If you haven’t already checked out the Jacob Reese Thornton’s new video clip for Sketches Of You, stop what you’re doing and go watch it now. Both the track and the video are a showcase of Thornton’s dynamic sound—they brim with a unique brand of unbridled energy.
Fresh off the video’s release, we caught up with Thornton to chat all about it, his influences, and what the future holds.
Hot off the release of his new video clip for Sketches Of You, we caught up with Florida-based singer-songwriter Jacob Reese Thornton for a chat.
HAPPY: Hey Jacob! How’s it going? What are you up to at the moment?
JACOB: Hey man, things are great! Doing a lot of writing and recording, which is my favourite thing to do. Getting ready for a few cool shows and some radio sessions this summer.
HAPPY: We’re loving Sketches Of You! How does it feel having the track out there in the world?
JACOB: Thanks so much! It’s cool to see something that sparks as a small idea on the guitar, turn into a song that people relate to. I think I’ve grown a lot as a writer in the last year. I’m slowly finding a direction and sound that feels real to me. That sort of started with Sketches of You.
HAPPY: Could you tell us a bit about the song?
JACOB: Sure. It began as a Lindsey Buckingham style fingerpicking exercise. Lindsey is a big influence. That pattern set up the song really. I live in South Florida so those vibes are all over the track. The lyrics are a bit obvious and hopefully relatable. The song is about talking a friend into leaving a toxic relationship with someone who doesn’t respect or deserve them. I try to write about human moments I see and hear that are sort of universal. I don’t think songs should be too specific. As a music fan, I like when I relate to a song so much that it seems written for me. All the great songs have that. Noel Gallagher is a genius that way.
HAPPY: The video for Sketches Of You is great too! Could you tell us a bit about how this came together? Who was involved?
JACOB: The video was shot at a legendary rock club in Fort Lauderdale called “Revolution Live.” Over the years everyone who is anyone played there, even Bowie. The Tom Cruise movie Rock of Ages was filmed there. It is hands down the best place to see a live show in South Florida. The owner Jeff John is a big supporter of the community and young artists and he let us shoot there. That was such a gift. The video was directed by Michael Lobsinger at Darktooth Films, who is a great talent and a cool cat. We went for a stripped-down retro 70’s feel.
HAPPY: You’re quite young, but you’ve got a direction with your sound that most people take a while to develop. Could you walk us through your entry into music? How did this all start?
JACOB: I’m just 16 but have already been at this for a while. I was determined to learn to play and write music at a very young age. I’ve been lucky to have some amazing mentors. Rock photographer Robert M. Knight has opened so many doors for me and others. And my manager Michelle Bakker was willing to manage me even though there really wasn’t a financial incentive to do so. She and Robert saw something and took a chance. That support and encouragement from them, my family, and close friends keeps me inspired. I think I have finally started to find a sound that feels right for me. Once I tapped into that with Sketches, other songs started to come. The next single will drop around August. It’s another sharp turn and I’m really proud of it.
HAPPY: You’ve already had the chance to work alongside some huge names. Have there been any particularly huge moments for you?
JACOB: I’ve been lucky to meet so many of my music heroes. Once you get past the shock, you quickly realize they are human and have faults like everyone. Noel Gallagher was the coolest. He invited us in to watch sound check at the Ryman in Nashville. That was an honest full-on fan moment! Meeting Slash and getting one on one advice from Steve Lukather from Toto was awesome. Playing with Buddy Guy was something I won’t ever forget, I just wish I could do it again now. Last year, KISS legend Bruce Kulick had me up for a song with his solo band, which includes Todd Kerns and Brent Fitz from The Conspirators, and Zach Throne. Getting to ride the lighting with Bruce and Slash’s rhythm section was a trip! Those guys are the coolest. Todd also sang background vocals on my first EP.
HAPPY: Are there any other artists you’re really loving at the moment?
JACOB: Digging U.K. artists at the moment like Noel and Oasis, The Smiths, Paul Weller, and Catfish and the Bottlemen. And anything that Lindsey Buckingham does moves me. He is the most melodic and fluid guitarist I’ve heard. Noel Gallagher has his finger on the pulse of things. I love all the High Flying Birds material. What he is doing now has a Bowie aspect but it’s still his own. He is 100% my favourite songwriter. I know his new stuff pisses off some hardcore Oasis fans, but I think it’s brave that he ignores that and continues to evolve.
HAPPY: What’s next for Jacob Reese Thornton? Any other exciting plans in the works?
JACOB: More writing and recording. Heading to Vegas soon to meet up with some guys I’m hoping to work with a lot — Logan Ellis Sheppard, a super gifted drummer, and bass player and guitarist Jersey Sullivan. Logan is a monster and Jersey spent a few years on Broadway in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “School of Rock.” We also have keyboardist and multi-instrumentalist Santiago LaRochelle. These guys are each accomplished themselves, so I’m honoured they are down to collaborate. The band has a debut gig at The Basement in Nashville on July 23rd. I’m stoked about that. Logan and I also just finished tracking something with a cool special guest on bass that will be out soon! Really stoked about that. Mostly, the summer will be spent promoting Sketches of You with some select gigs and a few radio sessions. I would also love to head down under to Australia and New Zealand sometime! My manager Michelle lives in Auckland so maybe one day soon!
HAPPY: Cheers for the chat!
JACOB: Thanks man, I appreciate it.
Sketches Of You is available now. Watch the video above.