Jacob Collier: The Grammy nominee making music in his childhood bedroom

Jacob Collier: The Grammy nominee making music in his childhood bedroom

It’s an understatement to say Jacob Collier had a bit of a shock this week.

Watching a live stream of the Grammy nominations with his family, he found out he’s up for Album Of The Year.

“My heart stopped. It was completely ridiculous. I’m absolutely thrilled,” he tells Radio 1 Newsbeat.

The 26-year-old from London was listed alongside Taylor Swift, Dua Lipa and Post Malone for his album Djesse Vol. 3.

He calls it an “extraordinary moment” in his career.

Djesse Vol. 3 is the third of a four-album project that features collaborations with artists including Mahalia and T-Pain.

Jacob probably wouldn’t mind if you said you’d never heard of him but he’s already well established in the music industry.

Jacob’s from a musical family and he’s always played multiple instruments including keyboard, drums, guitar and bass.

He describes his sound as a “great big mixture” of music that takes in jazz, classical, folk, rock and roll, trap, rap and soul.

“I love all music,” he says. “It’s one massive language.”

What he’ll often do is loop his music to create “tapestries of sound” and layer his voice over itself. What you then get is “10, 20, 30 or even 80 Jacobs all singing at once”.

He’s worked with a massive list of artists over the years, including Ty Dolla $ign, Coldplay, composer Hans Zimmer, Lianne La Havas, Tori Kelly, Jessie Reyez and Pharrell.

“It’s a whole different mixture of forces I guess. But each one presents its own unique challenge. I’ve loved the experience of learning how to shapeshift my universe and incorporate all these different people’s styles.”

Jacob already has four Grammys to his name.

He won two for his debut album In My Room in 2017, and also got wins in the Best Arrangement category for Volumes 1 and 2 of the Djesse project.

His nomination for Album Of The Year is the most high profile so far and he’s up for two other Grammys – Best R&B Performance for All I Need featuring Ty Dolla $ign and Mahalia and Best Arrangement, Instrumental and Vocals for He Won’t Hold You.

Jacob’s vocals feature on Coldplay’s Everyday Life too, which also appears in this year’s Album Of The Year list, and he’s featured on high-profile TV shows such as Jools Holland and Jimmy Kimmel.

Despite all the accolades, he still makes music from his childhood bedroom at his family’s home in north London.

“I learned to walk in that room. It’s the same sacred childhood space I’ve always enjoyed. I’m so lucky to have it, especially during lockdown. It’s been my sanctuary.”

He may be 26, but his parents haven’t tried to get rid of him yet and he’s still happy to live at home.

“I’ve thought about leaving,” he says. “But the reality is when I’m touring and travelling the world, it’s really lovely to come home to a place that feels like it belong to me.

“I’m very lucky to get on with my family like a house on fire.”

Following this year’s nominations, The Weeknd called the Grammys “corrupt” after he received zero nominations for his album After Hours, which had been expected to do well.

In response, the Grammys said they “empathised” with him but some acts missed out every year.

Other major artists with big releases, such as BTS and Lady Gaga, were also absent from the Album Of The Year list.

“These people are huge and I’m a huge fan,” says Jacob. “I’m just so grateful to be nominated.”

He admits his inclusion in the album list was a “huge surprise” and says his place in the music industry is “so different from some of these big stars”.

“I feel crazily privileged to even be considered for something like this.”

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