Local Musicians, Vol. 1: Jacob Gervais


Mackenzie Boucher

Jacob Gervais and his dad, Bill Gervais, in performance.

The ocean waves crash onto the mud and rocks below the grassy cliff of the Fall River Country Club, which was hosting a Republic Services event that I attended. From this distance the Braga bridge and stone city looks peaceful, the pollution in the sky from the nearby factory mimics the picturesque clouds. The wind teases the fire behind me and fills the air with a pleasant smoke and across the lawn, the musician is singing “Sitting on The Dock of The Bay” while strumming his acoustic guitar with a Sitka Spruce wood top.  His vocals are smooth and clear, able to cut through the dialogue of even the most Bostonian raspy voices around me, a fusion of Sinatra and Styles singing, understated at times and stunning at others. With such musical talent, I should’ve suspected he was from DHS, as I myself, am very familiar with the talent that seems to be uncannily concentrated in the arts. 

Jacob Gervais, musician of 19 years, was enthusiastic to do a profile, and genuinely enthused about a lot of things. Jacob was a musician in heart and soul. From birth it seemed baby Gervais was babbling to the tunes of Elvis, and unknowingly setting the stage for the rest of the musician’s career. “Music was always present in my childhood from the second I was born. I would usually dress up and stand up in front of the TV to watch an Elvis concert and imitate everything he was doing.” A nostalgic image comes to mind here, of unbridled youth and young talent performing in the electric light of TV-Elvis, a fearless performer of only three, who knew already that he would find home with TV-Elvis. 

The world, however, is merciless to all young, unbattered, unprepared souls, and confidence is lost and dreams become personal Everests that seem to grow more vertically terrifying upon every re-examination. The first obstacle was going through the divorce of his parents at 12, an age when it already feels like the world is against you, everything is uncomfortable, and you are just trying to find yourself, and Jacob found music in this rough patch on his journey. “It made me want to play music a lot more, it would get my mind off all the things that were going on at that time,” he said. Music was an escape and melodic medium to express emotions and discover new ones. His parents always supported his dreams. “No matter what, they’ve both been there for me at all times, and I’ve never had to lose touch with them,” he said.

I saw this bond at the country club as his dad, Bill Gervais, smiled and played his own bass guitar with his son, a relationship that added a heartiness to every love and happy-go-lucky classic song they performed together. 

Opening your eyes; a movement completely unthought of and taken for granted; but yet a movement that is magnificently meaningful. The eyes, the windows to the soul are exposed and in doing so, every emotion, every passion, is vulnerable. Keeping your eyes closed, protects that vulnerability and from facing the unpredictable and often cruel world. “When I first started out, I was nervous and used to close my eyes when I played so that way I couldn’t see anyone, but once I ditched that idea, I looked at my audience and it was night and day difference,” said Jacob. It was an “Always Get Better Moment,” the motto on his business card. “[It] was really inspired by “TCB” which is Elvis’ motto, Taking Care of Business. It really just means to learn something from everyone, no matter the situation. I feel I can always learn something from everything I experience, and I believe that it’ll make me a better person.” Always getting better is the only thing we can hope to accomplish on this earth, not perfection, but progress, and experience to become a person that we are proud of. 

Inspiration is also a pillar of Jacob’s lifestyle to cause it in others and to influence himself. He describes a host of artists who inspired him ranging from Elvis Presley to John Mayer. “Freddie Mercury is a big vocal and performing influence. People like Roy Orbison, Otis Redding, and Michael Bublé influence my vocals solely. Buddy Holly, Cat Stevens, John Mayer all influence my songwriting and guitar skills, and Jerry Lee Lewis, Elton John, and Billy Joel all influence my piano playing,” he said. Elvis Presley and Ed Sheeran are his biggest influences, and having so many musicians to look up to gives him a range and varying perspectives to express his own distinct style and inspire others. Music is one of the most inspiring mediums, a consolation to lonely hearts, a way to put indescribable feelings into a beautiful song that resonates with people, and ultimately that is inspiration in its purest form. 

Becoming a musician is notoriously difficult, the chances of making it as one seemingly that of being struck by lightning. Except a lightning strike is random, and becoming a musician is controlled by how much you want it, how much you’ll use your passion to enthrall your audience and create your art. There’s no clear path, it’s obscure and murky. “Everyone has their own unique path. It’s a path that you can’t tell exactly how you’ll get there but you keep pushing to get where you want to be,” said Jacob about the path ahead. “If I tell myself I might need another plan since I might fail with music, then I’m going to fail. That goes for anything. If you think you need a back up plan just in case your dreams fall through, then you’re already doubting yourself.”

He is currently working on new music that will be released in the new year about the journey and life of emotions.“Wanting to bring people together at times where there seems to be so much separation. Music is a healing tool that can be used in so many amazing ways,” he said about his new works

Jacob Gervais is at the beginning of his career and filled with all the hunger and passion of a new artist who has nothing to lose and everything to gain. His story thus far is that of inspiration and art, of pain and reconnecting, and most importantly that of a true musician, a life that can be used to reignite the fire in others through music and performing. He believes together, “we can all take care of business one step at a time.” Inspiring words, from an inspiring person, a musician with a message of becoming your best self, gloriously and unapologetically.

 Jacob Gervais can be supported by contacting 508-942-3728 or [email protected] for birthdays, halls, and events.