Since his debut in 2015, Australian singer/songwriter Jacob Lee has independently rallied an army behind his music. Veering from traditional distribution methods, he is now becoming recognised as one of the first innovators of the music NFT space. This Gold Coast based 27-year-old has garnered just under 200 million streams and 250 million views as a solo artist, and with a new album on the way, Jacob is set to break more records as he launches a completely new project, under an unexpected new sound.
Q1: Please, tell us a little about yourself and your work?
After an independent music career of seven years, I feel confident enough to say I’m both an entrepreneur and an artist. My career started on the street, busking in a suburb called Surfers Paradise. I had a left-handed Takamine guitar, battery-powered Roland amp, and a dodgy folder o plastic sleeves which held my lyrics and chords. I had zero clue what the music industry was, or how to operate within it. All these years later however, I head my own independent record label, Philosophical Records. As well as a Web3/NFT oriented media group, Lowly Labs. Even though
songwriting has always been my primary focus, I’ve never been able to steer clear of the marketing and business side of things.
Touching on the psychological aspect, I’ve always been intrigued by what moves people. Triggering an emotional response is my primary intention when I write music, and that intent carries through my marketing strategies. In my opinion, a good campaign demonstrates a harmonious relationship between the art and promotional material. Executing both well, results in a genuinely immersive experience. As I dive deeper into web3, community immersion is something I’ve become very interested in. The possibilities to construct experiences are endless, and I believe my holistic approach will provide many memorable and authentic experiences for those who get involved.
Q2: What drives you to achieve your goals?
This is going to sound pretty meta, so apologies in advance. I’m driven by the ripple effect of consequences. I’m so viscerally aware of how words and actions affect the outcome of things, and so I try to maneuver in a manner which causes the least amount of catastrophe to those around me. The primary goal when anyone shares music, or content in general, is to spread a message. One may write a song to attain commercial success, another may write to satisfy their own artistic cravings. I try to sit somewhere in the middle. Writing authentic music whilst still setting commercial goals. This requires a slight sacrifice on both accounts, though I’ve found this method to be the most fulfilling, lucrative and efficient.
Q3: Aside from music, do you have any other interests or pastimes?
Family time, surfing, reading, and anything related to fitness.
Q4: How do you and your audience get along while you’re performing?
Throughout the majority of my career, my performances have been stripped back and acoustic. If I’m honest, this was because I didn’t have enough budget to fly with a band, nor enough to purchase additional weight on a plane. Luckily, my listeners enjoyed the intimacy so I ran with it until I was generating enough to properly hire the people I wanted. Like most artists, Covid killed my touring stride, so unfortunately I’m yet to give my listeners the updated experience I’ve been envisioning fortwo years. Instead, I’ve tripled down on creating virtual experiences, which are currently all in the form of NFTs. This year I’d like to flesh each NFT collection out into its own interactive experience. My relationship with my audience has always been intimate, and even though I’m in the midst of rescheduling my Europe/UK tour for the fifth time, the intimacy has surprisingly retained its strength through social media. I miss the innate reaction I used to experience on stage, I remember being consistently taken aback by the sheer volume of the crowd.
As well as by the fact that everyone knew my lyrics, especially in countries where they barely spoke english. Though as Covid (seemingly)dies down, I’m sure 2023 will make up for time lost. It’ll be like a reunion, and with all the experience I’ve accumulated in web3, I’ll be sure to implement POAP’s (Proof of attendance protocol’s), and exclusive digital collectibles to make my shows even more special.
Q5: How did it all start?
Two distinct interests sparked my fascination with music. Writing and singing. In primary school I’ often stay up scrolling Google Images for photos or illustrations that piqued my interest. I’d develop imaginary worlds based on the images I found, and then show my parents in the morning before school. I was one of those kids who loved English and hated maths. Any time we were asked to do creative writing I was into it, anything analytical and fact driven bored me. My dad was my introduction to acoustic guitar, he also encouraged me to join the school orchestra where I played
French Horn. My mum would wake up early multiple times a week to drive me to the vast array of choirs I was in.
Reminiscing now, I really feel as though my creative passion was fostered, and I believe that’s shaped me into who I am as an artist.
Q6: Do you have an inherent ability to generate lyrics for songs?
Through practice, yes. I’ve always adored words, and I’m unable to recall a time where I wasn’t either writing songs,poetry, or short stories.
Q7. Does your music always convey a message of devotion? How?
Not as such, the topic varies depending on what I’m feeling in the session. Maybe it comes across that way because I’ve never written for the sake of pleasing the music industry. Nor have I written to catch the latest trends. Artistry has always been more important to me, and I don’t think that’ll change. As you can probably gather from this article, I tend to romanticise my thought process. I feel it lends itself to deeper, more contemplative songs. To me, the power of a song is derived from its authenticity. I honestly rarely have any preconceived notions as to what topic I want to touch on when I write, I just try to let the narrative emerge from the moment