Lovesick and There Ain’t No Cure
By Maggie Mitchell
How many people can you say that they started their own record company? Well, add Jacob Whitesides to that exclusive list. Whitesides has been climbing the mountain of fame, and hasn’t stopped since we met him. Yet, he’s still the 18-year-old from Tennessee that Pop Entertainment has grown to love.
With his new tour Whitesides has had his new band behind him at each show city to city. Even touring all over the world Jacob still continues to stay humble. He is selling out shows on each tour, and continuing to fill the venues on a daily basis.
Whitesides is currently on his headlining “Lovesick” tour, titled after his new single. The band is crossing the US, starting in Washington DC, and ending in Colorado. This US tour follows up a jaunt around Europe. Even though Whitesides has been busy on the road, he still always makes time for his fans. Before recent shows he has gone outside just to talk to his fans, just to see how their day has been.
Beyond touring with the EP he released in the fall called “Faces on Film,” his new full-length album is in the works.
Recently our Maggie sat down to talk with Whitesides over the phone. They caught up on all things album and tour, and what Jacob has in store for you in the near future!
Last time we talked to you was at Rock the Red Kettle in December. How have you been since then?
Good. I’ve been fairly busy, but also not busy. It’s been the best of both worlds. I was working on my album for about a month and a half straight, which was really, really great! I finished that up, and went to South America for about three weeks. After that, I just started the US headlining tour. It’s been off to a phenomenal start. Most tours start off really shaky, because it’s a lot to set up. It’s been so beautifully run. I’m really excited about that!
Your second EP “Faces on Film” was released in October, and it’s been a huge success. How has the growing popularity been for you?
It’s been amazing. I feel like my whole career has been a gradual, up and coming thing. It’s never been overwhelming, which I am so thankful for. Sometimes it’s frustrating just seeing what everyone else is doing: like “ugh I wish I was blowing up.” I really have just been so happy with the pace of everything. It felt really good. I’m super thankful for where I am at right now.
When you listen to the new EP you can tell that the lyrics are more mature. You can hear the coming of age between the last EP and the new one. Are they based on personal experiences that you are having in your life?
Absolutely. I’m only 18, but I’ve definitely gone through some intense stuff over the past few years. Everything around my career, relationships and just a lot going on, writing about obviously my personal experience. Also, about this new album, what makes it so freaking awesome is the story-telling aspect of everything. Taking some of my experiences and writing stories has been so fun. Also a challenge, because I really haven’t been able to do that in the past. Not all of them are things I’ve been through, but it’s writing stories from personal experiences. Changing up the story line has been a challenge, but it’s been fun. We did that on a couple of songs.
What was behind your decision to start Double U rather then going with an already established record label?
I did X-Factor three years ago I believe, maybe four years ago. It’s been a while now. I really didn’t make it super far on the show, but I did make a lot of friends that continued to go on in the show. A lot of them signed major deals. Some didn’t. I just watched the difference between the two. I had friends that were really young and passionate about music but didn’t really have a sound yet, or didn’t really have an original, and didn’t start writing. It was sad to me to be watching a major trap them into something that they didn’t want to be necessarily.
From a young age I had an idea of what I wanted to do. Establish my sound first, and develop a following before I ever thought about signing a deal. That’s what I did for a year and a half. Even when I was doing covers, I was building a fan base. It transitioned over into my first EP, where I wrote six songs or whatever. Establishing a sound was really important to me before ever looking into a deal.
Also, most major deals are 360. Which is changing. With the way things are now they are changing because of social media. It’s so much easier to create a following, [so] then it switches from artists needing labels to labels needing artists. I was lucky enough to already have established a sound, and a fan name. EMG, who is my current partner, we created a deal where I could have not only control over my creative vision with music and stuff. I really enjoy getting involved in some of the bigger decisions regarding my career, that involved my fans. I just want to make sure that they are the happiest.
I know sometimes you get left in the dust when you sign 360 deals. You’re not allowed to be on some of those bigger phone calls about bigger things that are going on in your career. It was always important to make sure that I was capable of being involved in some of those decisions. Also just having creativity, and being able to decide the kind of music I want to make and stuff.
Right now you are on your Lovesick Tour. How has that been so far?
