By Tim Hare B.M. ’11

Christian Jacobs is one of the masterminds behind AquaBats! and the massive hit kids’ show Yo Gabba Gabba! His music brings a lot of joy to people all over the world and yet he is constantly asking himself to keep trying to be better. I recently had the chance to sit down with Christian and talk about everything from his background to his process. Here are a few highlights from that conversation:

Beautiful World: At Berklee I was so hell bent on succeeding it was easy to lose sight of why I chose to study music in the first place. I would constantly question myself as a player and composer. Sometimes you just have to take what you learn and let yourself get back to the emotional roots of writing. Jacobs said:

“For me music and songwriting are a part of a lot of things I do along with directing or writing and even though I love it I still feel like an imposter, ya know? You have guys like Danny Elfman and Mark Mothersbaugh and even the guys I work with, they are great musicians. So I think “Do I even deserve to be here?” So when people tell me that something I wrote affected their life in a positive way I get emotional. When we first took Yo Gabba Gabba! overseas on tour we went to Australia. So I am sitting on top of the arena and there was this Maori family from New Zealand. It was the whole family: Mom, Dad, grandparents, kids and they were all singing the Yo Gabba songs, songs I wrote or had a big part in creating and I just started crying.”

Dig for Fire: The day you graduate from Berklee you will have to start planning for a career. It is important to strike a good work-life balance, but making it in this business is a lot of hard, long, frustrating work that only gets tougher as we get older. Jacobs told me:

“You have to continually hustle your next project and treat each project like it’s the biggest project of your life. You have to constantly be thinking, “I am going to be done next week, so what’s next?” I’d love to take a year off and go surfing with my kids every day, but you can’t stop because you’ll get left behind. If you stop to smell the roses, you’re gone. All those anecdotes you hear about how you are only as good as your next project are true, all that stuff is true. Even though Yo Gabba Gabba! was fantastic…I can’t rest on that. I have to keep hustling for the next thing.”

Who Do You Want to Be Today?: Finding YOUR path is a vital key to success. We all want to have the best life possible, but that comes with a strong work ethic, moral compass, perseverance, and passion. Jacobs had this advice:

“Don’t give up! Don’t stop, and don’t give up. The first three songs we wrote for Yo Gabba Gabba! were “Try It You’ll Like It,” “Don’t Bite Your Friends,” and “Keep Trying, Don’t Give Up.” Don’t bite your friends is good advice, too (laughs). Just be who you are and don’t hurt people you care about and are close with. If you want to move out here and make it? Do it. Go for it. If you really want to do it you can’t give up. If you had all the money in the world, what would you do with your day? Whatever that is, make that your job. Do something that makes you happy and find a way to survive doing that. So my advice is try it you’ll like it, don’t bite your friends, keep trying don’t give up, and be real.”

Read the full interview.

Tim Hare B.M. ’11 is the director of operations at Alibi Music Library and a freelance composer whose music has appeared in promos for ABC and CBS shows. Since graduating from Berklee, he has had various jobs across the music industry, including doing VIP concierge tours for Warner Music Group, as well as production and management for Mick Jones of the band Foreigner. Follow him on Facebook and SoundCloud.