At the young age of 17, Garrett Jacobs won over music icons Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan during his audition for Season 16 of American Idol and quickly captivated the hearts of America as well, earning him a spot in the show’s Top 14.
Now, at age 20, Jacobs is making a name for himself in country music and has already shared the stage with stars such as Colbie Caillat, fellow country artists Jon Langston and Riley Green, and has played at the infamous Whiskey Jam in Nashville, TN.
Jacobs is preparing for the release of his new single, “Young Love,” which will be released this Friday (April 24th), and is excited to get back out on the road to sing for his fans. In the meantime, Celeb Secrets Country got to chat with the singer Luke Bryan called “beautiful and raw” to learn about his new music, his favorite moments on the road, and what his hidden talent is!
Celeb Secrets Country: You grew up in a military family in Louisiana. Was your family musical at all? When was the moment that made you realize you wanted to pursue music full time?
Garrett Jacobs: “My family has always loved music; they weren’t necessarily musicians. My mom sang in church and my dad listened to a bunch of classic rock music and that’s kind of what I grew up around. Music is something that I have always just felt drawn to, there were moments where I would sing and people would look at me and say ‘hey that was kind of good’ and I would think ‘yeah, maybe I could do this’.”
CSC: You auditioned for American Idol with your own version of James Brown’s “It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World.” What was the inspiration for choosing that as your audition song?
GJ: “At that time I was a lot more tapped into the soul influence of my artistry than I was the country influence; I hadn’t discovered that yet. I was riding down in the car (from Shreveport since my audition was in New Orleans) and I didn’t like the song that I had chosen, and I pulled out my guitar and played that one and my mom was like, ‘Garret you need to sing that’. I basically chose the song in the car on the way down [to the audition].”
CSC: You performed at Nashville’s well known Whiskey Jam at the young age of 18 (the age to attend is 21+), what was that experience like and how were you invited?
GJ: “It was so exciting because, at the time (I performed there on I think my first night ever in Nashville), I didn’t know how big of a deal that was. I loved the atmosphere there and I love Ward [Guenther, Whiskey Jam founder], he is such a great guy. But I didn’t know how big of a deal it was until I had been in Nashville for a bit to realize how much of a privilege it was. And thank God they let me play when I was only 18!”
CSC: For sure! Did they let you stay and enjoy the night or did you have to play and immediately leave?
GJ: “No, I got to stick around for a while I just had Xs on my hands. Nobody wants to break the law here (laughs).”
CSC: One thing about Whiskey Jam is you have to play all original songs, what songs did you choose to play?
GJ: “Oh, I was such a baby songwriter then. The songs I chose to play, they were nothing like the sound now. The only one I really remember was the first song I ever wrote. I don’t remember the other two honestly.”
CSC: Speaking of firsts. Your first ever music video was for your song “Just Like You” and it debuted at #5 on CMT’s 12 Pack Countdown. What was your reaction to that successful of a debut?
GJ: “I grew up seeing music videos on TV everywhere that I went, so being able to have people from my hometown sending me videos of me being on their TV screen on CMT, it was really, just like, mind blowing. I talked to the producers over there and they told me it (the video debut) was going to happen but when it really did it was so surreal.”
CSC: What was it like filming the video?
GJ: “Filming the video was so fun. Actually some of it we had to do on a whim because it rained for half of the day and almost the entire music video is outside. I loved the crew that we worked with and we got to have one of my friends (Sofie Rovenstein) who modeled for Victoria’s Secret earlier that year; she was the girl in the music video and it was really fun working with her. Also we filmed it down in Leiper’s Fork and that’s my favorite place in town, there’s so much history there. The restaurant that we used was The Country Boy and that’s my favorite hamburger in town. It [the video] encompassed a lot of my favorite things about Nashville and we had a lot of fun with it.”
CSC: You enjoy going out on the road and performing for your fans when you can. What are some memories you have from time on the road? Any favorite music venues?
