Warning: You are about to fall head-over-heels in love with Jacob Whitesides.
He's a talented singer/songwriter whose music is honest, personal and just really, really good -- which is one of the reasons why he is MTV's newest Artist To Watch.
"It's super mind-blowing that they thought I was talented enough to do this -- it's an honor," Jacob told us of his ATW title. "My fans freaked out."
The teenager has some impressive guitar skills to go along with his strong songwriting ability, making him an an artist that has some serious staying power. So sit back, relax, and get to know your new favorite singer, Jacob Whitesides.
Who He Is
He's a 17-year-old from Knoxville, Tennessee, that got his start on YouTube covering your favorite artists -- including One Direction, which got him a Twitter shout-out by Liam Payne. In 2012, Jacob got even more national attention when he appeared on the "X Factor," making it through the first cut. This year he released his EP, A Piece of Me, and hit the road with both Fifth Harmony and R5.
Singing Wasn't Always His Thing
When Jacob was younger, he wasn't really into music -- he was into sports. "I loved football and track and tennis; I played all sports," he said. But when he was 13, his life changed when he reluctantly attended a bluegrass festival.
"I went and there was a band on stage -- they are actually called The SteelDrivers -- and they were singing songs and I was feeling a lot and one of the songs made me cry and I was 13, so at a young age to be touched by music like that.. it really opened up my eyes," he said. "I bought a guitar a week later. I didn't want to be a singer because I was terrified of singing and I had a lot of stage fright [but] some girl convinced me to sing. It was all uphill from there."
What You Should Listen To
I suggest listening to his entire six-song EP, A Piece Of Me, because this teen has got some serious talent. But the talent goes way beyond the voice -- he's a gifted guitar player and even better lyricist. On the EP he gets personal as he talks about love, his estranged relationship with his father and heartbreak. For those that are giving a listen for the first time, try his sweet, soothing love ballad, "Not My Type At All."
Why You Should Listen
If you like Ed Sheeran and John Mayer, you're going to love Jacob. His music is "pop with a little bit of edge" as he describes it, but he incorporates different instruments and his lyrics are "a little deeper than a lot of pop songs."
He's Wifed Up
Sorry ladies, Jacob is a taken man. The singer has been dating fellow "X Factor" contestant Bea Miller for quite some time and he told us that most of the music on his upcoming EP and debut album is inspired by her. Oh, and don't be too surprised if she's featured on the album since he revealed they have worked on a song together. BTW, they are the cutest couple.
He's A Boss
Jacob released his first EP through his own JW Records label, but in June he announced that he signed with BMG for the launch of his own Double U label. Jacob, the CEO of the company, stresses that this is a label for his fans.
"I'm glad that I have the deal that I do because they work so hard. We work hard together, they are my shareholders, and its such an incredible feeling to have such a strong fanbase," Jacob said. "You don't have to go the traditional label route."
Jacob, who is currently on tour with R5, isn't slowing down anytime soon. He's currently wrapping up his EP, which should be out "around back to school," and is writing for his upcoming debut album.