Born in Charleston, South Carolina, independent artist, Jerry Jacobs, shares musical roots with Darius Rucker, and it is no surprise that Jerry’s love for music was first inspired by the superstar. Jerry admits he has known he wanted to be an entertainer since 1996, when he was five years old, atop his dad’s shoulders at a Hootie and The Blowfish concert. “I remember sitting on my dad’s shoulders at that concert and telling him that this is what I wanted to do. It’s what I’ve been focused on ever since, and nobody’s told me I can’t yet!”
I caught up with Jerry Jacobs at Chicago’s Windy City Smokeout festival, after watching him perform an acoustic set for a packed out room at the Blackhawks Lounge. He said that this is one of his favorite Chicago experiences so far. “This festival is so well put together, accommodations are awesome, and there’s even a place here from my hometown (Home Team BBQ) where I used to play a writer’s night when I was in college back in South Carolina.” While Jerry played, it was evident that he has a fan base already established in Chicago. Jerry added, “We have been playing shows in Chicago for about four years now. Ed Warm has been so amazing to us. He is one that has believed in me from the beginning and we play at Bub City often. We play every St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago, so Chicago has really become a home away from home for us.” Watching him connect with his fans before and after his performance, it was evident to see that he thrives off of sharing his love of music through performing.
“I started playing on stage in every talent show I could, singing the National Anthem, etc. and I don’t even know that I was ever that great back then, but I wanted to do it so bad and eventually, over 23 years, you learn a little bit I guess! (laughs) I started with bands in middle school and recording my own music in sixth/seventh grade and I’ve really just always been obsessed with music.” Jerry explained.
So what inspires him? “Musically, I’m inspired by all kinds of stuff. My generation grew up with Napster and Limewire which exposed us to every genre of music you can think of. I think you do hear a lot of those influences of country, alternative, rock, pop, and punk from musicians in my generation.” In regards to inspiration with songwriting, he adds, “obviously, you want to pull from life experiences and be honest in your writing. While you’re co-writing you also want to make it broad like something everyone can relate to. I think the key to songwriting is finding how we’re all the same. It’s about what unites us, what we all have in common. Everyone’s dealt with heartbreak, fallen in love, most people have been dumped, or lost a loved one. Finding those things that everyone can relate to and try to bring that out in the music is key.”
Jerry’s been a songwriter for years, explaining that he “wrote songs for every girlfriend I’ve ever had between third grade and now, so that’s kind of where it started.” However, it wasn’t until he moved to Nashville in college and began co-writing when he realized how important it was to collaborate. “My writing really took off when I moved to Nashville because the co-writing team there is so amazing. So many talented writers. I didn’t realize I was so bad at writing until I started working with some of them (laughs) and I was like, ‘OH so that’s how a song is written.'”
Speaking of songwriting, I had to know if there is a favorite song Jerry Jacobs has written recently, and he said it rotates, “usually the one I wrote this week, then I realize it wasn’t that good and then I’ll come back to it later. There’s a song that isn’t out yet called, ‘Ghost Stories,’ and it’s my favorite right now. ‘Ghost Stories’ is a sad song, so it isn’t my favorite at like, 3:00 in the afternoon at the Windy City Smokeout, that’s more for drinkin’ songs! But it’s definitely one of my favorites right now that I’ve written.”
Not every song he writes is always kept for himself, either. “I wrote a song called, ‘A Little Bit’ and Trea Landon recorded it, then he got signed to Warner Nashville right after, so that was pretty cool. I love putting out my own music, but not every song I write necessarily represents me as an artist. There might be a story I want to tell as a songwriter but not necessarily as an artist, so then I can write it and someone else might want to record it instead.”
What can fans expect next from Jerry Jacobs? “I have so much music over the last two years that I’ve been working on and I can’t wait to get that all going. I just released a new single on July 19, ‘Backroads and Backseats.’ I may start putting out a new single every month! Because, why not? That’s the perks of being an independent artist right now.” Aside from new music, Jerry Jacobs expressed that his live show, “is my favorite asset right now. performing is my true love. I love songwriting so that I can play it live in front of a live audience!” So there you have it – Jerry wants to see you at a show!