Interviews

Jacob Jeffries Plans on Going Electric, but Not Before Saturday's For the Love Fest

It can be easy to get nothing done when you're in limbo between a move and a move. Broward native, piano man Jacob Jeffries, is fighting all sloth after leaving New York and staying in Plantation, waiting to join his actress girlfriend in Los Angeles.

He's keeping his fingers and voice very busy. He just played a gig at Will Call as a Billy Joel concert after-party and he'll be performing at For the Love music festival on Saturday. The event is meant to celebrate the local scene that got Jeffries tickling the ivories. "Growing up, there was nothing going on in Fort Lauderdale, so I'm glad they've been able to hipster it up."

The 26-year old figures he's played thousands of gigs since he was a 15 in Fort Lauderdale. He started playing outside a Starbucks in Pembroke Pines for tips and store credit. Before long though, a high school friend put him in touch with a couple industry heavyweights. By the age of 18, the piano playing, songwriting prodigy had a publishing deal with Warner Bros. After several critically acclaimed albums, including last year's Neighborhood Night, Jeffries is looking to expand his horizons out West.

See also: Jacob Jeffries on Still Playing Piano, Front and Center Stage

"I want to get out of my comfort zone, meet some new writers and get some good co-writers and get into the electronic world." After thinking of what he just said, Jeffries wants to emphasize that he's not looking to be the new Skrillex. "I'm always going to be more successful and comfortable on a piano with a guitar, bass, and drums. I just want to get the speed and accuracy of the engineering of electronics. I want to learn the shortcuts to creating alternative sounds and get an analog/digital hybrid." He mentions acts like Tumbleweed Wanderers and Dawes as those which exemplify "the analog approach with soundscapy stuff."

As a man who has lived in South Florida, New York, and soon Los Angeles along with all of his touring, it would seem difficult to move his instrument, the piano, to every one of these stops. Jeffries laughs at that thought. "Ninety percent of my shows are with my keyboard a Yamaha S90 that has that piano-ey sound. Sometimes a venue has a piano like the Van Dyke on South Beach had an awesome grand. 'Tell Me Secrets' in 2012 was recorded on two Baldwin pianos. But my last one 'Neighborhood Nights' was a jigsaw puzzle with Steinways and a couple different keyboards."

At his performance on Saturday, he'll be pounding his trusty Yamaha, accompanied by good buddy James Powers V on guitar, Matt Calderin on drums, and Josh Diaz on bass. Jeffries is feeling good about who he will be taking the stage with. "Like any good sports team, the roster is always shifting. But we're going to get swampy," he assures.

For the Love, noon to 11 p.m. Saturday, February 7, at C&I Studios, Next Door, and the Garden, 541 NW First Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $35 for general admission and $200 for VIP, which includes open bar, preferred seating, and parking. The festival is all ages. Visit c-istudios.com and exposedprandevents.com.

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David Rolland is a freelance writer for New Times Broward-Palm Beach and Miami New Times. His novel, The End of the Century, published by Jitney Books, is available at many fine booksellers.
Contact: David Rolland