New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

Producer and NYU junior Ryan Jacob on his musical journey

The British American musician and DJ is adding to his list of successful projects while studying at NYU.
Ryan Jacob, music producer and Clive Davis junior. (Courtesy of Ryan Jacob)

When Ryan Jacob was 3 years old, he heard “Ode to Joy” ringing out of his nanny’s phone. He was sitting by the piano and, intrigued by the tune, started playing it back, note by note. Immediately after, his parents signed him up for piano lessons.

Jacob, formerly known as Astrojaxx, is now a junior at NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, where he’s working toward his bachelor’s degree. He’s also a successful producer, working with artists — sometimes other NYU students — in a wide range of genres from Latin to EDM to pop and boasting over 1.2 million streams on Spotify.

He started his music career at the age of 12, attending the prestigious Scratch DJ Academy and performing as a professional DJ. At 14, he was selected to attend the Berklee College of Music to study music production and the keyboard. Slowly, he shifted his focus from DJing to releasing music and collaborating with other artists.

“I wanted to be at a festival playing to thousands of people,” Jacob said. “I don’t think they would let a 15-year-old kid do that. So that’s when I just started focusing more on production. And I thought that if I ever wanted to get back into DJing, production could be my way into finding that sound to perform.”

“Back To You,” Jacob’s first single that he released at age 14, charted at 23 on the NACC Top 30 Electronic Chart. “Universe,” a 2019 song that Jacob produced for Argentinian singer-songwriter Mechi Pieretti, had more of a reggaeton and Latin influence compared to his first release. The song charted at No. 9 on the music streaming app JOOX “What’s New” list, alongside artists such as Sam Smith, Beyoncé and NAS. Its acoustic version was featured by Billboard and on Spotify’s New Music Friday Latin playlist.

Some of Jacob’s songs focus on the harder moments in relationships and have slower, more mellow beats, such as his latest release “Blue” with Clive Davis graduate Mikaela Stenmo, as well as “Someone New” with Kylie Muse.

“‘Someone New’ — we started that from scratch and talked about the concept and it seemed like a sad, ‘there’s no one else in this world I want to be with rather than you,’” he said. “So the song would be a mellow beginning, just the acoustic, and then at the end, all the instruments come in. And that’s where you get the passion that we wanted.”

Part of Jacob’s interest in music came from his family. His father, a guitar player, influenced him to keep practicing and appreciating music. Jacob grew up listening to classic artists like The Beatles, James Taylor and Bob Seger. His current musical inspirations include artists like Amelia Moore and Sam Tompkins. Although he studied classical music — which is very different from his current electronic style — he says the discipline it taught him played a heavy role in his current success.

“It instilled values of practicing and perfectionism that I have in my music now,” he said. “Piano is just more so a tool for production now, but I still value everything that I learned before.”

He is currently studying abroad at NYU London while completing his degree.

“Being at Clive is amazing,” he said. “You can really choose your own path on whether you want to be a producer, songwriter, music business and collaborating with others, and they really do give you the creative entrepreneur mindset that they tell you from the start.”

Jacob’s new single with Stenmo, titled “Get Me Down,” comes out on Oct. 12, and two new remixes of “Someone New” are set to come out later this month.

Contact Naisha Roy at [email protected].

About the Contributor
Naisha Roy, Deputy Managing Editor
Naisha Roy is a second-year studying journalism and Spanish & Linguistics. She loves covering topics like immigration issues and NYU policies. In her free time, she's probably doing the daily crossword or cooking while listening to Taylor Swift. She loves spending her weekends finding cheap food spots around the city with her four best friends. You can reach out to her on Instagram @naisharoy9 if you ever need to rant about how AP Style doesn't use the Oxford Comma.
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