Print this page
Thursday, 26 October 2017 11:09

Swift Current hip-hop artist bravely overcomes—releases first album

Written by 
Rate this item
(0 votes)

The musical journey of Swift Current hip-hop artist Jacob Heinrichs has reached a new height with the completion of his debut album Everest.


“It’s a nice feeling,” he said. “I’m pretty critical. So I always feel I can do a little bit better every time.”
He made practice albums before, but this is his first full-length album/mixtape with 12 songs. He has been working on this project for a few years. On three songs he performs with three other hip-hop artists, Kairos, Zada and Tanja Wicks.
“As far as a real holistic project, it’s my first project,” he said. “There were lots of times I didn’t want to finish it, but I did it, so I was pretty happy.”
Those feelings of uncertainty over whether he should complete the project were a result of his critical approach to his art and his efforts to always improve his music.
“Some days it just felt like it wasn’t a very good project and it just felt like why finish it, because I kept getting better,” he explained. “I kept progressing all the time, and one song will be better than the next. So I always want to put my best foot forward.”
The album's title, Everest, is a reference to the highest mountain on earth that is seen by mountaineers as the ultimate challenge. For Heinrichs this musical project represents an important achievement that required significant effort to complete.
The symbolism of the album's name is reflected on the album cover, which includes the name Everest across a photograph of a well-known concrete business in Swift Current started by his grandfather and later managed by his father.
“That to me is symbolic of accomplishment,” he said. “That to me is Everest, because they accomplished so much in their lives, they did so much. They climbed this metaphorical peak. I’m trying to climb my own peak and Everest was kind of like a peak for me.”
The arrangement of the songs on the album reflects his journey to complete the project, starting with the songs Everest and I'm Back.
“It’s a journey, because if you follow along with the album, even on the surface, it connects,” he said. “You start climbing, you start almost arrogant, because you’re so confident. You’re just starting out, it’s the morning, and you’re going to climb this mountain, but then you reach a slump.”
The next few songs on the album reflect that struggle to keep going, with titles such as Bad Habits, Old Ways, Alone, I Struggle and Slow Process.
“You come down a little bit, like a dip in the mountain,” he said. “So then you kind of go through a depressive state, you feel alone, like everyone has deserted you. As it says, you feel like you’re going back to your old habits. One of my old habits was actually admitting defeat far too quickly growing up, because if I wasn’t good at something right away I would quit it. That to me is also connected to the album itself and Everest, the mountain, because I never quit rapping. I’ve been doing it for 10 years. It’s something I chose not to quit, I’m not quitting.”
The final songs on the album – Can't Stop, Never Let Go, and Breathe Easy – reflect that sense of endurance and commitment to reach a goal.
“There’s a song about struggling basically just with yourself,” he said. “You find the struggle is not the mountain, the struggle is internal, it is you. So once you hit that epiphany, you start to rise once more and as you rise you can’t stop. You hit the peak, never letting go, your attitude totally changes, because you’re revamped, and then when you hit the top of the mountain there’s the last song, Breathe Easy, you made it.”
His interest in hip-hop music started at an early age. He was introduced to the music by his brother when he was only about seven years old, and he started pursuing it when he was about 14 years old. It required a lot of perseverance to reach this point where he produced an album, which he considers to be a key message of the album.
“Don’t give up, because if you give up, you’ll never make it,” he said. “If you keep trying, you just might, because when I started rapping, it was terrible. Everyone is, but if you stick with it and you love it enough, that will drive you to acquire the skill that you need.”
Heinrichs wants to use his music to raise awareness about mental illness. A number of the songs on the album reflects his desire to reduce the stigma about mental illness.
“I have depression; I have pretty high anxiety,” he said. “Actually, I have schizophrenia diagnosed. So for me that’s what the middle of the album is all about. It’s got an undercurrent of mental illness,  because it’s a huge part of my life. So I like to highlight that. ... I like to tell a story and I like to help people with music, and that’s why Everest is Everest, because it shows you can do it. The last lyric on the album, the last thing I say, is ‘you could do it’ and that was intentional.”
His goal as a musician is to continue to grow and to improve his music. He will look for a different sound, new ways to syncopate, and different cadences, as well as new messages to communicate. Religion will be a key theme in his next project. He wants to explore his own relationship with God and he has already written the closing song for a future album, called Close to God.
Copies of the album Everest are available at no cost from Heinrichs and the full album is also on SoundCloud and YouTube. To contact him, call 306-774-6084 or go to his Facebook page Jacob Heinrichs Music.

Read 335 times
Matthew Liebenberg

Reporter/Photographer