Once you’ve heard Jacob Lee sing, you’re unlikely to forget about it. This uber-talented Gold Coast singer / songwriter has, at just 23, racked up streams in the tens of millions, and also has a few international tours under his belt. Known for his powerful melodies and emotive lyricism, Jacob is already accruing a large international following without the help of any kind of management team. We just had to find out what drives this young star-in-the-making.
“Whenever I’m not writing or in the studio, I’m marketing myself,” he tells Blank.
“I think it’s because I’ve never had management. I’ve never had a label, and I’ve just started my own label so I’m releasing my stuff under my own label and that’d going to grow as I do.”
With many artists excelling in the creativity department but falling down when it comes to publicity and marketing, I’m curious about Jacob’s background, and what he sees as the main driving force behind his surplus of motivation.
“I just literally feel as though it’s in my DNA. I can’t stop,” he smiles.
“If I stop for twenty minutes I feel as though I’m wasting time. At first I thought it was just a means to an end. I realised that I can do it myself, and then my success is not about or who’s behind me or whatever. Now I’m realising that I really do love that part of it.”
Jacob’s songs have been getting more plays, streams, and garnering this Gold Coast creative more fans with every release. His last single ‘Demons’ – with over 10 million hits of its own – is a heartbreaking cry to an ex, and to my ears, the production quality has stepped up to another level compared to his earlier works (which to be honest were still very good). I ask Jacob about that.
“I’ve been through a few producers in my time and I finally found a guy who gets my vision and my path,” he says.
“Matt Bartlem did the very first track ‘I Just Know’ which was released last year and then I did the ‘Clarity’ EP with him, and now we’re working on a ten track album.”
The first single on the album is called ‘Oceans’, and represents a departure for Jacob.
This is the first song that I’ve properly written about me.
“I tend to write music from an empathetic place towards other people, or a story in my mind about someone.
“This is the very first one about me and my journey as an artist. It’s quite ambiguous and metaphorical; I like to leave lyrics up to interpretation. That’s the way I write so other people might hear it differently.”
And how was it, writing about himself for the first time?
“It was hard. Usually the songs kind of flow out in a maximum of an hour, it just completely comes out of you. This one started that way and then it took a bit longer.”
The reaction to ‘Oceans’ so far has been positive.
“It talks about how for a very long time people haven’t listened to me,” describes Jacob.
“I’ve felt as though I’ve had what it takes but sometimes you doubt yourself and you feel worthless and that maybe you’re just a nutcase. You think you’ve got it but maybe you don’t.
“People have said it’s legitimately a four minute journey.”
Many artists suffer from – at times crippling – self-doubt. Fortunately for Jacob, he gets fairly immediate reassurance from those millions of streams ticking over every times he releases a new track. Clearly some of his doubt demons have been exorcised in the making of ‘Oceans.’ He straightens and looks determined.
“In two years’ time, I’m going to be quadruple what I am now.”
We believe him.
‘Oceans’ is available now on Spotify.
IMAGE (c) Lamp Photography