|Photo: Chris White|
Back in 2012, after seeing a performance at Teen Hoot in Nashville, Tenn., it just so happened that I was in the audience for Jacob Whitesides’ “The X-Factor USA” audition. I didn’t know at the time that this was the beginning of something big.
Hailing from Knoxville, Tenn., Whitesides wasn’t as interested in music until he attended a bluegrass festival in 2008, according to a bio page on MTV. That, coupled with seeing his father play, motivated Whitesides to teach himself how to play guitar. According to his MTV bio, Whiteside’s honed his skills playing backup for his father, but their relationship fractured after his parents got a divorce. Through it all, Whitesides’ mother tirelessly worked three jobs and drove him to any musical opportunity that came up in Nashville. I truly respect that since I come from a divorced home and my mother was always there to support me no matter what.
A cover of One Direction’s “One Thing” jump-started Whitesides’ YouTube presence after a member of the band, Liam Payne, tweeted it out to his followers. That, alone, earned Whitesides 500,000+ views for the cover video. Whitesides continued uploading cover videos, all garnering the same popularity as the first. Shortly after his audition on “The X-Factor USA,” I featured Whitesides on Reflections as one of my first “New Music Monday” profiles. The post is still one of the most read all time.
In 2014, Whitesides released his debut project, 3 AM – The EP. The album featured covers and peaked at No. 2 on the iTunes charts. Whitesides followed it up with his current album, A Piece of Me, his first project with all-original tunes. To date, A Piece of Me hit the No. 5 spot on the iTunes Top Albums chart as well as No. 1 on the iTunes Singer/Songwriter chart. The project shows a clear growth in artistry for Whitesides and it’s some of the best work he’s produced in his young career. Whitesides has pure, authentic talent and is an artist I have a lot of respect for. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for him.
Have a listen to one of the tunes from A Piece of Me called “Not My Type At All” in the video below and be sure to go get the album!