Jake Nielsen is an independent recording artist and piano teacher residing in Richmond, Virginia. He has played and sang for a variety of Richmond bands, including “The Fourth Generation.” His debut solo album, “Perspective”, was released in September 2012.
“Perspective” is the culmination of Jake’s solo compositions from over a decade. The music reflects a combination of his 2 major influences: Dream Theater and Billy Joel. The songs cover a wide dynamic range, from high speed progressive rock anthems, to reverent hymn-like ballads.
Jake started piano and guitar lessons at age 7 in his hometown of St. Anthony, Idaho. He wasn’t a huge fan of music, until he discovered Billy Joel at age 12. After hearing the album ”Songs In The Attic,” Jake knew what he wanted to spend the rest of his life doing. Along with playing whatever Billy Joel he could find, he also explored the music of Elton John and other soft rock artists of the time. He knew the value of classical music, and learned pieces by Mozart, Rachmaninoff and others. He also played hymns and inspirational music at church. Friends introduced him to Def Leppard, Whitesnake and other hard rock bands of the late 80s. At age 16, Jake’s family moved to Las Vegas, where he was introduced to more progressive bands like Rush and Queensryche. At 19, he served as a volunteer missionary for his church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) in the Richmond, Virginia area. When he returned, he heard Dream Theater’s “Images and Words.” On that album, he found the blend of keyboard and hard rock he had always strived for with his high school bands. Jake soon returned to Virginia, where he married, and studied classical music at Virginia Commonwealth University. In recent years, he has become a fan of Ben Folds, Neal Morse and The Civil Wars.
Lyrically, Jake has always found inspiration from scripture study, church sermons, and from life in general. He is particularly fond of the messages given by the leaders of his church at conferences held twice a year. He chose the title “Perspective” for his album because he found that a common thread running through each song was the search for truth we all face; trying to see through the illusions and false hoods in the world, so that we can make wise decisions and live life to the fullest.
Though Jake sang all the vocals and performed or programmed all the instruments on “Perspective,” (except for the cello on “A Still Small Voice”), he prefers working with a band. He hopes to do some light touring soon in support of his album.
Jake and his wife are the proud parents of 3 beautiful children. Along with teaching his private students, Jake is the Principal and Roadie for “The Richmond School of Rock.”