GJ: “I absolutely love going out on the road. It’s probably my favorite thing about this job; getting to meet new people. One of my favorite musical moments was [from] a guy when I played at Live Oaks Bar in Monroe who was front row, center and he was screaming every single word to every song that I played. I wasn’t even headliner but he was still completely into it, that entire room was insane. He came up to me after the show and he was like, ‘hey man, I’m actually active duty and I really appreciate what you do because it helps guys like me who have been on tours and have seen really tough stuff. It helps us have some relief and remember the good things in life.’ Knowing that one performance lifts somebody up like that is crazy and it blows my mind. I think that’s probably one of my favorite musical moments on tour. I’ll always remember that.”
CSC: You have been posting Quaran-Tunes videos online for fans to watch. Other than that, how has your quarantine been going? Has it inspired any new material for you?
GJ: “I’m spending my time making content to put out there because obviously I love what I do, but I’m also really trying to connect with everybody via socials since I can’t be on the road right now. Also in doing that, being home with my family and also trying to connect with them a lot more since I’m out in Nashville now and I don’t always have the time. I’ve been really living in thankfulness of being around them and spending a lot of time with my little brother. He’s 14 and I’m 20 so now that I’m out of the house I’m trying to be somewhat of a good influence on him. He’s a freshman so I’m trying to help him navigate his way through high school because I know it’s really weird.”
CSC: And one thing I noticed is that you were into sports as well and not just music in high school.
GJ: “Oh yeah, I played baseball and football and did music at the same time. Actually for football I had to gain like, 25 pounds in about 3 months, so I just ate a lot of my mom’s cooking.”
CSC: Earlier you had mentioned the fan who was active duty and what he told you after the show. What is one thing you want people to take away from listening to your music?
GJ: “The main thing I want them to take away is that this is my heart; it is in my music. At the same time my purpose for being on this Earth is to make music for people and I want them to know that they also have a purpose, no matter what it is and no matter if they haven’t found it yet, but it is out there. I want to connect with people in that way to show them that they do have a purpose in this world.”
CSC: You’re working a lot with producer Jason Massey on upcoming music. What is it like working with him?
GJ: “Jason Massey. He is one of the coolest guys ever and he’s so simple, but at the same time is so amazing to be in a room with when you’re writing a song. I know that there have been so many times that we’ve been stuck, and he’s so quiet in a room, but when everybody gets stuck he’ll just say one thing after being quiet for a while and it will move the write along. I love writing with him and I love recording with him even more because so many times we will be trying to find either new melodies or something to do with the track and our minds go to the exact same place, almost like we are on the same wavelength. He knows exactly where I want to go. I really appreciate what he does.”
CSC: And speaking of upcoming music, your new single “Young Love” comes out this Friday (4.24). What was the inspiration behind that?
GJ: “For that song, I had the idea right before I went into the writing room with Michael Whitworth and Jason Massey. I wanted to write a song about everybody’s first love whether it be people who are older than me that have experienced it when they were in high school or people that are in high school now that can’t really have their prom because of what is going on [in the quarantine]. I wanted it to be more reminiscent than sad. It is a really upbeat, fun song that is about heartbreak but at the same time is more reminiscent, about what you take away from that and how you grow through that. I wanted people to look at this and know that there’s more than heartbreak.”
CSC: Do you have any exciting plans once the quarantine is lifted that you can tell us about?
GJ: “The main thing that I’m really looking forward to is this summer, currently, I have a tour going on. I’m going across the south east and I’m so pumped for that and pumped to get on the road. Currently it hasn’t been postponed and I hope it stays that way. I’ll be in St. Louis, Myrtle Beach, Nashville, all the way even down to Orlando and Delray, so I’m really excited. And later this year hopefully I’ll get to write a lot more songs.”
CSC: Lastly, you are talking to Celeb Secrets Country, so we have to ask. What is a secret or hidden talent you have?
GJ: “I’m not going to say I’m the best, because I’m not, but my mom taught me a lot about what to do in the kitchen so I can cook some pretty good dishes.”