As for the most recent talent to emerge from the town, Jacob Whitesides has toured all over the United States, Europe and South America, but says he still feels most at home in Sevierville. “My family and I love going to Dollywood and Splash Country,” he said during a recent interview. “I love the Southern cooking, so we go to Applewood (Farmhouse), where my mom waited tables for 10 years. Honestly, I love just being home in general.”
When he was 13, Whitesides taught himself to play guitar and with the help of the Internet, learned three staples — “Hey There Delilah" by Plain White T's, “Bad Moon Rising" by Creedence Clearwater Revival and Maroon 5’s “She Will Be Loved.” His father, who played in a band that frequently performed at local bars, encouraged his son’s talent, bringing him onstage to perform.
A product of the social media generation, Whitesides began posting YouTube videos of his songs and quickly garnered a rabid following. In 2012, he gained even more national attention by making it through the first cut on the second season of Fox's The X Factor.
In late 2016, after releasing a handful of EPs, Whitesides released his much-anticipated debut album titled “Why?” Wrote one reviewer: “A powerful thirteen-track collection is brimming with standouts like the finger-clicked soul-pop of ‘Lovesick’ and ‘You Told Me So,’ which deeply reflects on the stresses of a long distance relationship.”
With worldwide stardom staring him in the face, Whitesides said he would never forget his roots in Sevierville.
“I’m in Nashville now for the most part, and I live in this tiny apartment and have neighbors who don’t like loud music, so it’s nice to go home in the middle of nowhere and have a bonfire and blast music,” he said. “It’s a completely and totally different vibe, and it’s really a blast to come home and do that.”
For more of the history, sites and sounds, current events and more happening in Sevierville and the Great Smoky Mountains, please visit http://visitsevierville.com.