Jacob Jeffries is flying solo these days, sans the "Band." He released an album this past June entitled Neighborhood Nights all by his lonesome. And while he's been living in Brooklyn and is planning on taking the next step West, and heading to Hollywood, he hasn't forgotten his South Florida roots, as is demonstrated by a song title on the album, "Florida Sky."
Jeffries is already planning on his next venture, which he'll be recording sometime early next year, bringing in some heavy-hitters, he says, though he's not giving away any of those names just yet. He'll be heading to Fort Lauderdale next week -- the birthplace of his former band -- where he'll kindly be playing a free show at Orignial Fat Cat's along with guitarist Jimmy Powers, with whom he's looking forward to jamming again.
"They don't make them like him anymore," Jeffries said. "So to come back there and just be blanketed by his ingenuity on guitar is a comfortable feeling."
Fans can expect to hear some old favorites from Tell Me Secrets, along with some of his newer songs and a couple of blues covers he's been working on. Jeffries is particularly looking forward to playing "Worth The Wait," which is both popular amongst his fans and co-penned with Powers. "It's always nice to sing 'Worth The Wait' back home because people know the lyrics and Jimmy just kind of nails the ending, and it's a very powerful song," he told us.
When asked what the hardest part about touring was, Jeffries admitted the biggest struggle is usually money. "You go out knowing that you have to spend for everything," he explained. "You got to spend for hotels, you got to spend for food." He assured us though that the rewards of touring are huge. He gets to connect with people through his music and enjoys the traveling, of course.
As a musician, he's been on the road with some big names, opening for bands like Sugar Ray, Gin Blossoms, and Dashboard Confessional. We asked Jeffries, if he could pick any band out there to tour with, his answer wasn't an obvious one: Tedeschi Trucks Band. He thinks their fans are fantastic: "That means you're playing to people that appreciate the musicality of what you're doing."
Right now, Jeffries is a busy man, and besides time on the road, he's working on a video project for one of the singles off his new EP "The Same Song". Jeffries describes it as "a global sort of hymn" because "we're all made out of the same shit."
His uncle who's a hearing aid specialist is teaming up with him and others to create a music video that will be sung and signed in sign language, so fans that can't hear his music will still be able to enjoy music visually. "So you'll be able to watch and hear just to emphasize that we're all the same, even if we can't all hear, and we can't all see, and we can't all walk, we can all feel the same emotions because deep down we're all the same," Jeffries said.
If that doesn't prove Jeffries is kinda a cool dude, there's also the fact that he has no shame when it comes to admitting to have recently sung along to an entire *NSYNC album. It just happened to be in his grandma's car while he was driving it, or so he claims.
"I drove my grandma's car around, and because my sister or little cousin was driving it last, there was an *NSYNC CD in there. And I didn't turn it off, let's just put it that way. I listened to the whole thing, and I sang every single word so I can't say the songs are bad. I don't think you can get much more guilty there." In addition to this admission, he also let us in on a little secret. He's been a fan of Hanson, the brothers from Tulsa who made little girls scream back in the '90s with their hit "MMMBop." But not of their early work, he clarified. Jeffries even went to see them live a few times.
As for the whole music industry debacle as seen in recent documentaries like Artifact, put out by Jared Leto of Thirty Seconds to Mars, Jeffries put in his two cents. "The music business is so backwards, and it's kind of not set up like any other business. People can get whatever they want for free. There's all these outlets for free music and you have big companies, kind of like banks that are trying to keep up with the fact that people are stealing from them.
"I think if a label walked up to me tomorrow and said here's two million dollars to sign with us, yeah I'd be enticed by two million dollars, but as financially rewarding as that would be in the initial phase of it, I still think it would make me think twice."
His biggest fear when it comes to signing is losing creative control over his own music, something he's not willing to sacrifice for any amount of money. "I just could never in my wildest dreams, even if it meant like, 'You're going to be famous, bro.' That isn't enough for me and for a lot of people that are still trying to be credible with their art." For now, Jeffries is enjoying his freedom, something he'd like to hold on to throughout his career.
Catch Jacob Jeffries on September 28, at Orignial Fat Cat's, 320 SW Second St., Fort Lauderdale. Visit facebook.com/originalfatcats.
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