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Jacob Rice Discusses Beginnings and 'Whatever Floats Your Boat'

Singer-songwriter Jacob Rice grew up in a musical household in the state of Vermont. “I was always surrounded by music. “My parents were really big into music. Music’s just always been a big part of my life,” he told The Nash News. Despite music’s influence on him at a young age, country music wasn’t prevalent at all.

Growing up in Vermont, he listened to rock ‘n’ roll, pop, and Motown genres. When he found himself living in LA, he made a life-altering discovery. “Living in LA, I was really homesick. I didn’t like being in such a big city,” he stated. When he started to date his now wife in California, she would play country music in the background whenever he went over to her place for dinner dates. “I remember hearing some of the songs and feeling like, ‘Wow, this feels like how I grew up.’ So I really started to get into it.” Later on, Rice was told by a studio musician he knew that if he really wanted to pursue the country genre, he had to move to Nashville. So he did.

Now, his EP Whatever Floats Your Boat is out for audiences to hear. The lead single for the project is titled “How a Man Treats a Lady” and Rice wrote the track all on his own. Despite the song’s endearing, romantic lyricism, the song stands out to Rice due to its musicality that rides on a wave of heavy Motown influence. “For the past two years, I’ve been really trying to discover who I am as an artist and what’s the message I want to put out,” he shares. He discusses the influence of his home state adding, “You kind of have this interesting dynamic of farm culture and hippie progressives. That’s brought this unique twist in my music. It’s eclectic and unique but still commercial.”

The upbeat, party jam “My House” was the second single that he wrote with Karli Chayne. Chayne, who is originally from Missouri, brings a different background and set of influences compared to what Rice is equipped with. “I feel like the song is a unique blend of what I bring to the table and what she brings to the table which is why co-writing is so awesome,” Rice tells us. He also explains that when they sat down to collaborate, the track came out quite quickly. The track has a deep country style with funky and energetic lyrics.

Photo by Mike Rodway

The whole of the project has a romantic notion to it, but when asked which one is closest to his heart, he enthusiastically responds, “I feel really close to ‘Forever I Do.’” While talking about this track specifically, he mentions a wide range of his influences like Train, Bruno Mars, Brett Eldredge, and Old Dominion. The lyrical content is also extremely personal as Rice notes, “‘Forever I Do’ is actually a song I wrote about my engagement to my wife. It’s about being down in Mexico where we got engaged and being on the beach. There’s something about the sound that is 100% authentically me.”

The most important thing Rice wanted to achieve while creating the new release was to make it as “him” as possible. The next thing he aimed to achieve, was to capture a laid-back, summer essence. “I wanted it to be something you could put on while you’re at the pool, while you’re on the boat, while you’re hanging out and having a good time. This is feel-good country music.”

Rice also wrote and co-wrote every entry on Whatever Floats Your Boat except for one: the title track. The song was one of the last added to the tracklist yet Rice describes it as the “core” of the entire thing due to its message that he feels resonates not only with him, but the country music industry as a whole. “To me, what makes country music so great is how inclusive it can be. I think that that’s something that’s been prevalent the last couple of years and Nashville is trying to include more diversity and more ways of life into the genre,” he explains eloquently. “What I love about that song is its connection to saying, ‘Hey, whatever floats your boat, it’s cool with me. Just live your life. Be yourself. Be you. And everybody love everybody.' That’s kind of the whole ethos of this EP and what I’m trying to accomplish as an artist.”

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