Top 14 American Idol contestant Garrett Jacobs celebrated his birthday by releasing his debut single “The Healing” this past Saturday January 26th. The 19 year old Louisiana native who describes himself as a little bit of an old soul but definitely still a kid had an explosive 2018. After Garrett’s success on American Idol he went back to Louisiana for few months before officially making the move to Nashville. Garrett credits the show for teaching him to have the confidence needed when entering a room of industry folk in Music City. When asked what his biggest “pinch me” moment thus far in his career has been he laughs and says that “all of 2018 was a pinch me moment” but that getting to record his own music in the studio has been the most surreal moment. During a break from recording Garrett and I sat down in the studio to talk about the path from Louisiana to “The Healing”.
How did it feel going from a high schooler in Louisiana to performing on American Idol?
Garrett: It was crazy. I was just this kid that went to school and played sports. I planned on going to college to be a physical therapist, but decided to try out for American Idol first [laughs]. Going from a kid who worshiped at church in front of 50 kids on a big night to playing live on national television was a big transition. It was a great experience, I loved it.
You went back to Louisiana after the show for a while before moving to Nashville. Was it odd going back to your normal life?
Garrett: Everything happened so fast. Going back to Louisiana, one of the highlights was seeing my name on the Chick-Fil-A sign. It said “Go Garret Jacobs, We’re Voting For You!” and I was like “I made it!” [laughs]. I was doing a bunch of news stuff back at home and had kids in school saying hey to me now that I didn’t know. I was still me, just a whole lot more people knew my name.
You moved to Nashville just a few months ago. Tell me your decision to make that move.
Garrett: I played a couple gigs over the summer here and I met up with my buddy Spencer for coffee while I was in the city. He introduced me to my now manager Desiree. After meeting her it really opened up the doors for me to be able to move out here. It’s crazy how everything has fallen into place. It’s straight up God ordained how each person that has been introduced into my life is there for a specific purpose.
Let’s talk about your debut song “The Healing”. What was the writing process behind that?
Garrett: This song was actually my first ever Nashville write. I wrote it with Jason Massey, Abram Dean and Michael Whitworth. All I came into the room with was the title “The Healing” and the line “you’ve never known hard until you’ve had to fix a broken heart”. I threw it out there and they loved it. It’s crazy that my first Nashville write has turned into my first single and there are these amazing writers behind it. I never thought I would get the chance to start making music like I am and I’m just super thankful to have that opportunity to do this.
Every artist is influenced and inspired by dozens of other artists throughout the span of their career. With that said, if you were to pick your musical parents who would they be?
Garrett: John Mayer is definitely my crazy uncle. My dad is Chris Stapleton. That sounds so weird to say [laughs]. Chris Stapleton is the whole reason I’m doing country music. I have a very strong blues influence in my music. When I heard the country twang from him but the soulful blues he has I fell in love with it. Then for my bluesy side…Bill Withers, Sam Cooke and Otis Redding. The old school soulful blues influences my music a lot.
Take a listen to Garrett’s handpicked playlist for the Jam Squad below, including his new single “The Healing”. It that starts as a breakup song but quickly fades into a message of hope. Jacobs sings “See a brand new life in dark brown eyes” about finding your next love to heal from your last. The song was not written from personal experience but Garrett says that since writing it, he has come to experience it first hand and relates more and more each day to the lyrics.