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October 2019 - Jacob Sigman

The Evolution of Ann Arbor's Jacob Sigman

Story by LCC Radio Reporter Philippe Goudiaby

Trigger Warning: The following article is about a man originally from Toledo, Ohio. If you are holding any resentment about the Toledo War (a.k.a. the Michigan-Ohio War), please proceed with caution.

Jacob Sigman in concertBorn in Toledo, singer-songwriter Jacob Sigman first came to the Mitten State as a student at the University of Michigan. Although he had been invested in songwriting up to that point, Sigman attended college not for music, but to study environmental science and French. Initially, he found it difficult to find music community in the Ann Arbor scene. Now, years after getting established in Wolverine town, the musician has made a name for himself and entangled in a rich web of fellow musicians and creatives.

The musical journey began early for the singer-songwriter, who began learning the piano in the first grade and guitar in fifth grade. He also began writing songs around this same time and has never looked back. “Usually a song starts from me sitting either at the piano or with my guitar,” Sigman said while elaborating more on his songwriting approach, “A small idea and kind of grows to something bigger.”

In the quest for personal evolution, Sigman revealed that he recently developed the goal of writing at least one hundred songs this year. There is a nostalgic quality to much of the songwriter’s music. This is by design. Jacob grew up listening to music that drew him towards the songwriting style that he describes as “classical” and “timeless”. Not quite Beethoven or Tchaikovsky, but he credits The Beatles as his biggest musical influence growing up. “I don’t necessarily have a lyrical message at this point,” Sigman said, “I’m not pushing any ideology, I’m trying to take all the music I've ever loved and combine it in a way that is new but also familiar.”

Jacob SigmanAlthough it took him a while to find his groove in Ann Arbor, the city has been a huge spark influence on his musical direction with the electricity of the local scene giving rise to many great talents. Sigman specifically named Ann Arbor based band, Vulfpeck as a group that was making waves during his college tenure.

Of course, the Ann Arbor music scene wouldn’t be so vibrant without all the abundant venues, giving artists the chance to come together. In fact, Sigman’s first show took place at one of the city’s most legendary venues, The Blind Pig. It has hosted a countless list of talented artists throughout the years and Sigman has had the privilege to play there quite often since that first gig. He states that no matter how many places he plays, The Blind Pig still “just feels like home base”.

Having an artistic community has been imperative for the young musician. With such a vibrant scene at his fingertips, Sigman has been able to tap into the vast pool of creative talent that exists in southwest Michigan. The connection has given him the chance to work with Datsunn, another musician that helped produce the bulk of Sigman’s music. He credited the producer with the ‘beat flip’ at the end of his new song “Forever Blue”.

Musical artists are only one avenue of the art connection that Ann Arbor has given him though. These days, visuals are just as much a part of the music as the actual music itself. Sigman’s brightly stylized videos and website are in part due to his collaboration with graphic designer Riley Savage. The two developed the concept of giving each song its own color. One can see this concept greatly in the video for “Bigger than Love” where yellow is predominate throughout. The video also portrays a sense of community where it is filled with extras that Sigman jokingly states “are just homies”. “There’s no clear-cut way of making it as an artist,” said Sigman regarding his “homies”, “It’s nice to have people who are facing the same challenges as you”.

Jacob SigmanMusicians often face challenges when it comes to live performance. There have been hurdles along the way for Sigman, but many bright spots as well. Once while following another act at a Michigan co-op, the crowd was noisy and unruly. Sigman felt overwhelmed at first, but then it all came together. “Some shows you play and everybody’s talking and there’s nothing you can do about it,” said Sigman, “But this show, everybody stopped talking and listened to my entire set. That was a moment for me where it was like okay, maybe I can do this!” That confidence is not misplaced as Jacob has been releasing tracks monthly all while lining up shows across the state. There’s plenty to write home about for this promising Ann Arbor artist but surely there’s even more took look forward to in the future!

You can catch Jacob Sigman at the Blind Pig Oct 19th or on the Internet as he maintains an active presence on his both Bandcamp and YouTube pages.


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