This interview with Jake Isaac originally featured in Creative Arts Network’s Motive edition of Hue magazine, and was then reposted on the Creativeartsnetwork.co.uk. To purchase a copy of Hue, click here. (PS, you can get a bargain with discount code ‘HUEFLASH’)
Jake Isaac is a worship pastor based at Christian Life Fellowship in Greenwich, London as well as the visionary and team leader of the iEC Band developed to inspire young Christians to draw closer to God in worship and bring about change in their world. The band released their second live album ‘Break These Chains’ and were MOBO nominated in 2010. Jake is also a singer/songwriter and had previously worked with artists such as Gabrielle, Blue, Miss Dynamite, Floetry and Duffy.
If you could sum up in three words why you do what you do, what would they be?
To move people.
Can you tell us about the first time you realised you wanted to create music?
I was eight years old. I just wanted to make the stuff I heard in my head and in my heart, even if I was actually unsure of what I was actually hearing, I knew I wanted to try. I reckon that’s where it probably all started to kick off for me.
What motivated you to want to be a singer/songwriter?
I wasn’t actually interested, it was my close mates at the time that said I should give it a try. I totally didn’t see it.
Can you tell us a little about the journey and experience of putting down on paper your first few songs?
They were absolutely corny! I wrote some horrid stuff, like really super corny. The kind of stuff if anyone was to sing now, people might just whip out the old tomatoes and plaster them. But I had to start somewhere, no matter what how embarrassed I felt, I knew I needed to practice writing and singing what was buried within me.
What was the main incentive or driving force behind writing in the first place?
Trying to communicate how I felt about different aspects of life. Almost finding the sounds and melodies to communicate the words as more than just a conversation.
Even though the experience of writing has probably changed somewhat, has the original motive changed or developed as your career has progressed?
I don’t actually feel it has. I feel like I’m just learning to grow in the process of becoming more disciplined in how I communicate in my songs. It’s almost like developing your vocabulary and becoming more articulate. It doesn’t mean you don’t pull out the cockney when you need to though.
As artists gain more public exposure many feel a pressure to ‘better themselves’ with each new release. Do you find you now write for the same reasons as before or does that pressure tailor how/what you create?
I feel like the pressure is totally healthy! Sometimes it’s a bit of a burden, but in order to better yourself, pressure will have to be applied at some point.
What are your hopes for the future of your music? Have you thought about the next three to four years?
I have thought about the next three to four years, but then I tell myself to behave!
I think I just look forward to sharing my music far and wide and developing and expanding my sound. Honestly that’s a shed load of stuff to deal with on its own.
What drives you to keep creating new material?
My everyday experiences and my conversations with various people on a day to day basis, which causes me to want to communicate something on their behalf that they might not be able to do in the same way as me.
Can you share some advice for any young songwriters reading this?
This is all about the people on the other end, the listener.
Conversations are normally directed at other people and you need to see your songs in the same way. Your songs are conversations out loud with the listener. What you get out of writing, not matter how fulfilling it is, is only part of the process.
In order to reach more, try and write with more and more people in mind. It’s like making a product without knowing your target audience; only you as the investor benefit from it. That’s not the way you branch out. But there’s only one of you. Be the one and only artist that you can be and enjoy it!