Wednesday, May 3, 2017

INTERVIEW: Jacob Wilson

Jacob Wilson lives in music. From performing in school to his current gig as lead singer of a local band, music has played an integral part in his life from the very beginning. Being able to sing for a band as an out gay man is an added bonus to following his passion. I asked Jacob to talk about what drives him and what’s happening in his life and music.

How did you first get interested in performing?

I first got interested in performing as a child. In first or second grade, we did a class project where we had to learn a magic trick and perform it in front of the class. I'll never forget my mom coming home to my (roughly) 6-ish year old self performing a magic show on our front door step. I went around the neighborhood and sold tickets for fifty cents. I got really into magic and illusions and did that though high school. I took magic very seriously, studying with some of the best illusionists. I performed a few private parties and at some elementary schools as a high school student, and also performed weekly at a local pizza parlor in Visalia. I've always had a mindset for entrepreneurship and hustle.

I've also have always been very into music and acting. I sang and did performance workshops and theatrical shows since a young age. Choir, theatre, I've done it. I remember my first show where I really got bit by the acting bug was "A Christmas Carol" at the Enchanted Playhouse in Visalia, CA directed by Chris Mangels. Since then, it's been almost non stop.

Do you write music as well as perform?

I write a lot of lyrics and am proficient enough to plunk out vocal melodies on a keyboard. I listen to a lot of music so when an instrumentalist shows me a riff, I can kind of hear different versions rhythmically or melodically in my mind. I studied music theory for a while, as well. I've always been more into studying vocal performance technique than theory. Theory is very hard.

Tell us about your band.

Centerpath has been a band for several years. I joined back in November of 2016 after being involved with another project in the Fresno area. I had seen the Centerpath guys play before and had always been very impressed. Things fell through with my former project and I decided to hit up the guys from Centerpath to jam. Apparently, I was the first vocalist who came to audition actually knowing their material, which BLOWS my mind. The dudes and I really hit it off and its history from there. We just won 105.1 The Blaze's Battle of the Bands for Blazefest 2017. As a result of winning, we got the opening slot on Blazefest 2017 at the Paul Paul Amphitheatre with established rock bands Shinedown, Sick Puppies and As Lions as well as a $1,000 Peavey gift card. We've come a long way in a short amount of time and it's very humbling. We're very excited for the future.


What kind of music does the band perform? What is the musical heart of the group?

We are a heavy metal band but our heart is ultimately in it to help others through their own life struggles. The metal community often gets stereotyped as "hypermasculine" and angry but is really, in my opinion, a community that is so loving and accepting

Are you the only LGBT member of the band?

Yes, I am the only LGBT member of the band. The guys have always been very accepting and have shown nothing but love and respect towards me. It's really great to have that support from your band.

Did you come out while in the band or were you already out when you started with them?

I've been out since I was 19. The dudes knew I was gay from the day I came to audition. As I said, it's never been a problem and they're super accepting. Very grateful to have that. 


What are the challenges in the music scene if you’re LGBT?

We haven't really run into any challenges yet. It's 2017 and a lot of perspectives are changing. That being said, we live in our own bubble in a sort of way being in California. It could be an issue when we start touring. Honestly, we are all on the same page with the fact that we don't want money from people who don't support us solely based off my orientation. My sexual preference is my business and doesn't have anything to do with the band and our live show. I just don't see why it should be that big of an issue. If it is an issue to anyone, they can go support another band of their choice. They're not going to stop us from chasing our dreams and achieving them.

One of my big inspirations, vocally and from and LGBT standpoint, is Tyler Carter from ISSUES. He came out as bisexual about a year or two ago, and has had nothing but support from the music scene and fans. It's been very moving to see that happen and watch him be so open about who he is.

What advice would you give to someone who’s interested in becoming a musician?

Work hard every day if you want it to be your career. You won't get ANYWHERE in any field by half assing what you do. The entertainment industry is over saturated, but it's not oversaturated with hard work and perseverance. That's really what it comes down to. Hard work over talent any day. Go to shows. Talk to people. Network. Being a genuine and decent human being will take you further than being a prick. 

What kind of music do you listen to when you want to feel good?

I've always listened to many genres and types of music. I'd say two of my main "feel good" artists are Lady Gaga and Rebelution. On the harder side of music, I love Of Mice and Men. The band has always been a huge influence on me and lyrically writes about REAL stuff people go through. That's very important for me as a lyricist. It's cool to write about ambiguous things and leave songs lyrically open to interpretation, but I tend to lean more towards writing about REAL LIFE situations that people can connect to; regardless of ones race, orientation or gender identity. If music doesn't make me FEEL, there's no point to it to me.

What do you think the greatest power of music is?

The capability to make others feel emotion so intensely. Music literally can save lives. As an artist, that's always been a huge responsibility to me. There's so much negativity in the world. Sometimes it helps one to write about it and get it out, sometimes it's something that might sound pissed off and negative but NEEDS to be said. However, I feel a huge responsibly to uplift and inspire others as an artist. I've always aimed to do that through my art from the beginning.

Where can we connect with you and your band online and what’s up next for you?

Centerpath is on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Bandcamp and SoundCloud. Our debut single "The Day After Tomorrow" is available on all major electronic music distributor platforms for streaming and purchase. We're in the process of recording our first EP, which will feature at lot of the older Centerpath songs vocally reimagined. We're in the process of booking shows over this summer and they'll be announced very soon. Give us a like or follow on any of our social media pages and we hope to see you at a show!

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