Jackson Dollinger spills on his *new* single, "Take Me Back"

Image: Cathryn Farnsworth

Ever wonder what your life would be like if you’d made a few different choices early on? Jackson Dollinger, who plays Young Max on Sydney to the Max, has asked the same question. The answer inspired him to write his latest single, “Take Me Back,” envisioning a life outside of the entertainment industry. With thought-provoking lyrics and a catchy beat, “Take Me Back,” is sure to be your new summer jam. We caught up with Jackson ahead of the single’s release to talk musical inspirations, season three of Sydney to the Max, and his advice for starting middle school.

Girls’ Life: What inspired you to write “Take Me Back”? What do you want fans to take away from it?

Jackson Dollinger: What inspired me to write the song was wondering what my life would be like if I hadn’t ended up in the entertainment industry. I want to send the message that it’s okay to question the decisions you’ve made in life to an extent, but you should ultimately end up in a place where you’re happy with your path and the people around you. That’s where I’m at right now, luckily.

GL: You finished recording “Take Me Back” one day after you shared the clip on social media. What was it like to record it so soon after writing it? Was it different from the process behind your other singles?

JD: Obviously it made sense, given the response from my fans on social media, for me to finish this song. I try to finish every song I write in a few days, even if it’s garbage, because I want to see it to the end and make it the best it could be. While I make most of my songs in the same amount of time, there are always exceptions. Sometimes it will take a month from writing to recording.

Image: Dave McCoul

GL: Are there any current songs or artists that influenced this song and its sound?

JD: The biggest inspiration for “Take Me Back” was The Kid LAROI, for sure. His beats lately have been a main influence for me. 

GL: The first part of season three of Sydney to the Max finished airing last month. What was your favorite episode of this season so far? 

JD: My favorite episode of season three so far is one called, “Man! I Feel Like a Genius.” I actually learned to roller skate for that episode, which was a lot of fun. Cassidey Fralin, who plays Young Alisha on the show, and the stunt coordinator taught me. I’ve been a skateboarder all my life, but I’d never roller-skated, so that was cool.

GL: You recently graduated from middle school. Do you have any advice for Girls’ Life readers who are just starting middle school? And what are you looking forward to when you start high school in the Fall?

JD: I think the best advice is to be yourself. Don’t try to change to fit in with other people. Middle school is a really cliquey time, but I would say that it’s not always cool to be with the cool kids. As far as high school, I’m looking forward to broadening my studies and playing basketball.

Image: Dave McCoul

GL: What are your hobbies outside of acting and making music?

JD: I’ve been skateboarding since I was two years old, so that’s definitely one of my main hobbies. I also love to surf. Of course, I spend most of my time in the studio recording new music.

GL: You’ve taken part in several projects devoted to helping the environment and cleaning up natural spaces like California’s beaches. How did you first get involved with those projects? Is there one that you’re the proudest of?

JD: How I first got involved is that I was doing a Disney promo for a beach cleanup that was actually sponsored by [the organization] Heal the Bay. I got invited to their gala, and there I met an organization called Footprint that wanted someone who could be a voice to the youth. That was how I connected with them. I grew up taking summers on Catalina Island, so I’ve always felt connected to the environment and I want to help keep it clean. 

GL: What’s next for you? Any plans for an album, or other projects your fans should be on the lookout for?

JD: I will have some other singles dropping, and maybe another four-track EP as well. One of my upcoming songs will be an anthem for an organization, so my fans should be on the lookout for that.

Keep up with Jackson Dollinger on Instagram @jacksondollinger and stream “Take Me Back” on Spotify, Apple Music, and other platforms starting today.


by Bailey Bujnosek | 7/31/2021