Written by Kelly Holm
From his early childhood days of idolizing Darius Rucker of Hootie & the Blowfish and 98 Degrees, country-rocker Jerry Jacobs has pursued music with an unrelenting passion.
“The first performance I remember was the third grade talent show,” Jacobs said. “I remember thinking I would probably be famous the next day if it went well… I was wrong.” Not entirely, though. He may not been an overnight success, but Jacobs slowly and surely made his way. It took a lot of hustling when he could have been studying. He began writing his own lyrics around the time of that first school performance. Even though it was tough to balance all of his commitments, whether musical or academic, he found a way to make it work. When you’re trying to make it in the industry, you don’t have time to be stressed.
“Stress is the archenemy of creativity,” he says.
As he moved from elementary school into his teen years and beyond, he continued penning lyrics.
“Songwriting for me is all about showing up and being consistent,” he said. “It’s advice that any aspiring performer, no matter how young, can take to heart. Find a way to write something meaningful even when you aren’t feeling inspired, it allows you to explore a wider variety of emotion and improves your ability as a writer.”
Throughout his high school and college years, he recorded, promoted and sold his own CDs, and booked venues faithfully for every weekend.
“Even at 18, I was doing everything in my power to make it happen,” Jacobs said. “I would be tempted to give myself advice, but honestly, all the bumps in the road and
lessons learned the hard way are what made me into the performer and artist I am today.”
These days, Jacobs is taking his musical career in a promising direction; he’s got a stash of new and soon-to-be-released tunes, and recently performed at the Windy City Smokeout in Chicago while on tour.
“It was the first time I got to be part of a major festival with huge headliners,” he said. “It really gave me a taste of what the next level must feel like, and I’ll never forget it.”
He recently released “Kinda Carolina,” an ode to all things Southern and summer, to which he says has elicited an amazing reaction from his fanbase.
“Better than any song that I’ve put out so far,” he said of the warm reception to the track. “The funny thing is, I almost didn’t release it because I thought it might be too regional in subject matter. But we’ve had an incredible response to it coast to coast.”
“Shot In The Dark” is another track that Jacobs promises fans will get an earful of soon. It’s his favorite song to perform live, and will definitely be a part of his next release, whenever that may be.
“It’s extremely personal, and I feel like the production and musical arrangement both support the message of the song perfectly.”
Truly a jack of all trades, his skills as a frontman have been compared to Freddie Mercury, whom he says is, in his opinion, the best frontman of all time. Regardless of whether Jacobs reaches Mercury’s levels of legend status, after checking major milestones off of his bucket list, he longs to play at the Volvo Stadium in Charleston, South Carolina, where he watched his heroes perform growing up.
He’s realistic about the highs and lows of stardom, however. It’s not all like you see in the movies: the touring life includes pitfalls ranging from family distance to vehicular malfunction.
“The road comes with many challenges, and one of those is being away from your family for weeks at a time,” he tells us. “Some days it’s a challenge of what to do next career-wise. Some days it’s the bus breaking down in the middle of the desert on a mountain.”
But for him, the fruits of his labor are worth the effort and dedication he put into realizing his dreams.
“Be all-in,” he encourages fans who long to follow in his footsteps. “Don’t have a back-up plan. If you have another option, you’ll fall back on that when times get tough… it’s [going to] be about 10 times harder than you think it’s g[oing to] be, so be prepared to put 10 times the amount of work in.”
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