Artist in the office: Jacob Jeffries Band
Its only July, but its already been a long year for the members of Jacob Jeffries Band.
A piano pop-rock trio from Fort Lauderdale, the band has had a whirlwind year of writing,recording, touring around the eastern U.S. and producing a pair of music videos for their new album, Tell Me Secrets.
Its been fun, said Jacob Jeffries, 24, the bands lead singer and keyboardist. Exhausting sometimes, but mostly inspiring and fun. The music videos have been a highlight for me. The two music videos weve put out, Crazy Under The Moon and Suffocate My Heart are the first music videos this band has ever seen come to life for us.
All the recent projects have led to a surge in popularity for the band. The first video, Crazy Under The Moon, was released in late March and has more than 58,000 views on YouTube. Suffocate My Heart debuted on MTV.coms Buzzworthy blog June 21.
Tell Me Secrets has received positive reviews from The New York Times, The Miami Herald and Chris Carrabba, the lead singer of Dashboard Confessional, among others.
Jeffries considers Tell Me Secrets, their fourth album, the best representation of the band.
The previous records were like experiments, in a way, he said. Our producers are awesome, but up until now, a lot of our records were done with studio musicians and doctored in the studio. This one, we involved (guitarist Jimmy Powers V) for the entire album. He played guitar on the whole album. (Drummer Eric Julian Jackowitz) played drums on a handful of tracks and then we had some studio musicians come in. It was like a hybrid of what weve done in the past and where were going. Its the stepping stone to our future of recording as a band.
The bands credentials cant be understated.
In 2008, the band played at the South By Southwest Music Festival, and Jeffries also made a solo appearance at the Sundance Film Festival. The same year, the band won the Best New Artist award at Floridas Grammy Showcase.
One of Jeffries proudest achievements was winning the 34th Semi-Annual Shootout at Eddies Attic in Atlanta in 2011, a contest that draws talent from the whole country.
That was set up like a bracket-style, NCAA March Madness kind of thing with all these artists competing. It came down to the final two and we won that, he said. Youre automatically in the category of previous winners like John Mayer, the Indigo Girls and all these names.
Jeffries also has a background in musical theatre and had a small cameo as the on-screen keyboardist in Tom Cruises band in the feature film Rock of Ages.
For lead guitarist Powers, its more about making genuine music with his friends and finding success on their own terms.
We have all these kind of cool things, but I think what Im most proud of is that Im still with an original band, he said. I dont have to do corporate gigs and wedding gigs. Holding on to that and really seeing that through is what Im most proud of, instead of all these achievements.
With a growing fan base in their most common touring grounds up and down the east coast. Jackowitz recalled his surprise at getting recognized as the drummer of the Jacob Jeffries Band at a Trader Joes in Boston.
Chemistry between the three was obvious, as none of them passed up an opportunity for impromptu humor. At one point Jackowitz took over the interview, asking his bandmates what their on-stage spirit animal would be.
Jeffries said an old-fashioned cheetah complete with monocle,hat and three-piece suit. Powers said he would be Archimedes from The Sword in the Stone, and Jackowitz said he would be a bulldog.
The band is now set for a big career step, moving away from its South Florida home and heading to New York City full-time in August.
You go where the work is, Powers said. Its kind of clich (to move to New York), but if youre having success somewhere else, then youve got to give it a try.
Even as its fan base continues to grow, and Jacob Jeffries Band plays at bigger events, the band cherishes the fact that its work can have a positive effect on individuals.
This girl in Connecticut wrote that (Tell Me Secrets) is a great summer album and how she cant wait to get in her car and just drive listening to this album, Jeffries said. Man, thats so flattering and exactly what we want.
To Jackowitz, thats really what its all about.
We want to be on your iPod, he said.