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Q. Out of all the songs you have done, which would you say best represents or sums up who Jacob Latimore is?
A. It’s actually a record I haven’t released yet, that I’ll be releasing in a few weeks, I have the video done for it as well, so when I release the song the video will be out as well, but it’s a song called “Love Jerk”, it’s actually one of the first songs I recorded for this particular project, and it has that really sort of urban foundation but it also had that small crossover feel that I naturally am. I can be that. I can be a huge urban artist , I can be a pop star and I think this song, this song I’m going to release soon is definitely sitting in that category.
Q. You started your music so young, have you noticed your music changing as far as your style or where you see yourself going musically, or rather over the years have you changed or still evolving –does it feel like this is definitely your sound and who you are?
A. I think I’m definitely finding out more as I get older, finding who I am musically, I think concert wise and lyric wise I’m definitely getting a lot more mature. But, if you go back on You Tube or you listen to the records I recorded when I was ten years old, I started out recording really, really timeless records and sometime I think about those records when I was ten and I wish I would have recorded those songs now, you know? So I’ve always sort of knew what I wanted to do, I just didn’t age at the time. It was always hindering me, and I didn’t want to be stuck in the Disney World or I didn’t want to be stuck in this kiddie-like artist who –I’m bigger than that, I can compete with the greatest because I always looked up to them, and I’ve always impressed people on stage. People have seen me perform and been wowed. Those are the things I’ve worked hard for. So yeah, musically I’m definitely finding myself for sure, but at the same time, it’s always been. I’ve always had great music; age was just a hindrance on me.
Q. You’ve also wowed some people with you acting abilities. If you had to pick between acting and music, would you be able to make that decision?
A. Generally I would say music. Music is my passion and my first love, but my second career is only going to help my music career so I’m just super, super thankful for that. I’m glad I’m able to do both and balance out both. Some people see me as the actor first or some people may see me as the music guy first, I kind of ride both waves—if I’m the actor person, I just release incredible music—so, it’s about the music at the end of the day, so I definitely just want to keep that going.
Q. Being such an accomplished singer and actor at such a young age, how do you balance the two—can you work on set and work on music at the same time or do you tend to focus on one at a time?
A. It actually depends on the film schedule, I mean this particular film I had some time off to focus on my music stuff, so when I’m doing my filming it actually makes more time for the studio so I can actually sit down in one place in one city and go to a studio every night—so that makes it easier in that way. It also depends on the film schedule if I have a leading role then I’m on set a whole lot more, so I pretty much have to stick to the film I’m on, but if I know a film is coming up and I’ll be shooting for two months straight I’ll do as much as possible until then so when I’m filming I will be releasing music. That’s kind of what I’m doing now; I recorded a lot more before I started on this film, Collateral Beauty with Will Smith. I had music already done that I’m just releasing on soundcloud so I’m just working on it all at the same time. So to the audience, it’s pretty cool.
Q. Before you go on stage is there anything you do in preparation, like some people have a shot of liquor, others pray, do you have a tradition beforehand?
A. Yes. Before I hit the stage I always get a cup of tea. I like to be in the room by myself. I try to relax as much as possible, just be in a real chill state—maybe light a candle or something…I’m on some real, real peaceful stuff before a show because there’s so much going on you really got to settle your mind and be relaxed on stage.
Q. Is that different for you than when you prepare to step out and perform an acting role?
A. Prepping for a role is yeah, a little bit different. When I get a script I love to keep having fun with it. I read a quote from Leonardo DiCaprio, he said, “When you get a script know what you’re going to say and after that have fun with it.” You know what I mean? So, it’s a thing where you know what you say, meaning your lines, but there’s so many different ways that you can say your lines. That’s what he meant by having fun with it. So I think for me I figure out what I’m going to say and know what I’m talking about and literally just go here, go there with it. You know, me and you may have the same lines but say it different. And there’s different ways you have to react with those in the room, and that preparedness is different for different people. Like I said, I can go and audition and do the same lines and go to another audition and do the same lines, but I have to react a different way because of the way that other person said that line. I have to be able to adjust.
Q. I read that Sleight, your movie coming out this summer, did really good recently at the Sundance Film Festival, can you tell us a little about that film and your role?
A. Yeah, Sleight is about this kid named Bo, this brilliant kid named Bo, who pretty much had the opportunity to go to college and really make something of himself, but because his parents passed away he stays home to take care of his little sister, his only sister. Bo has this huge talent and obsession over magic, and also because he is the man of the house with his little sister he feels he has to do other things, which he dives into a darker world, which is drug dealing. So you see this kid named Bo who has crafty hands with magic, it also it makes him somewhat street smart when it comes to drugs and drug dealing. He works for this guy named Angelo, which is Dule Hill’s character, and basically we see how dark that drug dealing world is and he pretty much has to use his talents in magic that he never thought he would have to use violently to get his little sister back after he finds out how dark that world is. And a lot of people at the end, because he has to use that obsession with magic, some people are calling it a superhero origin and you sort of get that feel like if he wanted to be he could be a Marvel superhero if he wanted to. It’s a really cool role where you got this normal, simple guy, but he can be dangerously heroic in a way. And you get that feel softly at the end of the film.
Q. Out of all of Jacob Latimore’s songs, which would Bo (from Sleight), like the most and why?
A. Bo’s favorite song would probably be hmm…let me see…I think Bo would like more of a hip hop feel record. I think the most hip hop record I got that’s out now, probably this record called “You Come First.” I think he would like that. When I think about a kid like Bo, he seems like he would maybe be into other stuff , there would be some cool music he would play while he’s driving the car, doing magic tricks…
Q.I know you are filming Collateral Beauty right now and I don’t know how much you are allowed to talk about or give away, but I know you are working with a lot of talented actors on that—what does it feel like to work side by side with people of that caliber?
A.It’s wonderful people. I did a film like two years ago called Black Nativity with Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett and after that film I was like –you know I met Forest, I met Angela and I was like man, Forest Whitaker– that is really huge, it can’t get any bigger than that! (laughs) Then maybe a couple of months ago I’m at Sundance premiering Sleight and got that call, they’re like Will Smith’s here and I’m like for real? That’s crazy! And then that whole cast that comes behind Will–Kate (Winslet) and Ed (Norton) and it’s incredible. Literally, Bad Boys came on TV the other day and I’m just like what is going on in my life? And then I get on set and Will has a gift for me. He gave me this iPad Pro, which he also has and he gave just like twelve of them for everybody on set, which was really, really really cool– just a nice touch to give to people. I am really excited about my career. We were doing a take the other day and I had a paragraph line and I kept messing up on it because the script is always changing because of intellectual opinions and stuff like that on how things should be done. So I had a hard time with the lines in the beginning and then this one time I really got it right, and Kate just jumped up and down and gave me a hug and was like “oh my God, that was killer, you did it so well”, then the director comes over and he’s just like, “superior, superior” and I’m really just getting shown love from actors I’ve watched growing up! This acting bug, it’s incredible. I’m really surprising myself because I never really took any acting training or anything like that, so when I get great actors who have been in the game for such a long time and trained for so long– for them to come and say that my acting is brilliant, it’s effortless — you know, I just don’t know where it came from. I mean maybe because I’ve always looked up to great actors. It’s incredible to be in this film. It shows where my acting career can really go. And I’m just going to ride that wave.
Q. What advice would you have for someone pursuing the arts?
A. I think it’s important for you to focus on the work. The craft of the thing. Stay prepared. Anything I’ve done on the film side or musically I’ve done well because I just put in that preparation. And practice. Practice make perfect.
Interview by Stephanie Hodgson