Jack’s story – get up close and personal!

Q:  What was it like growing up for you?

Jack:  They were interesting times, putting it mildly. I grew up in the slums of Sheffield, very much working class, hard times, living on the breadline in back to back houses. My mum was a child minder so the house was always full, which probably explains my love now for peace and tranquillity! We eventually got upgraded to the ghetto of Sheffield, which felt like a real step up at the time!

Q:  How has this influenced/shaped your life since?

Jack:  As people would say these days, growing up was all character building stuff. But tough, and taught me a lot of what type of person not to be! It showed me the importance of just being kind to people, and how much further that can take you in life. It’s also made me ambitious, driven to achieve something, prove the unpleasant people wrong. The goal of supercharged sports cars, caviar and designer shoes – I can but dream!

Q:  When did you first start to get into playing music?

Jack:  I had my first guitar lesson when I was 6. My mum bought me my first guitar. It was a pretty rubbish guitar to be honest, but it did the trick. Then a great friend of the family, Russell, bought me a much better guitar when I was 11. Russell played Bass in a local Sheffield band called Cats & Rats and was a huge influence for me. They used to rehearse next to Def Leppard. They never quite made it as big as Def Leppard though!

Q:  What was the catalyst for pursuing music as a career?

Jack:  The realisation that I’m pretty crap at everything else! That plus the fact that I absolutely love it, and love giving an audience a night of great vibe. I suppose I could have been a stand-up comedian instead, people are always telling me how funny my jokes are.

Q:  What was the first song you wrote and where was your first gig?

Jack:  My first song was the amazing ‘Racing cars’ which I wrote when I was 7. Funnily enough, it doesn’t form part of my set these days. The first gig was at Broomhall Community Centre when I was about 14 or 15. I played guitar for a band that was put together for a one-off gig. We’d have split up anyway after it because of the classic musical differences excuse!

Q:  Who are you inspired by?

Jack:  I have many inspirations, but at the top of the list are people like Sam Cooke, Mark Knopfler and Paco Pena the incredible Spanish flamenco composer and guitarist. Julian Bream, one of the most distinguished classical guitarists of the 20th century is right up there too. Plus the legends that are Otis Redding, Clapton and Sam Moore. So many unbelievable talents.

Q:  What drives you musically?

Jack:  It’s got to be the fans, no question about it. I love playing for them, I love the groove, I love being in front of them. When I’m playing in front of an audience, the outside world just disappears, it’s great. All the musicians doing their thing, the energy, the audience hanging on your every word. This is what drives me. If it’s this amazing playing in smaller venues, imagine what it’s like playing in front of huge audiences. I hope I’ll get the chance to find out one day!

Q:  What’s been the high point of your career so far?

Jack:  Simple. Working with the hugely talented musicians that I do now – Steve Beighton, Jeremy Meek, Pete Simpson. All inspiring and a massive pleasure to work with. And of course the incredible opportunity I’ve got now of working with Albert Menendez, the musical director of the global pop icon Shakira, on my recent single Libre Por Fin. Who knows there this could lead. Exciting times.

Q:  What are your ambitions?

Jack:  To be able to say ‘let’s take my plane’! I jest!! Music has been my career for a long time now, but I’m still hugely ambitious. So I’m determined to keep working hard, trying to do the right things, and hopefully something big and positive will happen. Either by a bit of luck or by judgment.

Q:  How would your friends describe you?

Jack:  Only when I’ve left the room!! No seriously, I hope they would say that I’m always here for them if they need to talk or they’ve got any problems. I’m a great listener and I just want to be kind to people and help them whenever I can. Sounds a bit twee, but it’s true.


If you’d like to book Jack for a gig at your venue, please drop him a line on bookings@jacktharper.co.uk or call 07745 257858.