An Interview with Musician Jacob Davich
When Jacob Davich was 12, he went to the Rose Bowl Flea Market in Pasadena, CA. What started out as a morning of tagging along while his mom shopped turned into the day that would kickstart Jacob’s music career. Right outside this flea market, casting directors were auditioning for a new TV commercial project. Jacob’s natural confidence in a performance setting shone through, as he proceeded to rap Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” in front of a group of strangers. Jacob would later find out that 600 people auditioned for this commercial, and Jacob was selected as one of five to star in what would be the first iTunes commercial.
Since then, Jacob has developed into a talented and driven actor and musician. I had the privilege of getting to interview Jacob to discuss his transition from acting to music, his inspiration and his passion for his work.
SJ: So Jacob, after you booked your iTunes commercial, what happened next to progress your career in the entertainment industry?
JD: Well, I forget which one it was, but either Martin Scorsese or Leonardo DiCaprio saw the commercial and thought I looked like a young Leo. So from there I was cast in “The Aviator.” That eventually led to me getting a manager, and though I stayed in school I also did “Mr. Woodcock,” “The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl” and “The Virginity Hit,” as well as some random episodic work through high school.
SJ: You’re more focused on music now, how did that transition happen?
JD: As I got older, I stopped feeling acting as much; I’ve always been more comfortable and more passionate with music. I think I’m a better musician than actor.
SJ: When did you get your start with music?
JD: I fell into music at age 12, and started with piano at either age 15 or 16. My dad also has savvy with the industry (he’s a respected composer), so he helped and additionally gave me piano lessons. I took guitar lessons too, and learned music through repetitive practice – learning songs note for note. And for the past year I’ve been taking voice lessons every week.
SJ: What’s your favorite genre of music, and where do you find your musical inspiration?
JD: I’m definitely more into older music, like from the 60s and 70s. James Taylor, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Elton John, Fleetwood Mac, Steely Dan and John Denver are some of my favorite artists, and my favorite album is probably Joni Mitchell’s “Blue.” I also find inspiration in just every day life.
SJ: You just released your first EP, entitled “Jacob Davich.” Will you tell me about the process of recording that?
JD: It was great! I do all my own writing and I own everything I write, and hold myself to a high standard. And I mostly write my music first. I did the tracking for the EP in only two days, and played all the guitar for it as well. I arranged everything with my dad, and recorded at this cool, vintage studio called Ocean Way Studios.
“I believe that the voice is the most genuine instrument there is.”
SJ: You’ve recently started performing your music live – tell me how that has been?
JD: I love performing. I find music more powerful in person. I also think that background vocals are better live, and that they are the most underrated and sometimes misused musical tools, especially live. I believe that the voice is the most genuine instrument there is.
SJ: I listened to your EP and thoroughly enjoyed it, and one thing that intrigued me was its blend of genres. How would you define your music style?
JD: I would describe it as “folk rock.” I want to make very real, organic and authentic music that is refreshing. I appreciate music made from human hands.
SJ: Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians?
JD: I don’t know if I’m in the position to give advice yet. But I guess I would say let the song do most of the work. Stick to the bare bones of whatever it is you’re starting to write.
“Hard work beats talent every time.”
SJ: And what’s the best piece of advice that you’ve been given?
JD: Hard work beats talent every time. The most successful people are the ones who work harder than others. Talented workers plus hard workers equals superstars.
SJ: When you’re not in the studio, what are you up to?
JD: I teach guitar lessons to young kids, as well as teach an after-school music program to 5th-7th graders at the Clairbourn School in San Gabriel. I teach them what they want to learn. I have the kids bring lists of five songs each work and then we learn the most viable ones in terms of guitar. Outside of that, I spend a lot of time playing and writing.
SJ: So what’s next for you Jacob?
JD: I’m aiming for a new CD, but I’m just keeping up with recording songs. I may just release singles or I may do another EP. The path will make itself clear. I’m taking things one step at a time.
Quick takes about Jacob Davich:
Ideal person to open for: Marcus Mumford
Favorite cover to perform: “Shed a Little Light” by James Taylor or “It Goes Like It Goes” by Jennifer Warnes.
Favorite song from your EP: “Don’t Run Don’t Hide.” I get the most energy from it, and it’s the most up-tempo song on the EP.
First live performance: July 2015 at the Hotel Café in Hollywood.
Favorite performance: A benefit concert for the Pasadena Educational Foundation in October to support music in schools – there was so much energy!
You can find Jacob’s self-titled EP on iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud, Amazon or his website. Photos by Steve Garrett.
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