MSJ ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT : JACOB RICE
Ellie T. MSJ '22 & Elizabeth W. '24
Mount Saint Joseph Academy has been open since 1882, and has turned out lots of talented students, one of which is Jacob Rice. Jacob Rice is a hybrid country sound musician who graduated from MSJ in 2013. He has since gone on to write songs, having made more than 100 songs this year. He has more songs coming out next year as well. He was more than happy to give an interview with some members at MSJ about the school, career and how they relate.
Jacob Rice writes hybrid country sound. His parents loved music, so Rice grew up surrounded by instruments, the first one he learned being the bass. He can play a multitude of string instruments, but not percussion (unless it’s online). His favorite type of music to not only write, but also listen to is country. Country music, however, is new to him. He used to dislike it, but he got reintroduced to it by his then girlfriend, now wife, while he was in LA. He said he was homesick while in LA, and the country song felt as if it was describing where he grew up. Rice said that songs should come from the heart, and a large part of songwriting is being open with your feelings, and this mentality about songwriting comes through in his music. His songwriting process can vary from song to song, he said that, “You get inspired by something.” What that something is and where it comes from can vary, so can the length of the songwriting processes. Rice said that sometimes the best songs can be written in five minutes, and other times it takes months of struggling with finding the perfect “words to say”.
For Rice, this inspiration came from the love he had for his Wallingford Vermont hometown, and while his exact style wasn’t developed until later on, MSJ helped to foster his love for music. He credits most of his positive musical experience to the school’s administration at the time, as well as to his highschool friends and bandmates, Matt and David. He always felt that he had the necessary time and freedom to grow his passion and skills for music, and that the administrators and teachers were willing to make sure he had these opportunities and equipment. Even outside of his world of music, Rice recounts that coming to MSJ was the “Greatest thing I ever did for myself,” in terms of his educational motivation. There were higher standards, and he knew that his grades increased because of it. After graduating from MSJ, Jacob attended college, and felt he was well prepared for it, but he and his parents both knew what he really wanted to be doing, and encouraged him to go for his goals and that he did not need to finish school, so he started pursuing music full-time. Rice feels that looking back on things, he probably could have just finished college and maybe had even better opportunities, and encourages others to consider that. However, the most important advice he can provide in terms of both music and just the way you live your life is to be happy with whatever you’re doing, and to let art be art.
If you’re interested in hearing more from this creative artist, Jacob Rice will be on tour later this week throughout New York and Rutland!
He’ll be performing at the Center Street Saloon Saturday night, October 23.
Check out his professional bio and a link to one of his songs:
Listening to country radio today, it’s not uncommon to find an artist challenging the norms, and recording music for the love of the lyric. But in a genre currently dominated by flat brims and ball caps, you’ll find Jacob Rice strumming on your heart strings.
Coming from the town of Wallingford, Vermont with a mere 2000 residents, Rice was raised stacking the wood stove, enjoying the great outdoors, and writing his songs by the river. Like the sap from the maple trees, his sweet songs are taken straight from the heart. Rice’s hybrid country sound transcends genre to deliver an authentic experience driven by heartfelt lyrics and a soulful, passionate vocal. His current release, Something Bout Us, brings a timeless, refreshing take on the current country sound.
He has had the honor of being produced by Chad Cromwell (Anders Osbourne, Joe Walsh, Neil Young) and Paul Worley (Lady A, The Chicks, Martina McBride) for an upcoming project. Rice was also chosen by the prestigious Bluebird Cafe and Taylor Guitars as their January 2021 Golden Pick. Rice has been featured on Spotify’s “New Music Nashville”, "Fresh Finds", Vermont Public Radio, and 101.5 WEXP Vermont Community Radio. All of these accomplishments are a testament to Rice’s hard work and dedication to making great, lasting music.
Grounded by a love for his home state, Rice is ready to show the world who he is - one song at a time.