We had the good fortune of connecting with Jacob Acosta and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jacob, can you share the most important lesson you’ve learned over the course of your career?
The most important lesson is definitely knowing that you’ll never stop learning and growing if you want to be successful. Success isn’t just about accomplishment, but also trial and error. Always choose what you love to do as your career. If you have to work a little harder to make it come to pass then do that, or you may regret it later. Always work towards what you feel is genuinely true to yourself as an artist or business, because not everything will yield a monetary payoff or mass cultural appeal. You should connect with those who recognize what you are trying to say with your voice, but also with what people’s personal experience is with what you produce. Perspective is everything. Listen to people. Not everyone will have nuggets of gold, and not everyone will be a ridiculous critic you’d rather ignore. But listening will help you discover things you didn’t know about yourself, and expand the understanding of your voice on a social level. We are all social creatures.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Everything starts with your first try. My first step into songwriting ended up being 3 demo albums I threw away and never let see the light of day. I recorded them on a beginning Yamaha acoustic guitar that was bought for me by my friends in college when I played a cheap pawn shop guitar into the ground. It was one of the most beautiful gifts I’ve ever received. I remember I had a musical colleague when I enrolled in the composition program at ASU West who told me I needed to learn to sing over the music I created rather than along with it as a shield hiding my voice. He saw the potential I had to expand my voice, and I’m glad he told me this. Performing came easier to me since I had played tenor saxophone for many years as a jazz student through high school. What didn’t come easy was performing by myself instead of having a full band back me up. I had to learn how to banter with the audience, and perform music with the guitar and voice that could instantly draw in people to listen. I spent some time performing open mics, and trying to open for bigger acts with a small set of original music and lots of covers. After my songwriting got better and my catalogue increased, I hooked up with bands in Arizona and many other musicians that allowed me to fully explore my diverse creative styles. I have always enjoyed playing different styles of music, and the challenges they pose. I believe it grows my skills. The other challenge I’ve had to battle over the years is the recording process. After many years and dollars spent working on albums in professional studios, I knew that I needed to buy equipment that I could use to record at home. Nowadays this is a common practice for artists, but when I started writing jingles for Codeschool I knew I needed more time to realize my ideas. I actually once decided to buy a fancy pre-amp instead of go on vacation in Germany for two weeks. That’s how much I enjoy my work. I realized recording is all about the sounds you capture, and not just slapping effects on everything. Creative depth takes time and experimentation, just like a fine wine. Get the sounds you want before effecting or EQ’ing anything. Ultimately, I want the world to know me. I believe the power of my voice in the universe is magnified by my music. Music is also a uniting force. Together, those who can connect with my message, go on the journey with me. I believe the impact of music truly transcends existence and time. To quote one of the greats, Ludwig van Beethoven, “Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy”.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Top places for Mexican food: Cafe Poca Cosa, Mi Nidito, Taco Shop, Teresa’s Mosaic Cafe, La Parilla Suiza, Casa Molina, Guero Canelo, The Filobertos on Alvernon and Grant, Franks/Francisco’s, Tumerico, Guadalajara Original Grill, Rosa’s Mexican Food, Charro Steak and Del Rey, Elvira’s. Top Asian/Japanese: Guilin, Old Peking, Ghee’s, Bangkok Cafe, Senae Thai Bistro, Korea House, Kazoku Top Indian: Sher E Punjab, Kababeque, Saffron Indian Bistro Ethiopian: Zemam’s, Cafe Desta Fusion/Fancy: Wildflower, Contigo, Wild Garlic Grill, North Italia, Culinary Dropout, The Grill at Hacienda del Sol Brunch: Baja Cafe, Prep and Pastry, Bisbee Breakfast Club, Blue Willow, Café a La C’Art
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are many who have helped get me to where I am today. I’d like to recognize first all of my album fundraiser supporters and those who came to live shows, NPR, KGUN 9 Television, KXCI 91.3 FM (Tucson’s Local Radio) and their crew Matt Milner, Duncan Hudson, Cathy Rivers, Jim Blackwood, Visit Tucson, my publicist Carl Hanni, countless publications due to help from Stephen Siegel, Dan Gibson, Cyrus Rhodes (national media), Jeff Gardner, Gene Armstrong, Eric Swedlund, Henry Barajas, Xavier Omar Otero, Joshua Levine, Jim Nintzel, Cathalena Burch, Jim Lipson, Mitchell Hillman, and so many more. Also the licensing folks over at Crucial Music, Codeschool, and my recent label signing in the electronic world with David Hohme and Where The Heart Is Records. My sound, lights, and video people over the years Tad Sallee, Evan Davis, Forrest Brennan, Rachel Smith, Bob Hoag, Jason Livermore, Chris Robinson, Chris Schultz, Craig Schumaker, Bill Cashman, Jim Waters, John Vanderslice, Ian Pellici, Dana Fehr, Frank Bair, and Gregory James Houston. My current and former bandmates Andre Gressieux, Barry Young, Courtney Pinski, Jason Allen, Kevin Frederick, Conrad Sasinski, Alex Edwards, Andrew Axelrod, Clarissa Dubose, Steven Clayton, Scott Truelove, and Wesley Krafft. Both my mother and father, and my mother and father in law. My favorite NJ people Karen Kline and Bill Mattsson. My wife Christine, who is always a constant support of all of my endeavors, anyone whoever told me a story about their love of my music over the years, and anyone who has spent money, time, or reflection with my music’s message. I’m sure there are many I could still thank if I could dig back far enough, ha!
Christine Schirmer David Scott Moyer Rachel Smith Gordon Bates Tad Sallee Kerry Whelan