Jacob Tolliver returned to his roots this past week and performed to a packed house at the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts on the campus of Shawnee State University.
He is a mere 23 years old and making it big in the entertainment industry.
The Portsmouth West graduate just finished a four-year stint in Las Vegas where he performed in “Million Dollar Quartet,” which ran at Harrah’s Casino. Tolliver has been in an understudy role portraying rock music legend Jerry Lee Lewis in Vegas. He also auditioned for American Idol in 2015.
To see Jacob’s American Idol audition, click here.
The “Million Dollar Quartet” was a show about musicians Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley. Tolliver shined in the spotlight and banged on the piano and was even complimented by “The Killer” himself for his imitation of the iconic piano player.
Jacob loves the piano thumping style of Lewis, and he has ambitions of forming his own band to modernize the sounds made famous not only by Lewis but also by Little Richard and Fats Domino. According to Jacob, that is the going trend right now for that style of music.
“I want to keep that style alive, but make it 2017,” he added. “They had a special and unique flare.”
What’s next for Jacob now that his Vegas gig is over?
He has moved to Los Angeles and hired an acting agent – Susan Duff (Hilary Duff’s mother) – and has enough gigs booked over the nation to keep him financially stable.
Jacob is an extremely talented young man, but he is proof dreams can come true at any age. He has the desire and style to reach his dreams. I admire him for that.
He is blessed with talent and able to get an early start on his career.
On the other hand, I just turned 50 and am finally in the process of seeing one of my dreams – to have a book published – come true. The difference between us is only 27 years — but it’s okay.
Right now, I have a manuscript being edited by professionals. I must admit It’s quite humbling, thrilling and intimidating all at once. It makes you question your talents at times.
Going after dreams can be a little scary too. But they won’t come true unless the first step is taken.
“You just have to jump off the cliff and do it,” Jacob said. “You can’t sit around and talk about it because you’ll never do it.” I like Jacob’s attitude.
That is so true. So even my ripe age, I am finally trying to accomplish one of my goals. I don’t know if I’ll make it big time like Jacob has done at 23, but at least I’m giving it a shot.
It’s humbling to me every time I receive my edits through e-mail from the editor I have hired. When I first see the edited pages, I get discouraged because all I tend to focus on is all the red lines I see and all the markings. However, once I dive into the suggestions, I quickly learn it’s not all that bad. In fact, it is helping me tremendously. I guess medicine never tastes good going down, but it helps in the end.
That’s what this editing process is like. I don’t like the changes at first, but after I put it all together, it’s a whole lot better.
In fact, I sent my editor a message the other day. “Thanks for making lemonade out of my lemons,” I said.
Jacob – at the tender age of 23 — has inspired me to keep going, to keep reaching for my dreams. He has a brash attitude combined with humility. I can tell he is from this area because he is very mannerly and humble. I hope he keeps those qualities. He told me he will not forget where he came from and the upbringing he has had.
“For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” Luke 14:11 KJV
Being humble is an admirable thing. Remembering those who helped you and supported you is another thing. People who show genuine support rarely want anything in return except love. People who often want things in return rarely have your best interest at heart.
In my little time with Jacob, I can tell he’s grounded in the right way. He respects his heritage and those who have helped him along the journey.
“This area is important to me,” he said. “The people who believed in me first were all right here. I love coming back here. I’d be here all the time if I could.”
Keep going, Jacob. Chase your dreams, but stay humble – we are all rooting for you.
Note: See Jacob’s impromptu performance at the Market Street Hardware in Portsmouth by clicking here.