When Jacob Jeffries was growing up in Broward County, his parents filled their household with music. Pianist, singer, and songwriter Jeffries says they "impressed upon us so immensely the Beatles, James Taylor, Paul Simon, old doo-wop. There was never silence in the house." Of his and his sister's verbal and musical abilities, he added, "Soon after we learned to talk, we learned to sing along to everything."
The Jacob Jeffries Band makes piano-driven pop music. Besides Jeffries, there are two core members and one rotating bassist. The regulars are guitarist Jimmy Powers V and drummer Eric Jackowitz. The three are all from the Davie area and met in high school. Of Powers, Jeffries points out, "He was a senior; I was a freshman. I really looked up to him as a musician." Luckily, Powers accepted the younger singer, and they've been friends and collaborators ever since.
In 2007, Jeffries' father passed away unexpectedly right before they were set to put out their first EP, Life as an Extra. "He was at the forefront of all of my thoughts," Jeffries admits. "My dad's name was Jeffrey. I kind of adopted his first name as my 'stage name'... I just like having him attached to me all the time."
His birth name runs a little less smoothly off the tongue: Groten. "I've always been short, I'm like five-foot-seven," Jeffries says. "In middle school, I was much shorter than everybody. They always used to call me Jacob Gro-ten inches." Recently, upon meeting the beautiful girlfriend of a singer friend, "One of the first things she says to me [is] 'You look taller in pictures.' "
Though Jeffries makes music full-time, he spends his summers working at a musical theater company, Lovewell Institute for the Creative Arts in Davie, writing musicals from scratch with teenagers. "It's not even work; it's a blast," he emphasizes. The institute has been around for more than a decade and has facilities all around the world, with, according to him, its biggest program at Nova Southeastern University. He calls it "the most fantastic collaborative program I've ever seen in my life for teenagers."
Jeffries didn't study music but took chorus and musical-theater classes in high school. He believes this helped his vocal performances. After half a semester at Broward Community College, he dropped out. "I was too lazy, thought I'd make more music and get people to know who I am," he says. "Then, I really didn't care about English." He, of course, doesn't bring this up at the summer camp, joking that he tells the students, "Guys, don't worry about college; it's not a big deal." But he does think the college experience is irreplaceable and feels he missed out on it. On the road since he was 18, traveling through college towns, he opted for one lifestyle instead of the other, calling it "a decent, fair trade."
Tell Me Secrets
The Jacob Jeffries Band opened for the Gin Blossoms and Sugar Ray. It has put out three releases prior to this newest LP, Tell Me Secrets, which will be released on Boom Boom 88, a label created by Jeffries and business partners. "I'm very pumped. This is our first release in over three years," he says, adding that the industry emphasizes frequency, asking artists to produce more and more. "This is hopefully the start of more to come."
The actual product itself, he says, is definitely his best yet. While before the band's albums were written by himself alone and the sound molded with the help of studio musicians, this album is more collaborative. He cowrote some songs with other band members, noting, "This is presently where our heads are at. Now it represents more of what people see of us live."
We don't even know where to begin with Jacob Jeffries Band other than to say that we're INSTA-STANS. The South Florida pop-rockers just released Tell Me Secrets, their fourth studio album, and it's already garnering crazy buzz from fans AND from famous people! The band's piano-driven rock sound (think Gavin DeGraw meets Ben Folds) has made a fan out of Dashboard Confessional's Chris Carrabba who, in a recent article called Jacob "incredible." NBD, whatsoever. If for some strange reason that hasn't gotten you fully revved, then how about the fact that the band recorded a sick cover of Justin Bieber's "Boyfriend"? Because that happened, and it's amazing and you should watch it. Twenty times, at least.
Watch Jacob Jeffries Band's "Suffocate My Heart" video after the jump.
So, without further hyperbolic ado (because I know we're prone to histrionics, especially where cute boys are concerned) we're in love with Jacob Jeffries Band's brand-new video, "Suffocate My Heart." (Sorry. Being effusive again.) The single-take video show the boys in band rehearsal happily performing their new song. The dudes are all "look how excited I am to be playing my instrument!" which actually works perfectly with the record's aw-shucks, happy go-lucky vibe. Oh, but next thing we know, we're witnessing a borderline private moment where Jacob hops into bed and tries to seduce this chick (hi, jealous). But things return to PG status when confetti magically falls from the sky, and band practice turns into a huge dance party. Because that's the kind of magic that happens when Jacob Jeffries hits on you. Not that we'd know from personal experience, but we're more than willing to volunteer. Just putting that out there.