It’s been so good. Like I said before, most tours start out so crazy and hectic. Some of the best shows have been the first couple, which is so awesome. Also, I have an amazing crew out on the road with me. I have a whole band out on the road with me. I have a front of house guy who has really been helping with this stuff. Sales are more consistent everyday. The videographer has been capturing so much awesome footage. It’s just really awesome when you get to tour with all of your best friends, and they are just all super talented people. That’s been incredible.
Then also, the fans have just really showed up, and are outside hours before the show. We go outside and hang with fans during the show. It’s just really refreshing being out on another headlining tour. It’s been nice to be able to get back out, and have been playing some new music, which has gone over really well! Lots of exciting stuff. It’s been a great tour so far. It feels like I’ve been out forever, but we’re just getting started. I’m excited.
I saw a video of you going outside with your fans, and just playing music for the people that were waiting. Is that you just doing that for the heck of it or…?
Yeah, I love that I can. My fans have been so relaxed so far. I don’t know if this will ever change, but where I am at right now I am capable of going outside. Sitting down and talking to the fans before a show, and not being like asked for pictures or videos. It’s really awesome just being able to go out and conversate with the fans. It’s always been important to me that conversation comes before anything else. I’ve never really had to ask for that, maybe early on a couple times, but other than that they have always understood. They’ve really appreciated that more than the pictures and stuff. It’s really awesome being able to go outside before a sold-out show, and talk to the fans because that’s so rare for most artists. I try to take advantage of that as much as possible, because that’s a great feeling just being able to talk to people.
Now that you have such a big set list with all your new music on it, what’s your favorite song to perform?
“Lovesick” has been pretty fun. I feel like that is the song everyone is excited about right now, because it’s the new single. I put my guitar down for it, which I don’t do very often. I dance around like an idiot. That one has been really super fun to do live!
What has been the best crowd on tour so far?
I really loved Toronto. I mean Canadians are freaking awesome in general. They are so sweet. It was just a great venue great crowd! Overall, that was one of my favorite shows! DC was also great! It was the first show of the tour, and I didn’t expect it to go as well as it did. It was pretty freaking awesome. All the shows have been great.
Have you had any fan experiences during M&G’s that have stood out on tour?
I’ve had a couple. This tour is just pretty wild. All my M&G’s have been sold out. I’ve been meeting more fans than ever! It’s been really refreshing. A majority of my tours almost felt like I was meeting the same fans every time. Which, I was completely okay with, but it’s been cool this time meeting some newer fans! I’ve also had couples that have come to the show, like boyfriend and girlfriend couples, which has been really, really rad because I’ve never experienced that before. It’s been interesting just seeing how it’s changed a little bit since I have developed. Just seeing the difference in the people that are showing up to my M&G’s. That’s been really cool on this tour.
Being on tour means you’re away from your family. What’s it like being away from them?
It’s upsetting. I get homesick really easy, but I also Facetime them all the time. My mom is crazy; she drove 12 hours the other day to come see me in New York. They always do something special, and will always drive out, or fly out to see me. I never get too homesick because they’re always trying to see me. It’s great. I do miss home in general though. I’ve been having so much fun on tour that I really haven’t thought about that.
FAN QUESTIONS: What inspired the album title?
I haven’t announced the album title yet, but it was inspired by one of the songs on the record that is my person favorite. It was a big self-reflecting song. I wrote it after I had a rough couple of days. It was just reflecting on everything that was happening in my life. It inspired me a lot, so I named the album after it!
If you had to change your name what would you change it to?
I don’t know. I really like my name. If I had to change it, I would change it to something so easy to spell like Bo, or Joe. I hate writing it. My name is so long!
Especially because Whitesides is so long!
Yeah. (laughs) I would change it to Jacob Joe, or something like that!
If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go and who would you bring?
Definitely Australia. I would take my mom and sister because they haven’t travelled a ton yet. They haven’t even been out of the country. I’ve been really wanting to go over to Australia, because everyone talks so highly of it, and my fans over there are so freaking sweet. I would definitely go over there, and do a couple shows and take my family.
Last Question: What can your fans expect from you in the future?
The album drops in September, I believe September 8th, I may be wrong. It’s going to be like 13 or 14 new songs, which is the most I’ve ever released at once. So, that is really exciting! This fall I should be heading back over to Europe, which is really freaking awesome! From there on hopefully Australia, Asia early next year! Lots of travelling, and lots of new music!
Copyright ©2016 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: June 7, 2016.
Photos ©2016 Ruth Bekele.