“I’ve been waiting for a young one like him for a long time man, he’s an absolute genius. I’ve never heard anybody like that before. His talent is just frightening.” Quincy Jones
In our era permeated by hip-hop and branded music, it is good to know that there are still some true creative forces out there. The 22-year-old prodigy from northern London named Jacob Collier is one of the best examples of modern musical genius. The above song “Hideaway” is off the first album of Collier – In My Room – released in 2016 when he was only 22 years old.
The English singer, arranger, composer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist that first gained notice in 2012 when his homemade, split-screen video covers of popular songs, such as Stevie Wonder’s “Don’t You Worry ’bout a Thing” began to go viral on YouTube attracting the attention of thousands. Among these fans was the legendary producer Qunicy Jones. In 2014, Collier signed to Quincy Jones’ management company and began working on his one-man, audio-visual live performance vehicle, designed and built at MIT.
One of the fascinating things about Collier’s music is that it refuses to be classified into one musical genre fusing elements of jazz, a cappella, groove, folk, electronic and classical music, gospel, soul and improvisation.
Jacob’s Room (Note the two Grammys on the red speakers)
In 2016, Collier released his debut album In My Room which was entirely self-recorded, arranged, performed and produced in his room at the London home he grew up in. In February 2017, Collier was awarded two Grammys for his arrangements of “Flintstones” and “You And I” both from the album.
Collier, who is partly Chinese, grew up in an intensely musical family. His maternal grandparents Derek Collier and Leila Wong were both professional violinists. His grandfather trained at the Royal Academy of Music and eventually was the concertmaster of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. His mother, Susan is an accomplished violinist and long-time instructor at the same college.
Watch a stunning Collier performance on NPR’s Tiny Desk series (Recorded 7/29/19)