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20 Questions With Rich Jacques

The Grammy winner on his soft-rock jones, IKEA possibilities and Italian dreams.

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Grammy-winning singer-songwriter and producer Rich Jacques taught us that Joy Follows Like a Shadow That Never Leaves when he shared his single and video by that name HERE in September. The title track to his most recent album, the song showcased a sonic style that is powerful, yet simple and direct. Something else simple and direct: His answers to my dim-bulb questions. Though I doubt much joy followed for him. See what he had to say below:

 


 

Introduce yourself: Name, age (feel free to lie), home base, other details you’d like to share (height, weight, identifying marks, astrology sign, your choice).
Rich Jacques. Currently living in Monticeto, California. 6’3”. Pisces.

What is your musical origin story?
Well, I started playing guitar when I was 11 … I became obsessed and it’s all I wanted to do … and amazingly I’m still doing it!

What do we need to know about your latest project?
It’s a real labor of love. I wanted it to be simple, honest and pure. I’ve actually tried to make this record for about six years and finally it started to click. It’s strange how over the course of time, and life experience, you wake up with a different insight and sensibility toward what you’re doing.

What truly sets you apart from other artists?
Hmm. Well, I think every artist, as you become more true to yourself, becomes unique.

What will I learn or how will my life improve by listening to your music?
I hope it provides a space for stillness. There is so much action in the world, it’s important to relax and look inside. I hope this record gives permission for that experience.

Tell us about the first song you wrote and / or the first gig you played and what you got paid.
The first gig I played was when I was 13 living in Wisconsin at a neighborhood block party and it was life changing! I was a shy kid, so getting all that positive attention performing was incredibly fulfilling.

What is the best / worst / strangest / most memorable performance you gave?
The strangest was playing at a coffee shop in Scotland with my friend Renee Stahl. We took the train from London to do the gig. We had been doing a whole coffee shop series with Cafe Nero. We showed up and there were four people there. Two were on the phone the whole time. And two were literally deaf. We played for about a half hour and then just started that uncontrollable laughter you get when things just get too ridiculous, and called the set early. The next day heading back on the train, a guy came up to me as I was putting my guitar in the overhead and asked, ‘Were you playing at Cafe Nero last night?’ I said yes, and he said, ‘I was on my phone but I was listening and I loved it.’ He then bought four CDs from me and handed them out to the people next to him on the train telling them, ‘You have to hear this. They’re brilliant!’ So you just never know.

What is the best / worst / strangest / most memorable performance you’ve seen another artist give?
I saw Colbie Caillat open up for The Goo Goo Dolls in L.A. right after her first album came out. It was clear she hadn’t had much experience on stage before, and left the audience all a bit holding their breath to see if she would make it through the set. To her credit though, I saw her years later and she was incredibly confident and poised.

What do you want to be doing in 10 years?
Living In Italy and have my life look like a long artist retreat … being creative with friends in the day and big group dinners at night.

What living or dead artists would you collaborate with if you could?
David Bowie.

What artist or style of music do you love that would surprise people?
’70s soft rock!

What are your favourite songs / albums / artists right now?
Currently I have a newfound obsession with Bob Marley. The music is so simple and pure and cuts straight to the heart. It instantly puts you in a positive mood.

How about some other favourites: Authors, movies, painters, you name it.
I’m a big film fan. There are so many, but Groundhog Day and Jaws are my returning favourites. Recently, I thought Chernobyl on HBO was brilliant.

Who would you be starstruck to meet?
Maybe Dave Chappelle.

What superpower do you want and how would you use it?
Definitely the ability to fly … I’d use it to fly.

What skills — useful or useless — do you have outside of music?
I’ve been doing transcendental meditation for the last 15 years. It’s been an amazing tool in life and creativity.

What do you collect?
Phrases.

If I had a potluck, what would you bring?
I’d probably bring some kind of pie.

What current trend or popular thing do you not understand at all?
I still don’t get the hip-sing voice.

If you could have any other job besides music, what would it be and why?
The greeter at IKEA. I kinda look the part and it seems really chill.

What’s the best advice and/or worst advice you were ever given?
Worst advice was my dad telling me being an artist isn’t a career.

Watch Joy Follows Like A Shadow That Never Leaves above, listen to more from Rich Jacques below, and see what he’s up to on his website and Instagram.