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From popping up at jazz jams with his trombone to keeping the rhythm section tight with his bass guitar, multi-instrumentalist Jacob seems to be everywhere at the moment. In between showcasing his impressive array of beats and giving his best blue-steel impression, he gave us an insight into life as a musician…
Introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
My name is Jacob May. I am an 18 year old vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and producer.
What are your aspirations as a musician and how are you going to get there?
Eventually I want to sell my own music in my own name, or as a group amongst friends if I’m lucky enough. The perfect example would be Ezra Collective.
You see people like Joe Armon-Jones in the group who is also killing it with his own personal projects, not to mention Femi Koleoso, who was previously Jorja Smith’s drummer and is now part of Gorillaz
What was the last song you listened to that made you feel something?
I can’t lie man, while having a proper dig back into some old Alfa Mist, there was something about ‘Falling’ featuring Kaya Thomas-Dyke on vocals, off his album ‘Structuralism’, that made me so emotionally attached to so many different things.
Whether that be the songwriting, the instrumentation or how the music was sonically. Whenever I listen to ‘Falling’ I get goosebumps every time, leaving me inspired to look more into sound design and have more of a range of instruments in my music.
Give me a your ideal band, you’re playing bass, who are the others?
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately after numerous conversations with people who are keen to get writing and making some music. I’d look at my lineup in two ways. The way I’m looking to write music is both with my vocals and also instrumental.
This is heavily inspired by a saxophonist and producer named Venna. He has a project out which is part instrumental and part vocal. So, in an instrumental situation, I’d be on bass, my friend Lucia, would be on keys, vocals and trumpet. I’d have my bro Ebz on drums and then the one and only Ben Glasser on electric guitar.
In a situation where I’d be on vocals, I’m absolutely spoiled for choice for a bassist. I could have Kavi, Kobe or Patch on bass, in a situation where they could all take part or have gigs at a time because they’re all killing bassists and amazing people.
This also made me think about how when I’m not singing, I could also hop on trombone, for a melody or when soloing. I feel like this group could really hold it down well. It gets me excited just speaking about it, let alone actually playing with them.
Do you feel nervous before a gig? How do you cope?
My honest answer is, no, not really. Since I’ve started doing gigs, I’ve kept this mentality of ‘treat it just like practice’ and I almost picture as if not a single person is there watching me, so I have nothing to worry about. While having good energy on stage is key, I‘ve really been working on holding it down and keeping things simple.
How do you feel about the future?
I’m quite excited about what the future holds. Every now and then it’s very easy to get ahead of myself and have flashes of seeing my name in shining lights, going on tour, the things you dream of as a musician. But, obviously, these things don’t come without grit, determination and hard work. So, right now I’m just trying my best to stay grounded, continuing to work hard, taking the right paths and guidance from people, with the hopes of achieving big and that good things come my way eventually.