Some artists are made for the long haul. In 2019, Tone Deaf hailed the talent of Jacob Lee, a Gold Coast singer-songwriter who’d previously had flirtations with reality singing competitions.

“Jacob Lee is one of the biggest artists in Australia, and you’ve never heard of him,” the headline read, and three years later, his stock has continued to quietly rise.

A wholly independent artist, Lee’s still raking in thousands of streams on every release, including his new single ‘Jealousy’, released late last month.

It’s a typically genre-hopping affair from a performer who dislikes being pigeonholed: the moody atmosphere and dark synths recall the type of R&B and hip-hop favoured by the likes of The Weeknd and J. Cole.

Dynamically produced by Matt Bartlem, Lee knows exactly when to relent and unleash, much like the vicious way the feeling of jealousy explodes into existence.

Lyrically, ‘Jealousy’ is probably the most forward single I’ve ever put out,” Lee explains. “Usually my songs lean more toward philosophical, reflective and contemplative topics. This song, however, is egotistical and self-centred.

“When writing, I often like to paint pictures of relatable archetypes. The person in this song honestly couldn’t care less about the feelings of others, and is only thinking of himself and his own lustful interests – which, if we’re real, is a pretty common archetype in modern society. The melody hits hard, especially in the chorus and bridge.”

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As Lee fine-tunes his upcoming album, Lowly Lyricist, ‘Jealousy’ offers a taste of the innovative direction his music is heading.

After the release of ‘Jealousy’, we caught up with Lee as part of our Get To Know series to find out more about his life and music.

Jacob Lee’s ‘Jealousy’ is out now.

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How did your artist name come about?

It’s just my first and middle name, so I didn’t have to think too hard about that one haha.

How would you describe your music to your grandma?

I’d probably say “songs that tell a story.”

Tell us about a few of your tracks; their titles and what they’re about?

‘Break My Heart Again’, ‘Drift’, and ‘Jealousy’ are the first three singles of my upcoming album. Each song touches on a different state of being: heartbreak, anxiety and, well, jealousy.

I rarely like to explain their meaning in depth as I believe songs are more powerful when left to interpretation, though I will say ‘Drift’ is the only song about me. The other two were written from a more empathetic perspective, standing in the shoes of someone else, writing from what I think they might feel.

What do you love about your hometown?

It’s calm. I’ve been lucky to travel quite a lot in my life, and every time I arrive home I’m reminded of how much I love the Gold Coast. The issues you find in other places around the world don’t exist here. I count myself so lucky I was born here, went to school here, and now own a house here.

I’ve never once felt unsafe on the Gold Coast, and that’s a big deal when you’ve experienced the opposite scenario overseas. Despite how much I travel, the Gold Coast will always be my home, and I love raising my family here.

Career highlight so far?

Headlining a show in Bucharest, Romania to over 1,000 people. Even though the majority of the crowd didn’t speak English, they sang all of my lyrics as though it was their first language. That moment was everything I dreamed of when I was younger, and seeing it manifest like that was mind-blowing.

There’s a video on YouTube recorded by an audience member of the entire crowd singing the lyrics to my song ‘Demons’ during the encore. They were louder than me and knew every single word. I’ll never forget that night and I hope to experience something like that again once I’m back on tour in 2023.

Fave non-music hobby?

Lifting. The discipline you find in bodybuilding isn’t really found in anything else. In bodybuilding, you can tell when you’ve skipped or cheated on a meal, and you can tell when you’ve missed a session. The development of a physique is nothing if not a game of discipline and consistency. I like doing hard things, and I’m getting back into the sport now that my son is two and I’ve properly adapted to the dad life.

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What’s on your dream rider?

I’ve honestly never thought about it. If I arrived and all my meals were prepped, that’d be a vibe.

Dream music collaboration?

Russ, without a doubt.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I love this question, it’s always cathartic. I see myself as someone who’s completely in flow with creating meaningful music. Someone who’s far more skilled in the art of production, articulating thoughts, performing, podcasting, singing and writing. Someone who’s an even more active and compassionate father to my two boys.

I see myself traveling the majority of the year with my family. Someone who’s resourceful enough to give back to those who’ve helped me during my come-up and a thriving founder and CEO of Lowly Labs, my Web3/NFT-oriented media company. I’m naive enough to believe I can change the world, so in ten years I hope to have moved closer to that.

What’s your go-to karaoke song?

I haven’t done karaoke in the longest time. Probably ‘Dancing in the Moonlight’ by Toploader or ‘September’ by Earth, Wind & fire.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Here’s a few: be good to people without expecting anything in return; you’re far more capable than you believe yourself to be; the bad times never last, neither do the good times; structure your tomorrow to the best of your ability so you’re not lost throughout your days and don’t operate from ego.

What’s one obsession you have that no one would guess after listening to your music?

So random but I’m recently finding myself pretty obsessed with cooking/smoking high quality cuts of meat. I’m literally off to the butcher twice a week to pick up a new haul for the family. I never knew meat could taste this good but here we are and now I’m addicted.

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