Jacob Whitesides Gets Lovesick In California


JACOB WHITESIDES plays the Troubadour Jun. 18; press photo

Singer-songwriter Jacob Whitesides has evolved from a YouTube phenomenon, to the live performance you don’t want to miss. Selling out shows in the U.S. and Europe, he will be at the Troubadour June 18 and House of Blues San Diego on June 21.

As an up-and-coming artist, he didn’t reach for the first deal thrown his way, but rather began to build his own empire, becoming the CEO of Double U Records (in partnership with BMG). This not only gave him a different perspective in the music industry, but also gave him the confidence to build his own style instead of blending into the ideals of another record label.

“It’s really given me time to find my sound,” Whitesides explained. “That was really scary because I know a lot of us YouTubers that are doing covers sign a deal automatically without finding their sound first, and then they get kind of crafted into something they don’t want to be.”

With such a massive following on YouTube that later grew on social media, Whitesides saw the different offers and opportunities available, but stayed motivated in finding his own way in the industry.

“It’s very hard in this day and age with social media,” Whitesides said. “Early on even when I didn’t have a massive following, when I started getting some of a following online, I had deals presented to me that looked really glamorous and just seeing what other people were doing and just thinking, ‘I have to be a part of that’. But thankfully I had people who kept me patient.”

Aside from being able to mold his own musical aspirations, being CEO has given him the ability to be the decision maker in most situations where an artist often has no voice.

“Those big decisions have always been so important to me and I knew early on, even when I didn’t know much about the music industry in general, I just knew I wanted to be able to have control over those kind of things, and it’s been highly beneficial in my life,” Whitesides said. “Whether it’s how much tickets are, when we go on sale, or how many meet and greets we do, it’s those small little things that most artists don’t get to decide.”

In addition to playing on YouTube, Whitesides has released 3 EPs. 2014’s 3 Am features all cover songs, while A Piece of Me and Faces on Film features original material. His debut album Lovesick is due later this year.

With the release of the single “Lovesick” from the upcoming album, it’s easy to see that Whitesides is transitioning from his cover song days to building his own sound as an acoustic, indie musician, but as a more Maroon 5-style pop rock artist.

“My early stuff was very acoustic based,” Whitesides noted. “I grew up listening to a lot of Jack Johnson, John Mayer, James Taylor, so definitely more of the bluesy/folky singer-songwriter stuff. This new record was really taking the bones of that stuff I grew up with and adding some pop influence.”

Considering Whitesides has only been recording for about a year-and-a-half, the writing and recording for this new album contains lyrics about his recent tour experiences, as well as his relationships and how they’ve developed.

“This is the first time I’ve had a good chunk of time,” Whitesides said. “With the first two EPs I only had a couple weeks to write them, and they turned out great. But with this one (Lovesick) there was a lot more time and I’d experienced a lot more. Most of the inspiration with this new record was just the relationship I was in, being far from home all the time, and kind of the feelings directly related to that.”

Whitesides has been playing new songs from Lovesick during his live performances, giving fans a taste of what to expect, but his favorite song on the new album has yet to be played live.

“There’s a song on the record called ‘You Told Me So’ that I haven’t played live yet,” Whitesides said. “It’s really self-reflective. I was in Europe for a while and I spent a lot of time alone there and kind of just did a lot of self-reflecting on me as a person, and me in a relationship, and me in everyday life and wrote a song about it. It was really emotional.”

Although being far away and traveling seriously for the first time, Whitesides was ecstatic to share his music with fans he hadn’t been able to reach outside of the computer screen.

“Being able to go over there and with the language barrier, having them sing the songs word-for-word was just phenomenal for me,” Whitesides said. “That’s like the first time I’ve ever really traveled, you know? Before, I had barely left Tennessee much. Then going on the U.S. tour, then traveling to Europe into all these different cultures, it was really insane. Being able to meet those fans that have been really supportive for so long, I really got a taste of how difficult it is to be a fan over there with the distance and the time difference, and they’re still there every day tweeting me.”

Whitesides, being labeled as the “next Bieber” by many because of his start, is proving to become his own icon, building a fanbase of Whitesiders across the globe.