Calling Jacob Collier a jazz musician isn’t quite right; it’s better to simply call him a musician. Born in North London to a musical family, Collier’s first stage work was as a young actor, often in musical productions, but that world wasn’t big enough to contain him.
His talents began to fully form in his bedroom, listening to records and trying to recreate them with the family’s collection of instruments and recording gear. Soon, his YouTube videos started getting attention, especially his Stevie Wonder covers: striking arrangements of his own multiple vocal tracks, guitars, bass, percussion and keyboard work. Check out “Don’t You Worry 'Bout a Thing” from 2013.
“It’s always a process of [my brain] catching up [with my abilities with each new instrument]” he said in a recent interview with the FaceCulture blog.
As he develops his own musicianship, Collier is also getting more opportunities to have musical interactions with other musicians, learning to communicate like jazz players have done for more than a century.
He says he’d like to put together his own band, and he’s done amazing work as a guest artist with groups like Snarky Puppy (a collaboration you’ll hear on this week’s episode of The New Cool), but his new album "In My Room" was a one-man show. He played all the instruments, sang all the vocal parts, and produced the album in the family music room back home in North London (pictured above).
He'll fill the stage alone with his instruments at Benaroya Hall in Seattle on Friday, April 28, where Northwest audiences will have the chance to see this amazing one-man band.
After this solo tour, he says, “anything is possible”. Still several months short of his 23rd birthday, we’re excited to see what Collier will create next!
The New Cool airs Saturdays at 3:00 p.m. The program is hosted by Abe Beeson and produced by KNKX Public Radio in Seattle, Wash.