PARIS — Jacob Whitesides, the face of Viktor & Rolf’s new scent Spicebomb Night Vision, is psyched about his next gig.
The Tennesee-born singer-songwriter began playing in bars as a teenager, then got a break after Liam Payne of One Direction posted one of Whitesides’ covers, which became an immediate viral success.
For four years, Whitesides, who is 21, has served as chief executive officer of his own record label, and was named Artist to Watch on Spotify and Pandora. His “Basically Happy” tour was in North and South America, and Europe in 2017.
The artist gave an exclusive interview with WWD about how it feels to front a fragrance.
WWD: What drew you to this project?
Jacob Whitesides: I was honored to be contacted by Viktor & Rolf — it was a huge moment for me. I think that Viktor & Rolf is such an awesome brand, and the scent and concept behind Spicebomb Night Vision really spoke to me.
Social media is such a big part of my job and life, and I was immediately intrigued when I heard that this fragrance was inspired by the digital world and basically how people communicate behind the screen or in the dark. The new Spicebomb Night Vision is really fresh and modern, and I thought it was fitting that this fragrance is launching at a time in my career where I am also going through some big changes.
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WWD: How did you find filming an ad and being in a photo shoot for a fragrance?
J.W.: It was a challenge trying to deliver someone else’s vision. For my music videos I know exactly what I want and the final cuts are longer. For the fragrance, I was bringing to life the designers’ vision that would be portrayed in a 30-second cut.
Viktor [Horsting] and Rolf [Snoeren] had such a clear idea of what they wanted — which I relate to when I work on my music, or a tour or a video — yet they were very generous and let me have a lot of control over how I acted in the situation. I was quite nervous going in because I’ve done a lot of photo shoots before, but I’ve never considered myself an actor by any means. But in the end, I didn’t feel like I was having to act. I was totally in the moment, and it felt real, natural, sexy and playful.
WWD: What is your relationship to scent? Are you a longtime fragrance lover?
J.W.: I’ve always really loved scent. I started wearing it around 12 years old because I decided it would give me the extra edge over other kids at school.
WWD: What do you like in a fragrance?
J.W.: The power of scent in the darkness is incredibly strong. When you’re in the dark with someone and you can’t see them well that person’s scent becomes so important in that moment. I have been wearing Spicebomb Night Vision a lot and the power of it in the darkness was on my mind the whole time working on this project — how just with a scent you can seduce and be seduced.
WWD: What projects are you working on?
J.W.: Right now, I am continuing my writing and honing my craft, and surrounding myself with the perfect team of people I truly love and trust. Then the music will speak for itself.