“Je’kob is a family man. Je’kob is a follower of God. Je’kob is eternally grateful.”
Music has always been a part of Je’kob Washington’s life. As a teenager, he and his siblings started a group called The Washington Projects.
He released several projects between 2012 and 2014, perhaps most notably his set of three EPs titled Faith, Hope, and Love, respectively.
In 2014, he and his wife had their first child, and he said it “really opened my eyes to a lot of things. It was kind of a reset.” Their whole lives changed when they became parents. Je’kob said he realized what life was like when he “stepped out of himself.”
He rethought almost every part of his life. “I’m super critical about all these different things like what I’m feeding my kids, everything.”
“I had been doing music for myself for so long, for like twenty years. For me, its been a long road.”
Being a music artist and a role model to his listeners put a lot of pressure on him.
At the time, he thought, “I just need to take a break from everything I’ve been doing and just find myself and find that peace… I wanted to disconnect from all this forcefulness.”
In addition to becoming a father, since 2014 he had increasingly dealt with chronic pain in his jaw caused by a basketball injury that happened when he was a teenager.
“It got to the point where it was so debilitating and so bad, [I was] feeling very hopeless about how I felt and how I was going to feel with the extra stresses.”
One of the practical ways he learned to reduce his pain is doing hot yoga. “It sounded crazy to me at the time, but it really helped me to get healthy again, to balance my mood and the stability of my mind.” As the yoga sessions were mostly quiet, “I took a lot of hours on hours meditating and talking to God and just waiting to hear.”
In those many hours of contemplation, he was “not caring so much about the need of having to do something because this is who I’m supposed to be. It kind of comes back to feeling like having this weight on my shoulders of being an artist.”
“There was just this one day that it really sparked and everything kind of came together. I have something to say now, and it has more to do with a real place that I’m at.”
In January, he released his first song since 2014, “Reset.”
“[Americans] have these traditional thinkings. We have these things that are kind of set in our minds from a very young age.”
Je’kob notes that in the U.S., eating healthy is not as well-practiced as it should be. In matters of faith, he is especially frustrated with those who are Christians, yet advocate for political beliefs that are in opposition to what their religion teaches.
He used the song as a proclamation that “I’ve gotta just talk about how I feel, what I’m going through, and what I believe.”
Je’kob’s next single, “I See the Light,” goes hand-in-hand with “Reset.” “For me, several songs come at once. Both of those songs were very much in cahoots with each other.” In the song, Je’kob gets controversial and is not afraid to share his thoughts.
“There’s a point where I began to see this differently: again that had so much to do with my kids.”
When his son Maddox was about two-and-a-half-years-old, he asked when they were eating ribs, “why do we eat this animal, but we don’t eat Bentley?” Bentley is the name of the family’s dog. “It was an eye-opening moment for me that sparked a lot of conversation and thought.”
Considering the environmental effects of eating meat, as noted in documentaries, books, and more, he and his wife decided to go vegan one year ago and to raise their children that way also.
“Statistics are statistics. I see that light now. That’s with politics, religion, whatever. I’m not gonna just roll with things
becauseits the cultural norm.”
Je’kob has seen many positives effects on his health since changing his diet.
His most recent single, “Make Good Vibes,” “comes back to me just getting right.” The song discussed how he has seen as a public figure that many people expect him to be perfect and “put together.” During his period of poor health, physically and mentally, he mostly stayed offline.
Je’kob learned through experience that he had to push himself to get healthy, to think positive thoughts and reject negative ones. “What is it that’s throwing you off? Whatever that is, you’re giving the power to it.” He notes that in the Bible, Paul wrote in some of his letters that he was imprisoned but still had the joy of Christ.
“When I wake up, I tell myself things that I didn’t tell myself before. I’m really being intentional about waking up and having a good day.”
He hopes to release a single every month in 2019. Though Je’kob is putting out songs, he is not placing them on streaming services. “There is nothing that has hurt artists in terms of sales more than streaming.”
As an independent artist, it is especially challenging to make money from streaming. “Yes, it helps to expose them. Exposure is great, but exposure does not make it income.” Most streaming services pay artists less than one cent per stream.
“It’s one of the only art industries that has taken a step to devalue the art to that level.”
“It took away that whole chunk of music you were making from sales. I know it is not gonna go back.” He believes that indie artists can make a living while streaming, but the vast majority of their income will need to come from other revenue sources like touring and selling merchandise.
Though movies are also streamed, Je’kob notes that unless streaming services like Netflix or Hulu produce the films, they come out in the theaters and people have to pay to watch them before they can stream them months later. “You don’t see people bypass that in the movie industry.”
“Everybody now expects you to just put a record out for streaming and not do that same route and take advantage of sales first. It’s unheard of in the movie industry.”
Perhaps the most important message about the subject that Je’kob wants to portray to fans is that “If you like my music, buy it.”
Find out where you can purchase his music on his website.