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Jacob Collier @ Latitude 30 presented by BBC Radio 2, PPL & PRS // SXSW 3/15/2017. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Jacob Collier @ Latitude 30 presented by BBC Radio 2, PPL & PRS // SXSW 3/15/2017. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.

For every artist we decided to catch at SXSW, we decided to review each performance with our own version of “Five Ws and One H” answering the questions: 1) Who are they, 2) What kind of music do they play, 3) When did they play, 4) Where are they from, 5) Why did we decide to catch them play and 6), How was their performance.


WHO: Jacob Collier.

WHAT: Music from the mind of a musical genius.

WHEN: 3/15/17 at Latitude 30 presented by BBC Radio 2, PPL & PRS

WHERE: North London, England.

WHY: When musical geniuses like Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock and Pat Methany co-sign an artist, you make it your obligation to see that artist perform live. His two 2017 Grammy Awards aren’t anything to sneeze at either.

HOW: I’ve been dying to see Jacob Collier’s live performance since the first time I watched his acapella cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely” … and that was 5 years ago. What amazed me in that video was his amazing instinct for arranging music. Hundreds of people have covered Stevie Wonder’s classic hit, but I had never … NEVER … heard it done the way Jacob did it. The chords and rhythms he used were simply mind-blowing.

Apparently, this scheduled performance almost didn’t happen. He had had some issues with his flight into Austin, and only made it into the city just hours before he was scheduled to perform. Thankfully, he made it with just minutes to spare, and I was spared the agony of having to wait any longer to witness what I had been told would be a mesmerizing performance.

Wow. I can’t begin to explain the state of awe I was in during his time on stage. With instruments set up all around him on stage, Jacob was a one-man band, shifting from one instrument to another, synchronizing loops and tackling complex musical arrangements with a gleeful fervor. My brain almost couldn’t handle how he was bringing his music to life all by himself.

I wasn’t the only one in the audience feeling this way. As I scanned the room, everybody’s eyes were transfixed, with mouths agape hinting at a smile. When Jacob executed unexpected key changes or shifts in time signatures, the young woman next to me, who clearly saw how engaged I was in Jacob’s performance, grabbed my left arm, to which I simply looked in her direction and shook my head in amazed bewilderment.

Genius doesn’t come around that often. When it does, you deserve to seek it out and enjoy it whenever you can. God willing, I won’t have to wait another 5 years to see this young man perform again.

Follow Jacob Collier on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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