At 19, Jacob Vaughan is already making quite a name for himself in the music industry.
The Reidsville resident and 2019 graduate of the Rockingham Early College High School has had one of his original songs played on the radio. He’s also taken center stage at multiple venues, including the House of Blues in Myrtle Beach, and will be opening for two national acts this fall.
Not bad for a young man who started off as a part-time dishwasher in 2015 before heeding his father’s advice to take his love of music to the next level and book a few shows.
Vaughan primarily plays country music from the ’80s and ’90s, but his repertoire includes songs with which everyone is familiar.
“I believe my music appeals to the entire family,” he said. “Songs that I sing are ones that kids memorize, tunes that dads listen to on the way home from work, songs that moms request ‘Alexa’ to play, and even hymns that appeal to grandparents.”
Vaughan also intersperses sets with material of his own. The song that led to his invitation to the House of Blues, “One of Those Days,” is about his grandfather passing away after fighting cancer. It won Best in Show at Rockingham County’s Fine Arts Festival and even aired on the radio in Fayetteville and Myrtle Beach.
But, Vaughan’s operation is still low-key. His musical team includes his dad, who does booking and management; his mom and girlfriend, who take care of accounting; and his sister, who handles merchandise. On stage, Jacob Vaughan Music is a one-man band.
“It’s just me,” he said. “I play guitar and sing, but I also use some special effects to add harmony vocals and occasionally use a loop pedal to create a bigger acoustic sound.”
Playing gigs since he was a freshman in high school, Vaughan learned to play the guitar by watching YouTube videos.
“I grew up in a musical family,” he said. “My parents sing in church, and my grandmothers sang in the church choir.”
Vaughan tried out for the television talent show “The Voice” three times and admits he got a little discouraged when he was not chosen to appear on the show.
“Looking back, those were great opportunities to be able to sing in
front of professional talent scouts, perform in some of the greatest studios in the Southeast and to play some of the acoustic guitars that I had only dreamed of playing,” he said. “At this point, I am taking the grass roots approach; if it’s God’s will for me to make it, the current team that I have backing me, my family, is who I will continue to work with, and we will make it together.”
Vaughan plays between two to three shows a week while taking courses as part of Rockingham Community College’s welding program.
“My parents told me that if I wanted to chase a dream, I needed to learn a trade to supplement the dream,” he said.
While Vaughan loves playing various types of music, country music takes him back to his roots.
His great-grandfather played barn dances featuring country, bluegrass and old-time music.
“Although he passed away before he got to hear me play, I like to think that I am carrying on the tradition,” Vaughan said.
Jacob Vaughan Music’s newest song, ‘Helen, GA,” will be released Oct. 9, the same day Vaughan will open for country singer and songwriter Ray Fulcher at the country-western club Arizona Pete’s in Greensboro. Fulcher co-writes with superstar Luke Combs.
“I think the most popular song that he’s co-written is ‘When It Rains It Pours,’ and he (Fulcher) also co-wrote the newest single for Luke, ‘Even Though I’m Leaving,’ ” Vaughan said. “So, as a fellow songwriter, I’m excited to share my songs that night, as well.”
Vaughan will also perform at the Reidsville Fall Jubilee and later this fall in Burlington for the country music group Diamond Rio.
Despite his growing success, Vaughan remains humble and grounded.
“My plans and hope for the future consists of being able to impact and influence as many people as possible with music,” he said. “It’s what I love to do and a gift that God has given me.”