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  • Melania Zilo

Introducing Nice Jacob: Ambient Artist and Fashion Icon

By now, we've probably all gathered that my friends are all a million times cooler than me, and this is no exception. Allow me to introduce to you one of my sick nastiest friends, Jacob. Aside from being an all-around sweetheart and the guy you trust to hold your drink at parties, Jacob was just one of those kids in high school that we all knew was going places. From the day I met him, he was putting me on the best songs, lecturing me on why I should have already developed a cult-level love for Rick Owens, and he maybe even taught me a thing or two about film photography and fast cars. I had the absolute pleasure of catching up with Jacob and hearing all about his new album and everything he's been up to lately.

Melania: The man, the myth. Can you start by telling us a little bit about yourself <3

Jacob: What’s good <3 I'm Jacob, I'm 19, and I was born and raised in South Florida. I live in NYC now, and I can't see myself leaving anytime soon. Besides making music, I'm really into fashion, art, and just creative things in general. I'm also mad social- I love being around people.

What first got you into music? Who inspired you to make music?

Such a funny story. One of my best friends was recording a song when I was 15, and he invited me to some studio in Miami. He asked me if I wanted to do a verse, and I was like, “sure.” It was so bad; we still laugh about it to this day. We never took it too seriously.

Then, about two years ago (I think?) I downloaded Ableton on my computer (a production software) and made a quick beat that I ended up actually really liking. I, for real, had no idea what I was doing, but somehow I made it work. I went to a friend’s studio and just started recording on the beat I made, and at the time, I was really proud of it. It made me realize that maybe I should actually try this music thing for real.

How would you describe the music that you typically create?

Melodies and harmonies are two of my favorite things in the entire world. Aside from the lyrics I write, I love melodic stuff, which I like making the most. It makes me happy to hear pretty harmonies with some keyboard loop and sing on it. Every single time that I hear something like that, I'm like, "that's dope."

Chief Keef, Bladee, Pollari, and Lil Uzi, are some rappers that I draw a lot of inspiration from, but there are way too many to name. I also love taking inspo from EDM and stuff. Anything that makes me happy, really.

Whenever people ask me what kind of music I like to make, I always respond with something along the lines of "I honestly don't know. It's rap but sometimes not rap" and just kind of trip my words up. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to say that I've created my own genre or anything because I could never claim that. I'm also not saying that I don't make rap music, because of course, I rap. My point is that I don't really know because I'm still learning. I'm open to making all types of music, and I don't want to limit myself. I'm just trying to make music that sounds good and makes me happy.

Walk us through your creative process. What does it look like?

Oh my god. It's either so organized or not organized at all. For my entire debut project, "Don't Talk to Me," I wrote the entire tape in this little notebook I keep. I also did most of the actual writing at a specific desk at my crib in Florida. I also like working when I know that I'm not isolated- I don't turn my phone off or anything because I feel like I do my best when I'm still in touch with what's going on around me. But for singles that I've dropped in the past, you could catch me writing lyrics in Ubers, at parties, etc. There was no structure; it was honestly mad funny.

Who would you most like to collaborate with?

Such a hard question. Suppose somebody told me that I could collaborate with anybody I wanted in the entire world. In that case, I'd probably have to think about it for days. My answer wouldn't be limited to rappers either, but all types of artists who make so many different genres. Here's a non-exhaustive list that I already know is going to be missing a lot of people: Young Thug, Chief Keef, Louis the Child, Role Model, Pollari, Kygo, Rico Nasty, Lil Yachty, Swae Lee, Owl City (yes, actually), Jhené Aiko, UnoTheActivist, Lucki, BigBabyGucci, Frank Ocean, etc.

If you could open a show for any artist who would it be?

I’ve never done a show, so I guess whoever would have me. I’ve never even thought about that; you’re really making my mind race. I think anybody cool, whether you get tons of plays or not. I respect anybody who creates what they love. If the energy in the room is right, I feel like I could honestly give a great performance. I’d 100% be nervous, though.

Tell us a little bit about your new album!

I'm so proud of myself. People have always told me to do a full project, but I always wanted to wait until I knew that I was making music that I was genuinely proud of. And the result of that is this tape.

I started recording it in April during quarantine. I made a lot of songs that we didn't end up using because I either knew I could do better, didn't think they were good, or didn't fit the overall vibe I was going for. The six songs that ended up on there are my all-time favorites. I for sure have two favorites: at first, it was the self-titled one, "Don't Talk to Me," but some people close to me said they love "Vacation Home," so I obviously had to add that one to the list.

You're supposed to listen to this tape when you feel happy, which means different things to different people. For me, that means driving some fast car when it's sunny out, shopping, walking through Soho, going to some party, and a bunch of other little moments that just make me feel f*cking good.

What is the best advice you’ve been given?

Regarding creativity, the best advice that I've ever been given is to just make what makes you happy. As cliché as it might sound, it gets more accurate the more I think about it. Let's say you make something that you just straight up don't f*ck with (even though other people might.) If it blows up, you're always going to remember that it wasn't what you wanted to be known for. I sound corny, but I always want to stay true to myself. Also, have a good team behind you. That's key.

If you know me, you know that I overthink—a lot. And because of that, I've been given tons of advice from family and friends that have helped me throughout the years. I was recently given a piece of advice from one of my best friends, Saint, that really stuck with me. I was stressing about something that, in retrospect, was really stupid, but anyways, he sat me down, looked at me dead in my face, and said, "Listen to me. Look at this from a perspective that is not from your own eyes. You have to remember that not everything is always about you, as much as you fear that it might be." Something along those lines. The way he said it was a major wake up call. I was like, "Oh sh*t, he's right." All my best friends always give me the best advice- you know who you are. Without a doubt.

What’s next for you?

Doing what I always do. Dressing cool, shopping, making music, living a beautiful life with the people around me. I’m going to drop a few singles really soon, so you all have to peep those when they come out. I’m just taking everything one day at a time right now, and it’s working. Knock on wood.

Mad love always,

Mila and Jacob

For more on Jacob, follow @killnicejacob on Instagram.

Management: @nleldridge

Click to stream Nice Jacob’s new album, Don’t Talk To Me, on Spotify, Apple, and Soundcloud.

Editor's note: Interview has been modified for clarity.

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