Interview: Five Minutes with Jacob Lee
Australian alternative-pop singer-songwriter Jacob Lee has just returned from his European tour following the release of four songs from his upcoming album. The prestigious musician has received over 140 million streams across digital streaming platforms following the release of his debut, 10 track album Philosophy. The rest of the year continues to be a busy one for Lee as he aims to also release Jacob Lee’s Book of Lyricism (Vol 1).
Recently, the introspective musician has been on a journey to strive to view interactions from others perspectives and learn both more about himself in the process. The final three of the four releases shows the progression in this aim. In his track, ‘Zen’ Lee came to terms with his own purpose. ‘Artistry’ followed as he explored the twisting, unbalanced aspects of love. Finally, the latest of the trio of releases was ‘Sorrow’ which was premiered via Rolling Stone India. The track portrays the complexity of both sides during a break-up.
We learnt a little more about the musician as he set the stage for self-expression around the world
Set the tone for us. Why the arts?
I don’t believe I could find this level of fulfilment anywhere else.
Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?
When it’s a good idea, usually both. If ever one comes before the other I struggle to find its counterpart. For example, if the words come first, they generally remain as poetry, where if the melody comes first, it’s tough to implement a narrative. The only time I ever seem to capture something worthwhile is when they arrive together.
Does your material feature any collaborations?
Right here will be the first time I announce publicly that yes, there is a feature on the new album! Throughout the latter months of 2018 I wrote a country ballad called ‘Gone The Days’, & I’m happy to say that we’re almost ready to release it.
‘Gone The Days’ is a love song written from the perspective of the wife of a train conductor. It describes her desire to depart alongside him, instead of waving him goodbye on his long journeys. I’m unable to announce the name of the artist just yet, though she’s wonderfully talented.
What’s on your current playlist?
Anything by Anderson. Paak, Kendrick Lamar, Jaden, SiR, Posty or Childish Gambino.
Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.
It’s like nothing else. It’s like my shows become a collective performance. The sheer volume in the room staggers me every time, & they all know every word.
Inspired faces never fail to leave me awestruck, & I find so much joy in sharing meaningful moments with people. I think, if I were to try & describe the way these performances feel, it would be an all-encompassing atmosphere of gratitude & acceptance. There is so much fulfilment brought into these rooms & I still to this day can’t explain it.
What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?
As odd as it may sound, the primary step is descending into my thoughts. Technical musical ability actually plays a minor role in the initial creation of these songs… My obsession lies with words & their ability to make people feel. The only techniques or structures I implement would be the use of an acoustic guitar & the need to be alone.
After the song is written though, I’ll take it in studio & we’ll develop it up for distribution.
What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?
Setlist, tuner, capo & water that I always forget is there.
Any emerging artists on your radar?
Valeria Stoica & TAVIA
What gets your creative juices flowing?
I’d have to say the response from a crowd inspires me most. When I was younger all I would ever visualise was an ocean of people singing my lyrics back to me. Now every time I get to experience that, I hop off stage feeling overwhelmingly motivated. I leave the stage wanting to meet absolutely everyone, one-by-one, to personally ask them what stories they’d resonate with most. I then do my best to create that.
Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.
My acoustic has & always will be my go-to instrument. Though nowadays I often create with hardware from Native Instruments. I’m also learning the piano & hope to bring that to the stage very soon.
Speaking of stage, I’ve always got a Wild Dog Stomp by my feet, alongside a little Disaster Area midi controller for my playback & some Strymon pedals. The loop is currently gathering dust, though you never know when that may make a comeback.
Any side projects you’re working on?
Always. The major would be my lyricism book, which unfortunately is taking a little longer than expected due to the fact that I keep pulling my artists arm in a multitude of directions. Right now we’re finalising the artwork for the next single, ‘Guidance’, and after that, we’re wrapping up new merch designs, & then, ideally, back on the book.
Have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?
Most definitely. I feel if you’re not growing alongside the industry you’re left behind.
Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?
Throughout the remaining 3 months of this year, you can expect another 4 singles, a book announcement & the launch of my new clothing/canvas line.
2019 has been a year of foundation. Much of what sauntered through my mind last year has brought to life throughout 2019. Now I’m excited to water these projects & watch them grow.
Famous last words?
I am grateful.
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