NYC native Jared Weintraub is a young veteran of today’s music scene, having started his stage career at the young age of 14 in the clubs of Manhattan. This feat is impressive to be sure, but if you don’t live around New York, you probably haven’t caught Jared playing live. However, if you were a fan on NBC’s The Sing Off, then you likely saw Weintraub’s collegiate a capella group, The Deltones (who made it into the top 10 of the competition). Needless to say, Weintraub has found much success in a short period of time.
His latest release is titled Full Band; an EP with five original tunes written for the acoustic guitar and brought to life with a (you guessed it) full band. We asked Jared to give us a flavor of the sound you’ll find on the new EP – he says “I would describe my sound as acoustic/folk/pop. I combine folk’s meaningful lyrics, with an acoustic feel, and the catchiness of pop while also making sure that every song has a positive purpose or meaning…I think when you listen to my EP on repeat you will hear something new or be able to find a different meaning each time.” Weintraub is on full throttle supporting Full Band, so click to www.jaredweintraub.com for all of the information on Jared’s latest shows and activities. There’s still much to get into, so keep reading for all the answers to the XXQs below.
XXQs: Jared Weintraub
PensEyeView.com (PEV): How would you describe your sound and what makes you different from others in your genre?
Jared Weintraub (JW): I would describe my sound as acoustic/folk/pop. My sound is unique because I combine folk’s meaningful lyrics, with an acoustic feel, and the catchiness of pop while also making sure that every song has a positive purpose or meaning. Many other artists focus on one of the aspects I’ve mentioned while neglecting the others. My music is easy and fun to listen to, but at the same time I think when you listen to my EP on repeat you will hear something new or be able to find a different meaning each time.
PEV: Born in the suburbs of New York City, what kind of music were you into growing up? Do you remember your first concert?
JW: It was very rare for my family to have modern pop music playing on the radio. Very early on I remember listening to show tunes with my grandfather and then came Elvis and other music from the 50’s, the Jackson 5, the Beatles, etc. When I was younger I would listen to one CD on repeat for hours and days on end until I really internalized the music I loved listening to. Now I tend to listen to almost anything I can get my hands on (or really my phone to download). As far as my earliest concert goes I have a very vague memory of seeing my uncle Art play a big show in NYC.
PEV: What was it like trying to break into the music scene when you first started? What was your first show like?
JW: I’ve been playing music for as long as I can remember. There have been several different times when I’ve had the realization or reconfirmation that this was really what I am meant to be doing. The first time I really felt like I should pursue music was in the 4th grade when I found out I had been casted as Birdie in the play “Bye Bye Birdie” when there were older kids who were going to be extras. I remember being so surprised and thinking that I must actually be good at this thing that I loved doing if I was chosen over older kids. My solo career really began when I started playing open mics around my freshman or sophomore year of high school. I would take the train into the city and have to pretend to be 21 or basically try and blend in as much as possible until I performed. My first solo gigs began when the bars I started playing these open mics at began offering me performance slots to what would be empty rooms. I loved just being able to perform outside of my hometown.
PEV: What can fans expect from a live Jared Weintraub show?
JW: Every show I play is a little bit different. Sometimes I’ll play with a full band, sometimes I’ll play an acoustic set with a female vocalist singing harmonies, but usually I will perform as a solo acoustic act. I love to play my original music but also love to throw in some covers in many different genres, which fans might not expect. No matter the set up or the venue fans can expect passion, enthusiasm, and fun. I also never wear shoes on stage!
PEV: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you step on stage to perform?
JW: I always prepare very seriously for each performance and am my harshest critic leading up to the show. When the actual performance comes I remind myself that I have put a lot of hard work and energy into preparing for this moment and to remember that the most important part of performing is to have fun and be focused emotionally on each song I perform. I love being in front of people so when I finally get to step on stage to perform I am usually more relaxed and confident than any other time in my life.
JW: I love being able to share my passion with others, live and in person. I love getting into the zone and finishing a song and knowing undoubtedly that an audience of people I have never met before really enjoyed what they heard based on their reaction. No matter how something may sound on a recording I think being able to experience and perform music live will always be the most meaningful and fulfilling part of my life because of how it affects myself and others.
PEV: What is the underlining inspiration for your music?
JW: The overarching theme for my music is that positive thoughts and actions lead to positive results. I truly believe that our attitudes and our willingness to take action based on these attitudes are what can make our future better than it is today.
PEV: Thinking back to when you first started out, do you ever look back on your career and think about your earlier days and how you’ve arrived where you are today?
JW: I still believe I am very early in my career so I am constantly moving forward and trying to figure out what the next step for me is going to be. However, every once in a while I take a step back to reflect on the things I have already accomplished and I try to truly appreciate and be grateful for these things.
PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about you?
JW: My degree is in Psychology rather than something related to music (although music management was my minor).
PEV: What do you do when you hit a brick wall in your writing? What are some methods to get over that?
JW: My writing usually comes in waves. Whenever I really feel the need to write a song I lock myself in a room alone and let myself relax and flesh out the thoughts that I have on paper. I often will go to my family cabin in the woods for solitude because I am very shy about having others hear my work before I feel it is finished.
PEV: How do you think the industry has changed over the years, since you started out or got involved in just enjoying your music?
JW: I think the Internet and specifically social media is the most radical change since I began to get involved in the industry. In some ways it has made the industry much more accessible to artists like me because I am able to share my music with such a wide range of people all over the world who I may never have had the opportunity to reach in the past. On the other hand there are also millions of other artists who are doing the same thing as me so it is very hard for audiences to weed through the varying quality of music out there and being able to find new artists they truly love. I also think having such an overwhelming amount of material to sift through has forced our generation to become much less patient and to move from one song to another before they have ever really given some of the material a chance to process. In my experience some of the bands and artists I now consider to be my favorites took several listens before I really enjoyed and understood their music.
PEV: What can fans expect from your latest release, Full Band? What was the writing process like for this album?
JW: The Full Band EP is comprised of 5 original songs that I wrote between the ages of 15 and 22. This is the first time that I took songs, which were written only with an acoustic guitar at many different stages in my life, and brought several extremely talented musicians together in order to create full band arrangements. I am very lucky and thankful to have such incredible, talented people in my life, who were willing to play on my EP.
PEV: With all your traveling, is there one area you wish you could travel around and play that you have not yet?
JW: I have never been to Eastern Europe or Asia so I would love to travel there with my music one day.
PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your career?
JW: Overall I am very lucky to have a very supportive group of people around me. I have a few friends who challenge my lifestyle but we always have very great conversations about my plans and how I live my life so in the end I feel even more confident about what I’m doing. I think having such a great support group but also having friends who care deeply enough to challenge me constructively is very valuable and important in such a hard industry to break into.
PEV: What can we find you doing in your spare time, aside from playing/writing music?
JW: I am constantly reading, listening to new music, traveling, trying new things, learning, and enjoying life overall.
PEV: Name one present and past artist or group that would be your dream collaboration? Why?
JW: I would love to collaborate with John Lennon and Adele because they are both artists I relate to on a personal level but also idolize as musicians and would love to work with.
PEV: Is there an up and coming band or artist you think we should all be looking out for now?
JW: Right now I’m loving Ed Sheeran’s music.
PEV: If playing music wasn’t your life (or life’s goal), what would be your career?
JW: I would probably try to do something with psychology or some other form of therapy because I love helping people understand themselves and others.
PEV: So, what is next for Jared Weintraub?
JW: I am in the early stages of planning a tour for 2013, performing as much as possible, recording an EPK video, writing new music, and promoting my Full Band EP.