Jack Garratt is riding high in the U.K. upon the release of his debut “Phase.” (Courtesy photo)

Jack Garratt is riding high in the U.K. upon the release of his debut “Phase.” (Courtesy photo)

Jack Garratt leaves teaching for pop music world

It might seem like things are happening at lightning speed for 24-year-old British folk-rocker Jack Garratt. He released his debut album “Phase,” won a Critics Choice BRIT Award and BBC “Introducing Artist” and “Sound of 2016” awards. Yet he’s no overnight sensation. The Buckinghamshire native released five EPs on Island and recorded, then scrapped, a bluesy (but unsatisfactory) full-lengther called “Nickel and Dime” before maturing into his current Frank-Ocean and Jack-White-inspired sound. Before that, he was headed down a different career path.

So you were studying to be a gradeschool teacher?

Yes, I absolutely was. Music has always been a huge part of my life, and it was something I’d been doing since I was a child. And both my parents had music as a hobby, and my mom was a music teacher, so I had teaching in my blood. So I thought I’d become a primary school music teacher, just to follow suit. But as it turns out, I really did enjoy it. For a while.

What did your schooling entail?

Learning the theories behind music, and the best ways to teach children, including the handicapped. So I actually spent a year working at a primary school, one on one with the kids. And it was like therapy. But the moment that expanded into a whole group of children? That’s when I found it hard to deal. To me, it’s easier to stand before a group of strangers and play songs than it is to stand in front of a group of judgmental children. It was pretty intimidating.

But teaching and your songwriting began to overlap?

In my shows, I was always energetic, very outgoing and I moved around a lot. So my strengths were already there for teaching young children, and I found music to be really, really important. Kids absolutely love it. So I tried to teach them about the world, and how diverse its music is. But ultimately, it’s a terrifying thing, because children are so impressionable, and you have to be so careful about the impressions that they’re surrounded with.

Was it tough to finally quit teaching?

I had to do it. I’m not a big risk taker. I like to live life very safely. But I just didn’t want to be practical and stay in the same safe place, and feel unfulfilled and sad, and unable to express myself. So I had to give up everything, give up my education and just throw myself in the deep end in the hopes that music would pay off. And now things seem to be going really well.


IF YOU GO

Jack Garratt
Where: Great American Music Hall, 859 O’Farrell St., S.F.
When: 8:30 p.m. March 10
Tickets: $20 (sold out)
Contact: (415) 885-0750, www.slimspresents.com

BBC awardsBritishfolk rockJack GarrattPhase

Just Posted

Epic Cleantec uses soil mixed with treated wastewater solids to plants at the company’s demonstration garden in San Francisco. (Photo courtesy of Epic Cleantec)
This startup watches what SF flushes – and grows food with it

Epic Cleantec saves millions of gallons of water a year, and helps companies adhere to drought regulations

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for adolescents in the U.S. (Shutterstock)
Why California teens need mental illness education

SB 224 calls for in-school mental health instruction as depression and suicide rates rise

Ahmad Ibrahim Moss, a Lyft driver whose pandemic-related unemployment benefits have stopped, is driving again and relying on public assistance to help make ends meet. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins>
How much does gig work cost taxpayers?

Some drivers and labor experts say Prop. 22 pushed an undue burden on to everyday taxpayers.

Affordable housing has become the chief expense for most California students, such as those attending community college in San Francisco. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
California commits $500 million more to student housing

Called ‘a drop in the bucket,’ though $2 billion could be made available in future years

Most Read