We had the good fortune of connecting with Jacob James and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jacob, alright, let’s jump in with a deep one – what’s you’re definition for success?
Success is an interesting and often frustrating concept. People tend to measure their worth based on the accomplishments of others, which I think is an unhealthy and counterproductive means of motivation. I personally have come to define success as a mindset that promotes growth and progress. I think that if you can step back and see your work as something to be proud of and that is an improvement from previous projects, it is a success. Additionally, if you’re creating something that moves you and you feel is worthwhile, that’s all the reason in the world to keep doing it. I certainly don’t judge my success based on profit. As a musician in 2020, I would have to be delusional to strive for much monetary gain from my albums. That being said, I love what I do and am leagues beyond where I started as a songwriter and producer, which is something that I feel proud of.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’ve been making music for more than 10 years now and I feel that I’m in a really good place with it. If I were to make a case for what sets me apart from other songwriters, I’d have to say it’s my affinity for experimentation rather than sticking to a more formulaic process. I like listening to many different genres of music, so naturally I like to experiment in different styles while still trying to maintain my own creative voice. I’m quite proud of my most recent release, “Death to the Songbird” and feel it is my strongest work to date. I’m currently working on writing a follow up and I’ve got about 15 songs written for it. I’m not sure what is and isn’t going to make it on the next record yet, but I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what I can do with what I have. It took me quite a while to arrive at the place I am today as an artist, and although I feel like I am nowhere near a creative peak, I think that what got me here is my persistence. Ask any working musician and they will tell you what a drag it can be at times. Low turnout at gigs, creative differences with collaborators, or it just seeming like no one cares about what you do are just some of the hurdles you must be willing to face. It can definitely be challenging but I think the catharsis music provides me makes it all worthwhile.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well as of right now, the situation we’re all facing has shut down a lot of great bars and venues that I would have suggested. That being said, there’s a lot of great locally owned businesses that are worth mentioning that I really hope make it out of this sad and unfortunate situation. If I were to take a friend to go eat in downtown, I might suggest going to eat at Philippe the Original. They serve some killer French dip sandwiches and have been around for over a hundred years; for good reason. Another great spot in Los Angeles that was unfortunately shut down not too long after its opening is the Permanent Records Roadhouse. It operates as a bar, venue as well as a record store. It’s closed down for now, but when things start to reopen, that’s one of the first places I plan on hitting up. Other than that, I’d probably show my guest to some beaches, maybe some breweries. Modern Times would definitely be a go to.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d like to dedicate my shoutout to my partner Sunny. On top of being an incredibly talented visual artist herself, she is a huge source of inspiration for me. She encourages me and is a person I can bounce new ideas off of. Sometimes I won’t know if a song idea is worth pursuing unless I’ve played it for her and gauged her reaction. This doesn’t happen with everything, but enough times for it to be worth mention. Her support is definitely an essential factor in my creative endeavors.
Other: jacobjamesmusic.bandcamp.com https://thekyotees.bandcamp.com/