Everybody’s got that one guy in their house who’s trying to make music, and for many, dropping a hit single is the ultimate dream. For Sean Jacobs, a recent college grad and former member of the Oregon State chapter of Chi Phi Fraternity, that dream became a reality. His debut single, “Be Like You,” has been played over 700,000 times in the first week since its release and broke into Spotify’s Viral 50.
We sat down with Sean, who goes by the artist name CVBZ (@cvbzmvzic), and asked him about what it’s like to be on the edge of the big time.
So what’s with the name? How do you pronounce that? Cee Vee Bee Zee?
Actually it’s “Cubs.” Funky spelling, but it’s just the suffix of my last name.
That makes more sense. Honestly though, I pronounced Avicii “Ava-cee” for like two years. Nobody corrected me. How would you describe yourself as an artist?
I describe my genre as chill, soulful RNB pop, down-tempo. Electronic dance. Pop. Little bit of this, little bit of that.
It’s an eclectic sound.
Yeah, as most music is these days, but it’s important to try and add your own flavor.
I think you got the formula right. The single really bangs. What were some of the biggest challenges you faced getting where you are today?
People, man. People. So many talented artists get hated on for doing their thing. Five years of steady shit-taking, I think I’ve earned that bragging right (laughs).
No, but it was really the ones that had faith and kept pushing me along that got me over that “fear hump.” I risked everything and moved down to LA. Having a girlfriend who believed in me and wanted to follow my dream too literally made me unstoppable — life was easier to manage, so I could devote my soul to this.
What’s living in LA like?
LA’s dope. It’s hot. It’s crowded. The people are weird and everyone is trying to make it. The LA entertainment scene is a whole other monster. If you do it, make sure you have people that have your back. The parties are big; the lifestyle is unlike anything else in the world. Which makes it totally worth it. You can really only find it down here.
Parties huh? I like parties. As someone who wants to believe my frequent inebriation is leading somewhere, what role do you think partying and getting really drunk plays in the creative process?
Alcohol, for me, and for a lot of people, causes a multitude of effects. Of the many by-products, “conflict” and “sex” really come to mind. I had a lot of conflict when I was in college. There were fights, misunderstandings, arguments — losing friends, making friends. Losing love, making love — that’s great shit to write about, and those experiences have fueled some amazing songs. Not just in me, obviously, but in history.
How did your experience with Greek life impact your career development and your sound?
Summer before college, I started rapping. My first term at OSU, I joined Chi Phi. Initially, it was a really cool outlet. When we partied, there was a lot of creative stuff going on. Standing in a circle, free-styling, etc. In the early days, being in the fraternity was great. A lot of people supported me. “Dope, it’s sick you’re trying to be a rapper, keep it up.”
On the other hand, some of the guys in the frat turned out to be my biggest haters. As time went on, a lot of people thought I was wasting my time, or that I was a joke. I definitely lost some of my best friends because I tried to use my talents as a way to even the scales, but only further alienated myself. It was hard, but you can’t let other people keep you down.
I guess you have to take the good with the bad. What advice do you have for other aspiring artists and guys in college right now trying to break into the music biz?
If you’re fucking around with GarageBand, or you want to be a dorm room rapper, do it. Make a tape. I mean, yeah, a lot of people are doing it, but don’t worry about that.
If you suck, keep sucking. Don’t stop sucking. It’s like a monkey on a typewriter. You keep doing it enough, you’re bound to make some magic.
Congratulations. You just said what everyone who gets their break always says. Come on, man.
Dude, you are what you feel about yourself. If you wanna be big, feel big. Don’t surround yourself with people who make you feel small. If there is one person who digs your music, make them your audience, not the people you feel like you have to prove yourself to.
And seriously, if you really want to go legit, social media is huge. This took me a long time to understand. You could be making some of the coolest music in the world, and if you don’t have a following and a platform, you’re not going to get anywhere. Sorry!
Thanks, Sean! I guess I’ll break out the old keyboard. Hollywood, here I come!