THE HISTORY OF JAKE
AT THE BEGINNING OF TIME:
I grew up in Boston, Massachusetts and learned how chords work from hearing my dad play Bach every morning for my whole childhood. I heard no pop music until around the age of 12 when I discovered “The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota” by Weird Al Yankovic, and everything changed.
It was obvious to me that my calling was to be the next Weird Al, so I started a parody band where I sequenced all the songs with midi and had my friends sing the new-and-improved lyrics. We recorded “Potty Trainer” to the tune of Smashmouth's “All Star” and “Boys in Sacks” to the tune of Will Smith's “Men in Black" among others. Also around this time I started making birthday songs for my parents - some hits including “Amy You’re Turning 49,” and “Charles, Charles Sherman." Recording these early works served as my introduction to audio production. I had already acquired some lyric writing knowledge by writing poems on holiday cards as a kid.
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As a teenager I discovered the radio and began actively listening to John Mayer, Ben Folds, Weezer, and other white boy pop. I wanted to quit piano, learn guitar, and become a pop star, but my parents made me stick with piano for one more year. Pretty soon I was getting jazz gigs so fell into the trap of deciding that I would exclusively be a jazz musician.
JUST BEFORE THE BIG BANG:
Around the age of 15, I started playing the Hammond organ, a crazy instrument with 25 foot pedals and two rows of keys that hasn’t been manufactured for 40 years. My most formative organ moments were my lessons with with Dr. Lonnie Smith. The lessons were supposed to be an hour long, but Lonnie would let me stay for four hours and would get me into his gigs afterwards. In the lessons we would play duo and he would say "yeah," when it didn’t suck and raise his eyebrows when it did.
As I became more obsessed with the Hammond organ, I began visiting Baptist churches to learn about gospel music– a non-jazz genre where the Hammond flourished. While technically a Jew, I was soon hired by a church and played Sunday service every week from 2008 until recently. Here I gained a better understanding of wild chords, organ pedals, song form, and a wealth of culture that I had previously had little exposure to.
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When I went to college at Berklee, I met Nick Hakim, Daniel Woods, Jaime Woods, Jesse Scheinin, Dave Fiuczynski, and Gizmo, and recorded on albums with all of them. I have toured with Nick since his project began, and I play piano and organ on his two EPs. Jaime and I recorded on Chance The Rapper's "No Problem" which won two Grammys this year, so I was told.
After I graduated Berklee in 2013, I toured with Bilal for about three years. Here is a recording of us playing duo:
Around the same time I was touring with Gabriel Garzòn-Montano, Benny Sings, and appearing with Meshell Ndegeocello.
In 2010, I was walking around Boston when the hook to what would become “Make Believe” popped into my head. I recorded it in one day with one microphone, as more of a joke than anything else. Still in the throws of becoming a jazz musician, I wasn't sure that I wanted people to know it was me singing, so I released it on iTunes under the band name THE BEGINNING. It got zero listens, as my scheme of posting the link on various cities’ craigslist pages didn’t work.
As I continued to listen to Make Believe, I realized that it had an original sound, and that I should make more songs like it. I decided to make an album and produce and mix it with one of my best friends, the all-hearing Armand Hirsch. My rules for the process were simple: only I would be allowed to play the instruments, and only I would be allowed to touch the computer. It took two years to birth Jake Sherman, during which we basically taught ourselves how to mix the songs through trial and error. Armand is the reason that the record sounds cohesive, and the drums sound vibey and full.
As I had never really performed as a vocalist up to that point, I only mustered the confidence to release the album by convincing myself I would never sing live. But gradually I realized that this project better represented who I was than anything else I was a part of, and I owed it to myself to perform it. When I began playing live, there were many shows where I fearfully sang a few feet away from the mic and the vocals were inaudible. Now I sing right on the mic and the vocals are still inaudible.
My new album, Jake Sherman Returns exists as the sum of all of my life experiences up to this point. It features orchestral arrangements, drum machines, sped up vocals, vintage keyboards and MORE THINGS. It is the fuller realization of a lot of my earlier experiments. It took four long years to create, but it is finally out, and you can now buy it.
JAKE SHERMAN RETURNS
Just Before The Big Bang
Let's Be Friends
Quiet All Day
Say And Mean
They Sent You
Can't Say We Didn't Try
Written & Produced by Jake Sherman
Mixed by Vicente Espi, Songololo Studios
Artwork by Dylan Aiello