP and mission statement simultaneously. The second track, ‘Moonlight’ features Kish and is an outstanding collaboration with one of The Netherlands finest new artists.
Follow Jackson @jacksondollinger
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Energetic / Creative / Hardworking
How did you get started into acting?
I started acting when I was 9 years old because of a friend who was actively auditioning for commercials. I asked my parents what acting was and if I could try it. My first audition was for a Nissan commercial and I ended up booking it. I did several more commercials and eventually moved on to theatrical acting and auditioned for various TV and movies before booking the series regular role of “Young Max” on the Disney Channel original series, “Sydney to the Max.”
How has this changed your life?
In so many awesome ways! Disney channel has given me so many amazing opportunities that I wouldn’t otherwise have experienced. I get to travel to new places and meet great people. It’s awesome to wake up everyday and be excited to go to work because you do something you love.
What is the best and worst part of being an actor?
The best part of being an actor is putting yourself in another person’s shoes and really delving deep into the character. When I’m acting, I get to be someone totally different. It’s a very cool experience, but the job also comes with many sacrifices. I work full days and still have to find time to get all my schoolwork done, which means sometimes doing school on the weekends. My schedule no longer permits me to participate in group sports. I miss that physical outlet.
Tell us about your work in Disney’s Channel “Sydney to the Max?”
I play “Young Max.” He is a 13 year old daredevil and avid skateboarder who has a fun loving relationship with his mom and works at the local arcade with his best friend Leo. We are currently in production on Season 3. The series airs on Disney Channel and the first 2 seasons can be found on Disney+. I truly enjoy my job and have missed going to set during the pandemic quarantine.
How do you prepare for a role?
I do a brief character analysis that really puts me in the mindset of the character. After I memorize the sides, I make acting choices and then when rehearsing, I adjust those choices depending on how they are feeling when I deliver the lines.
What other projects have you been part of?
I have done voiceover for the Disney Junior show, “Puppy Dog Pals,” and guest starred on “Loosely Exactly Nicole, and “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”
What kind of roles do you like or would like to play and why?
I would really like to try doing an action movie. I love doing my own stunts and I do my own stunts on Sydney to the Max. It seems like it would really be fun to work on one. I would also like to do a drama to show my more serious side.
Now in the music side, describe your sound in 3 words?
- Melodic 2. Passionate 3. Fresh
Who influenced you and why did you choose to make music?
My biggest influences in music are Juice WRLD, Justin Bieber, The Kid Laroi, and Iann Dior. I have always loved listening to music, but it wasn’t until last year that I was actually interested in music production and songwriting.
Do you play any instrument?
Yes! I play the drums, piano, and I’m in the process of learning guitar.
Do you ever get nervous?
Of course! Everyone gets nervous. Fortunately, I have learned how to channel that nervous energy and push through it.
Tell us about your first EP “Social Isolation?”
“Social Isolation” is a four-song project and all the songs on the EP were written, produced and recorded in my home studio during quarantine. The track list is as follows: Golden Hour, Moonlight, Wait or Run, and Walk Alone. I’m super pumped for the release on January 19, which also happens to be my birthday!
And about the first single “Golden Hour?”
“Golden Hour” is the first track on the EP and is produced by me and Bruno Sergio Da Silva (Produced by Bruno) and cowritten with Ameet Kanon. This song is about not taking the little things in your life for granted and making sure you consider and appreciate all the things that make you happy, even if you don’t have a lot. Everyone has at least one thing they can find joy in and I consider “Golden Hour” to be my new personal mission statement.
Did you have plans to do any online concerts or interaction with your fans during this COVID lockdown?
That is an awesome idea! I see some of my favorite artists doing virtual concerts and that is definitely something I would consider.
Which project is still on your bucket list?
I definitely would love to do an action film and I also want to make a full-length album in the next year.
What is fun and rewarding about what you do? And what’s not?
It’s really fun to see how the final episodes of Sydney to the Max are edited. I love watching the episodes with my family. Also, whenever I make a song, it’s really cool listening to it the next day to see what I was thinking and feeling while I was in that creative space.
What’s next for Jackson Dollinger in 2021?
I will continue production on Season 3 of Sydney to the Max and I also will be releasing more music.
What is your favorite song? And why?
My favorite song right now is “Pikachu” by The Kid Laroi. The melodies he chose to do coupled with that fire beat just fit perfectly. The song also has a lot of energy and the lyrics are great too. To be honest, I pretty much have a new favorite song every few days, it changes a lot.
Any loves other than acting/music?
I love skateboarding and surfing. I’ve been skateboarding since I was about 3 years old and I still love it to this day. I love to surf as well and find the ocean to be a very peaceful and grounding place for me.
If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?
I would really want to meet Juice WRLD because I feel like he would have some great advice about music. He was such an amazing lyricist. Sadly, he passed away about a year ago.
Best advice ever given?
The best advice I was ever given was to always finish making the song. Even if you don’t think it will ever be released, you should finish it because that song will take you to the next one which could be your best one yet!
How’s a typical day in your life?
During production of Sydney to the Max, my typical day is definitely full. I wake up, get ready, head over to set, get breakfast, do school, rehearse, maybe a wardrobe fitting, lunch, sometimes more rehearsals or a Producer/Network run-through. After work, I usually spend several hours in the studio making music until it is time to go to bed.
Name one your strengths?
One of my strengths is perseverance. You definitely need perseverance to survive in the entertainment industry.
Idea of a perfect Sunday?
Wake up, go to the farmers market for brunch, hit the skatepark next door, then come home and make music and maybe play a little Fortnite with my friends.
What is your favorite song to belt out in the car/for karaoke?
Robbery by Juice WRLD is the best song for car belting.
What is your own definition of happiness?
My definition of happiness is to to do what I truly love everyday.
Do you support any charities?
Absolutely. I actively advocate for clean oceans and the elimination of single use plastics. I am involved with several organizations that pursue those goals. As a surfer, I’ve seen first hand the damage that single use plastic has done to our oceans. I support Heal the Bay, and The Lonely Whale Foundation. In addition, I am looking forward to working with Stand 4 kind in 2021 and my family has strongly supported Feeding America this year. We are deeply saddened by the food insecurity that many Americans are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
What is your favorite food?
How do you see yourself in 5 years?
I hope that I will still be actively working in the Entertainment Industry doing what I love. I also hope to be in college majoring in business.
How would you describe your fashion style?
Casual, classic, and a little edgy.
What do you think of Social Media?
I think social media is a great business tool to connect with my supporters. I think that social media should be something that is used occasionally and should not be taken too seriously.
Where can we follow you?
Quote: “If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough.” – Oprah Winfrey
Travel Destination: Maldives
Sports Team: Lakers
Photo Credit: Russ Scott