Sophomore Jack Van Cleaf of Encinitas, California, has garnered a reputation on campus for his soft folk melodies and brilliantly incisive and refreshing lyrics.
As a sophomore songwriting and English double major, Van Cleaf has already been featured in a number of writers rounds, Amplify shows and on-campus projects like the Tiny Dorm Concerts.
Van Cleaf began playing guitar in fourth grade and initially hated it.
“My teachers gave me a lot of rock music to start with which I just didn’t really connect with,” said Van Cleaf.
In middle school, he began to find his niche in more acoustic music. Having always been interested in fiction, writing seemed to be the obvious next step.
“I’ve always loved writing in general, so adding an English major has really helped me explore other writing outlets. I love seeing how my two majors play off one another,” said Van Cleaf.
Van Cleaf has loved being in Nashville and tries to take advantage of all of the musical opportunities the city has to offer.
“Whenever I get offered something, I take it,” said Van Cleaf. “I want to be a singer-songwriter, so I just take every opportunity I get to play out.”
Van Cleaf’s biggest influences are Gregory Alan Isakov, Nathaniel Rateliff and Bon Iver.
“I’m very concerned with making sure I’m doing justice to the imagery I feel. I just want to portray it honestly,” said Van Cleaf. “I guess all songwriters are trying to do is describe those feelings we really can’t with just words alone.”
Article written by Sara Scannell. Video by Hunter Morgan. Sound by Jason Saitta.
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