King’s Composers: student Jake Canull set to release new acoustic EP this month
Hannah Grubb contributed reporting to this article. "Jake Canull" has become something of a household name at The King’s College and a show-stealer at open mic nights. But his talent as a singer-songwriter has catapulted him outside the walls of King's to a number of venues across the city - and beyond.
“I've done music ever since I was a little kid. I took piano lessons starting at the age of eight. I've been playing guitar for around three-and-a-half years and singing for about three," Canull said.
Canull recorded his first EP, titled "Found Myself," in September of 2013. Over the next year, as he continued to mature as an artist, he began changing his sounds and the music he was producing, prompting him to take down the EP and start afresh. During the summer of 2014, he recorded a single track titled "Act the Same" and released it on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify, as well as other online stores. The track was produced by Mike Wuerth, the chief in-house producer at Threshold Studios in Hell's Kitchen, who has written with Frank Ocean and many other artists in the past.
In addition to his work in the recording studio, Canull is no stranger to New York’s performance circuit for up-and-coming artists. He began performing at outside venues in the summer of 2013, and since then he has played at venues like Pianos, Rockwood Music Hall and Sidewalk Café. Canull has performed in front of crowds as small as five people and as large as 1,000 people. Outside the Big Apple, he has performed at venues such as Spikehill, Leftfield, Session 73, the Way Station and open mic events.
On September 18, Canull will return to the stage at Rockwood Music Hall to release his Acoustic Sessions EP, featuring brand new music and and kicking off a series of shows in New York. He will also return to the studio next week to begin work on a new project - a professionally-produced EP that will be released in the spring of 2016. Besides the Rockwood show, Canull is hosting three other shows at various venues around New York City: Caffe Vilvaldi (October 17), the American Folk Art Museum (November 13) and Sidewalk (December 4). While Canull's Rockwood show is limited to those who are 21+, the other three are free and open to all ages.
The Empire State Tribune interviewed Canull via email about his career plans, musical inspirations, how he manages to make music while in school and working and more. Continue reading for Canull's answers to our questions!
EST: You're a senior and graduation is fast approaching. Are you considering pursuing a career in music, or is music more of a hobby for you?
Canull: Pursuing a career in music 100%. I'm planning to work in the music business one way or another. That could mean working for a label, publisher or licensor in the daytime and performing my own material in the evenings.
EST: Who are your musical influences and inspirations?
Canull: Eric Clapton, the Eagles, Jack Johnson, Ed Sheeran, John Mayer, Gavin Degraw, Sara Barielles, Kid Cudi and Matchbox 20.
EST: Any exciting new opportunities related to your music?
Canull: I'm currently working with a group of students at the Berklee College of Music. A friend referred their professor to my music and she reached out to me and asked me to send over a vocal and guitar recording of an original song that I have not recorded yet. Each student will take the basic parts of the song I sent and produce a more full-sounding song. They have invited me up to Boston at the end of September to choose which version I like the best and to possibly release it in the future.
EST: Are you working with a record label, or putting out your material on your own? If you're not working with a label, are you hoping to cut a record deal in the future?
Canull: I am interning at a record label but I'm not releasing my own music through a record label just yet, so I do not have a deal. I'm doing it on my own for now. I realize I'm not at the level most record labels are looking for when signing people and I'm okay with that. Right now I'm a full time student. Of course I'd love to be signed to a record label in the near future, but as of now I'm just learning as much as I can about the industry, so that when my career in music comes, whenever it may be, I am prepared.
EST: You're going to school full-time, preparing for graduation and working in addition to making and producing music. How do you make time for music in the midst of your other time commitments?
Canull: It's tough to make time for music. I used to be able to practice all the time, but with five classes, an internship, student services job, and my relationship and friendships, making time is not easy. I have scheduled studio time in the evening slots that I'm available and being able to help lead Refuge by singing and playing guitar helps me to practice and feel whole creatively as well. I don't always have time to play or write as much as I'd like but I make time for it as much as I can.
It's been a challenge specifically because, as much as I'd like music to be my main responsibility right now, it isn't. I love performing, playing and writing, but I have responsibilities as a student that I have to finish first. So in the mean time I'm doing as much music as I can until I'm able to have more time to focus on it.
EST: Do you have any advice for young artists like yourself who are interested in music?
Put yourself out there when performing your own songs and keep writing songs. Honest songs. If it's a "fake" song, people will be able to tell. Also, play all the shows you can, especially where you are out of your element. Other than that, just practice and be genuinely kind to people in all aspects of what you do.
To learn more about Canull and his upcoming shows, visit jakecanullmusic.com.