What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio about you.
I have been playing music since my parents made me take piano lessons when I was around four. From that point on it was a part of my identity whether I knew it or not. Though I never wrote too much music in high school I continually took lessons, performed at events, and took any music theory class that was offered. At Wesleyan (where I went to college) I was a music major (and a history major ~woohoo~) and I focused on classical composition and conducting while wishing I was in a band playing my music at shows. Instead I played in other people’s bands and looked to other writing opportunities such as writing a musical. I started Highschool Jacob (originally Tiny Hands) after school when I realized that as an aspiring performer and song writer, I had yet to really put together a cohesive group of my own songs. With the help of my friend Sean Eads I took a serious dive into the world of production and electronic music making and have been trying to figure out what my sound is since then. Is that a good answer for you (lol)?
Provide us with some info about your latest release…
My two most recent releases were “Can’t Get Enough” and “Sunrise I Fall.” “Can’t Get Enough” was a ‘dancey’ take on subtle intimacy while trying to pay homage to dance artists such as Daft Punk. It was one of my best received singles so far and was number 1 on Hype Machine for a few days. Thanks to Danger Village for that! “Sunrise I Fall” was a dark look at jealousy and envious onlooking at ones crush/ex/someone who they have been spending too much time focusing on.
Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?
My favorite artists growing up were Prince and Stevie Wonder and, while I wouldn’t ever say my music sounds anything close to as good as theirs, it is impossible to separate my love of music from them. It has always been my goal to make interesting music that can reach a wide array of people.
In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?
I would describe my sound as alternative pop music (super interesting haha). I will be the first to admit that my music is not up the middle in terms of being completely of the mainstream, but as I said I want to make music that at the end of the day can speak to many different kinds of people. I think what separates my sound is a focus on intimate and personal story telling along with raw performances and production. To be honest I often wish my voice or production could sound cleaner or more high end, but as I’ve kept making music I’ve grown to enjoy those imperfections as a way of saying “Hey here it is and if you don’t like it, I’m sorry but this is what I made.”
Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…
Albums: Songs In the Key of Life, Blood on the Tracks, Channel Orange.
Books: Dance Dance Dance, Brothers Karamazov (I know I’m pretentious), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
Movies: The Sting, Count of Monte Cristo and Empire Strikes Back.
Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?
Performing because I like the finality of a live show. In the studio there are limitless options and opportunities, and the thought that it could maybe possibly with enough time and the right gear in conjunction with the best possible conditions with the best engineer and the best players with enough time and a different microphone etc. be perfect. It is a given that some mistakes will happen in a live show, and it is how you react to those mistakes that makes a good performance. Plus I think its more fun.
Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?
As I mentioned before my artist name used to be Tiny Hands. This was a name my twin sister Alix came up with in reference to my oddly small hands. I liked the name and it grabbed people’s attention, but then a lot of people couldn’t separate the name from Donald Trump. I started writing and performing as Tiny Hands during the 2016 election and I could not escape people asking me if it was in relation to Trump. It was not but I thought that with enough time, and when he lost, the name would be usable again. He didn’t lose and to add insult to injury Fiona Apple released a chant called “Tiny Hands” right before the first Women’s March and needless to say I took the hint and found a new name.
Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?
I would probably say “Nobody But You” because it is always the first song I show people who want to know what my sound is. The sounds and lyrics came at a time when I was dealing with a lot of depression and desperately looking to see if I could make my own music. What came about was a song that has various aspects I do not even remember coming up with let alone what I did to get them. Plus it was the first song I produced by myself from start to finish.
Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?
I am about to finish three new singles that I am very excited about and cannot wait to release!
Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity…
Desert Island video games…….
Kingdom Hearts, Dark Souls and 2k19 :P.
Photo credits: Grace Pickering
Curated by: Christos Doukakis
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