Collier is just 25 years old, but already the self-taught multi-instrumentalist and vocalist has attracted the attention and admiration of some of the biggest names in world music. Picture: Supplied
Collier is just 25 years old, but already the self-taught multi-instrumentalist and vocalist has attracted the attention and admiration of some of the biggest names in world music. Picture: Supplied

CT Jazz Fest spotlight on Grammy winner Jacob Collier

By Staff reporter Time of article published Feb 6, 2020

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Picture a song in which the boundaries of musical genres cease to exist, where boundless imagination runs unchecked and mind-boggling vocal harmonies crescendo into a ubiquitous explosion of aural pleasure... you'll then begin to understand the music of four-time Grammy Award winner Jacob Collier. 

Collier is just 25 years old, but already the self-taught multi-instrumentalist and vocalist has attracted the attention and admiration of some of the biggest names in world music. 

Collier started making YouTube videos in 2012, where he arranged, performed, recorded, filmed and edited densely-layered compositions and arrangements, with his own unique DIY approach. 

His videos drew praise from around the world from the likes of Herbie Hancock, David Crosby, Steve Vai, and Quincy Jones, who manages Collier to this day.

He was also one of the surprise guests at Jones' 85th birthday party celebrations, at the Montreux Jazz Club, in 2018.


At the end of 2015, Jacob crafted his debut album, "In My Room", in his music room at home, which he produced, performed and recorded entirely by himself. 

The album topped 23 international iTunes Jazz charts and went on to win his first two Grammys. Jacob is the youngest-ever winner in his two categories.

His success has led to collaborations on television commercials for Samsung, Apple Beats, and Volkswagen. 

He aided in scoring a film for Dreamworks alongside Hans Zimmer, and performed at Coachella with Hans and Pharrell. 

His musical collaborators and fans include the likes of Coldplay, Ty Dolla $ign, Tori Kelly, Daniel Caesar, H.E.R., Charlie Puth, Kehlani, and YBN Cordae.

In January 2018, Jacob began designing and creating a recording project on an unprecedented scale – a quadruple album called "DJESSE": 50 songs, divided over four volumes, with each operating within a separate musical universe of sound, style and genre.

Scattered across the four volumes are more than 30 collaborators from nearly every facet of the music world, including Daniel Caesar, Lianne La Havas, Oumou Sangaré, dodie, JoJo, Steve Vai, and Take 6, to name a few.

His arrangement of the 1960 standard "Moon River" by Johnny Mercer and Henry Mancini won the Grammy for Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Capella, and his arrangement of the Lionel Richie hit "All Night Long" bagged the Grammy for Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals.

In "Moon River", Collier records the entire arrangement himself, singing each voice of the choir-like performance across multiple-part complex harmony.
It's easy to see and hear why some have called him a musical genius with an unbounded imagination.

Collier is just one of the incredible acts performing at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival taking place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on March 27 and 28.

Catch Collier at the 21st edition of Africa's Grandest Gathering. Tickets are R649 for a day pass and just R999 for a weekend pass, and are available at Computicket.

Official sponsors of the 21st annual Cape Town International Jazz Festival are the  Department of Arts and Culture, Heart 104.9 FM, Independent Media, AYO Technologies  Solutions, Engen, Scottish Leader, Coca-Cola Peninsula Beverages, SAB ABInbev,  Raymond Weil and Host City – the City of Cape Town. 

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