Insider picks from a rising star who considers
Sevierville, Tennessee his hometown.
Singer/Songwriter Jacob Whitesides—who is best known for his earnest, melodic pop and online cover songs—has toured the world, but says that he feels most at home in Sevierville, Tennessee.
Born in 1997, Whitesides first became interested in music while attending a bluegrass festival in 2008. By age 13 he’d taught himself to play guitar, then began posting YouTube videos of his songs and quickly gained a loyal following. As a teen he played shows around Knoxville. In 2012, he leapt onto the national stage by making it through the first cut of Fox’s The X Factor.
In 2016, after releasing a handful of EPs, Whitesides released his much-anticipated debut album “Why?” A year later, he delivered his first album of all-original material, “A Piece of Me.” His newest single, “Killing Me,” was released on October 27, 2017.
Among his many accolades, Whitesides has been named an “Artist to Watch” by Spotify (2016), Pandora (2016), and MTV (2015), the “Next Big Thing” by Radio Disney (2015), and has seized the No. 1 spot on singer/songwriter charts three times.
We recently caught up with him for his take on Sevierville.
What does Sevierville mean to you?
Sevierville means everything to me. I feel like so many kids dream of growing up, and leaving their town, but I always dreaded the day I had to leave Sevierville. I started to tour around the age of 15, and quickly realized that there’s no place like home. I did end up having to make the move to Nashville when I started to record and write more, but I try to come home almost every weekend to visit family.
How would you describe Sevierville to someone who’s never been there before?
I’ve always tried my best to explain to people how much stuff you can actually do here. It doesn’t matter what the weather is or what mood everyone’s in, you will always find something to do! Personally I love hiking, mini golf, and Friday night football games the most.
What’s your favorite restaurant in Sevierville?
Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant will always hold a special place in my heart. Not only does the environment make you feel right at home, the food is unbelievable. The apple fritters and chocolate cake are to die for. My mom also worked there for almost seven years, so my sister and I spent a lot of time there as kids.
Where do you go for barbecue?
Bennett's Pit Bar-B-Que
Which restaurant would you most likely take a date to?
The Alamo Steak House is my go-to for date night.
How about when dining out with your mom?
My mom and I both love Mexican food, and the El Paso Mexican Restaurant is our favorite place to eat!
Is there any particular business in Sevierville to which you’ll always be loyal?
I always love stopping in and supporting the guys at the Music Outlet. I purchased my first guitar there when I was 12, and that’s really where it all started.
Where's your favorite place to go on a rainy day?
We love going to bowl at the Sevierville community center. We go almost every time I’m home!
Where did you most enjoy going as a little kid?
Dollywood [in nearby Pigeon Forge] was always the most magical place as a kid, and something I never get tired of even as an adult!
Where would you take a date in Sevierville?
Most definitely a hike. It’s so fun showing off the mountains, especially to someone who didn’t grow up here.
What would most surprise an out-of-towner about Sevierville?
The overwhelming amount of stuff to do. Sevierville has so much to offer!
How did Sevierville influence your music career?
I saw my first concert in Sevier County at a small bluegrass festival where I was inspired to start playing music, purchased my first guitar at the Music Outlet, and played some of my first gigs at local bars in town. I feel like so many of those things are the reason I’m doing what I’m doing today. It’s such an inspiring town to have grown up in.
Is there any place in Sevierville that you’d tell visitors is a "must see"?
Driving up to the Tennessee/North Carolina line to this day blows my mind. I think it’s a mustsee view of our beautiful mountains.
When you go home to visit Sevierville, beyond your friends and family, what do you most want to see?
I always love going to support the local high school football teams. The school programs are incredible in this area, and the sports teams are always a blast to watch.
Is there a perfect selfie spot in Sevierville?
No matter where you go in Sevierville you’ve almost always got a gorgeous view in sight. I take some of my favorite photos whenever I come home.
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