To most people, listening to music is merely a method to relax, relieve stress or even simply brighten one’s mood. Sophomore Jacob Reese Thornton, however, aspires to make a career in the music industry and is working hard to make it happen now.
Music has surrounded Thornton since his infant days. “My house was filled with great classic rock music: Neil Young, Eric Clapton, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones,” he said. “This is stuff I would literally listen to in the crib. My parents have an amazing record collection and I dug into it early.” As Thornton began to learn how to play the guitar, he would use his father’s records to practice, deepening his passion for rock music altogether. At a young age, he determined that he wanted to write songs and perform them for an audience, and with the dedication that Thornton put forth, this dream soon became a reality.
Fast forward to present day, and Thornton’s love for music has only increased as he has successfully developed and pursued his musical career. Not only has he written and released a multitude of songs, but he also constructed an album, entitled “Different Times.” After all the time he invested in creating his album, he felt “an enormous sense of pride and accomplishment” once it was finished. “To see a song that first came to life in your head become a little riff on acoustic guitar, then go through so many changes and rewrites, then through scratch demos and production and then have it released is so satisfying,” Thornton said.
Not to mention Thornton accomplished this without the help of a highly-established record label as well. “[My team has] created our own small indie label for now, so we could release the record,” he said. “My goal is to land a solid label deal soon, [as] it’s very hard to [produce music] without label support. I have an awesome manager who is based in New Zealand and Los Angeles [and] we also are doing a lot of radio promo marketing for the record.”
“To see a song that first came to life in your head become a little riff on acoustic guitar, then go through so many changes and rewrites, then through scratch demos and production and then have it released is so satisfying.”
In terms of crafting the songs for his album, Thornton takes pleasure in writing his own lyrics. “Melodies and guitar riffs come first and then lyrics. [The lyrics] don’t always come from personal experience as I try to come up with stories that people can relate to [themselves],” Thornton said. “Some of my songs come from things I have seen or observed and stories I’ve been told, but very few are about my own personal experiences; at least not yet. Grammy winning producer Bob Kulick and his production partner Bobby Ferrari contributed to songs on my record [as well].”
Most importantly, though, a main benefactor in Thornton’s musical aspirations has been his family, backing him every step of the way. “[They support me] 110 percent and I’m so fortunate in that way,” he said. “They understand this is my passion and support it as long as I can manage it with my studies.” Thornton successfully balances school and music, although there are sacrifices he must make. “It’s [difficult to balance the two] but I’m able to do it. Basically, it means that between school and music I don’t have time for [anything] else; but there isn’t much else I want to do,” he said. “This is my passion.”
In the end, though, whether or not Thornton’s musical plans unfold how he hopes them to, he will always be chasing one goal specifically: to simply be happy in life and be a good person. “Who knows what the future holds. I do know what I want to do with my life [and] I knew that at a young age. I want to write songs, make records that people like, perform and tour,” Thornton said. “But I’m also realistic about the industry; it’s tough. Hopefully, the future involves a lot of guitars and music. So much has happened in the last two years and I’m excited for the next two.” Thornton’s album, “Different Times,” is available on Spotify and Apple Music and features seven songs.