EXCLUSIVE: Interview With Country Music Artist & Charleston Native, Jerry Jacobs

Q: What got you into music?

“I wanted to be a singer since I was five when I saw Hootie and the Blowfish play in Charleston. I was born and raised in Charleston and so obviously Hootie is like my big hero because they’ve been around since I was a little kid. So my first concert was Hootie in 1996, I wanted to be a singer ever since. And that being said, playing the music farm was always my dream since I was a little kid because that’s the biggest venue in Charleston.”

Q: How did you get your start in the music industry?

“I tried to sing at every talent show possible. Started my first band when I was in 6th grade. Started writing and recording my music when I was a little kid trying to write little songs and Backstreet Boy copy songs and then I had bands all through high school and college and started touring when I was 18 just playing anywhere that would let us. Any church, any bar, anywhere that would let us in, but yeah that’s kind of how it started.”

Q: What are you doing now to develop your career?

“Mostly I’ve been just independent the whole time just grinding it out and building and reaching a national fan base by touring extensively and just grinding out and putting out music whenever I could and getting my music in front of as many people as possible.”

Q: Tell me about your new single Kinda Carolina. Why did you write it? What does it mean to you?

Kinda Carolina is a song I actually wrote with Haley Mae Campbell and Mitchell Lee and they’re both charleston folks and we got together in Nashville and we were writing a totally different song actually and we were totally hitting the wall on this song that we were writing so we went to get coffee across the street and we’re standing their in line and we were picking on Haley because she grew up in Charleston but she was born in New York so someone was teasing her and was like “Oh you’re only kinda carolina.” and we were like “Oh my gosh that’s the song that we’re writing today.” So we went back and knocked it out in an hour and a half. And so it’s basically about Carolina girls and we were fortunate to have a Carolina girl in the room when we were writing it so that helped out.”

Q: Where do you find your inspiration? What/who influences you?

“I’m influenced by everything from Sam Hunt and Thomas Rhett to hip hop to pop to rock. I was really into pop punk music growing up. Really any kind of music that I could get my hands on which is why there’s a kind of eclectic mix of sounds in my music. We like to dance across the genre lines and it’s hard to pick a genre sometimes because with your roots being in country music but being surrounded by so many different crazy sounds and genres, it’s fun you get a lot of different influences in music.”

Q: How does it feel being a successful musician knowing how far you’ve come? How have you grown as a musician?

“When I moved to Nashville, being surrounded by literally the best writers in the world, it makes you grow you have to to survive. So just being in the room with such amazing writers and getting the opportunity to write with hit-song writers really helps you out. And just being in the room with like-minded peers, we’re all trying to get better and trying to write songs and try to make a new sound, you’re kind of forced to grow. So I think I grew more in my first year in Nashville than I did my entire music career before that.”

Q: What are you working on/doing currently?

“Now I’m kind of focusing on the writing and it was a ton of fun being on the road and we gained a lot of new fans but now I’m kind of focusing in and just really trying to say something and trying to have a unique perspective and trying to have something to say as an artist rather than just saying whatever comes to mind. I’m trying to have a more focused message…And with Kinda Carolina, it’s basically paying tribute to all the amazing women from South Carolina. I’ve had a lot of amazing women in my life from the Carolinas whether it be my wife from South Carolina or my mom and my whole family’s from there so we just kinda wanted to pay tribute to them and basically paint a picture of the people we grew up around. So yeah Kinda Carolina is like a hometown shoutout.”

Q: What makes Charleston so different to you?

“I grew up my entire life in Charleston and it’s got a unique vibe to it, and anyone that’s been there can attest. It’s just that southern hospitality and Nashville’s got that too but it’s just different. Charestons got a great mix of beach culture and southern culture…It’s like old south meets surf bums meets folly beach meets downtown. It’s two totally different cultures but I relate to both of them so much.”

Q: What’s the most rewarding part about your music and your career? What are some challenges you’ve faced?

“Hearing people sing along to your songs when you go play cities where people know your music and sing it back to you that’s definitely the best part…also all kinds of challenges we’ve played every little whole in the wall bar from here to the west coast. Sometimes you get gypped on money, sometimes you show up and you’re double booked, you get cancelled. There’s all kinds of crazy struggles and just trying to play enough shows to make a living, we’re playing a ton of shows right now and it’s hard to do, we’re playing like five shows a week right now which is a ton and we’ve been doing that for years now. And just figuring out what the next steps are. It’s a constantly changing industry with technology changes everyday. There’s always a new thing that you’re supposed to be doing like a new platform you’re supposed to be big on or a new streaming service that you’re supposed to have big numbers on, so it’s kind of like a moving target which is difficult sometimes.”

Q: Any pivotal points in your career so far?

“I’ve had a pivotal point recently where…I’m really just trying to focus on what I’m trying to say rather than how I’m trying to say it. I was kind of tied up in what’s it gonna sound like, what’s the production like, is it pop? Is it country? Is it this? Or Is it that? And I’m less focused on that now and trying to focus on what I’m trying to say rather than how I’m trying to say it so that’s been my big thing lately.”

Q: Any big goals you have set for yourself? Where do you see yourself in five years?

“I would love to be on a big stadium tour. Really my ultimate goal is to play Volvo Car Stadium in Charleston. That’s always been my dream I grew up seeing Hootie (and the Blowfish) play there every single year and so my dream is to headline that and I would love to do that. But in five years I would love to have songs on the radio basically just get my music out to as many people. Recorded music in front of as many people as possible and my live show in front of as many because our live show is like one of my favorite parts about what we have going on. We have a super energetic live show that’s why we play so much is that we just love playing live and that’s really what it’s about for me.”

Q: How do you feel when you get off stage after a show?

“There’s definitely a high that you get once you step off stage. When you play that last note and you hear the crowd scream there’s definitely a high that you get from that and it’s almost an indescribable feeling and that’s why musicians are so obsessed with music. When you’re struggling or when you’re poor and not making it, that moment is what makes it all worth it when you hear people scream or hear the applause after you hit your last note. It makes it all worth it.”

Q: Any other thoughts?

“Volvo Car (Stadium) is a dream for sure but the Music Farm has always been a dream. I’ve played it twice as an opening act but I’ve never headlined it before so that’s a big milestone for us. And Kinda Carolina coming out this week was intentional because we really just want to focus on giving back to our hometown and giving back to our hometown fans and giving them something to sing along to.

*Go to Apple Music or Spotify to listen to Kinda Carolina and other music from Jerry Jacobs.

*Also, to read about the concert at the Music Farm from Aug. 31, go to https://cisternyard.com/2019/09/04/country-music-artist-charleston-native-jerry-jacobs-comes-back-home/

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