By Darlene Donloe
Jacob Latimore is a triple threat. The 18-year-old heartthrob is a singer, actor and dancer who is making tidal waves in the industry.
Everything is going his way.
For the last three years he was nominated for BET’s YoungStars Awards.
His song, Heartbreak Heard Around The World, featuring T-Pain, premiered on Idolator on June 9. Last October he was part of the High School Nation Tour, where he performed alongside Drake Bell, Bean and Dakota Bradley.
Jacob Latimore, Angela Bassett, Jennifer Hudson and Forest Whitaker
in Black Nativity (courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment)
His movie credits include Vanishing on 7th Street and Maze Runner, which hit theaters last September. He also appeared in Ride Along with Ice Cube and Kevin Hart and in the holiday film, Black Nativity with Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett and Jennifer Hudson with whom he collaborated on Hush Child (Get You Through This Silent Night), which appeared on the film’s soundtrack.
Jacob Latimore (second from the right) in The Maze Runner
If you missed his performance in The Maze Runner, which grossed $225 million worldwide, don’t worry, the DVD and Blu-ray (Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment) are set for a December 15 release. The film is a survival thriller based on the best-selling novel. Black Nativity was released on Blu-ray and DVD last October.
I recently caught up with the extremely busy Wisconsin native to talk about how he keeps his feet on the ground while dealing with showbiz.
DD: The holiday season is upon us, why should anyone watch or buy Black Nativity?
JL: I think it’s a relatable family situation. My character, Langston, is living with a single mom who is falling on hard times. But he doesn’t know who his family is. He doesn’t understand what went on. He wants to have that relationship with the family. The film shows family togetherness and faith. Be thankful for what you have.
DD: Thanksgiving is coming fast. Any plans for the holidays?
JL: I will be with my family in Milwaukee. It’s going to be fun. We sing. There are four singers. We also play Monopoly.
Jennifer Hudson and Jacob Latimore in Black Nativity
(courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment)
DD: The Black Nativity DVD is coming out soon. Talk about working with Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett and Jenifer Hudson.
JL: They are incredible. Being in their presence and seeing how focused they are was inspiring. I had to hold my responsibility of the film. I had to step my game up and be on point.
DD: Did you learn anything from any of them?
JL: I learned about focus.
DD: The Maze Runner did well at the box office. How did you approach that role? The Maze Runner starred
JL: I auditioned for another role, but by the time I auditioned everyone was cast. Once I saw the movement behind the book and film, I wanted to be a part of it. I didn’t care what I was playing. I was happy to be a part of it.
DD: You have booked several commercials and voiceovers, done movies and you are a recording artist. You’re moving fast. What is your plan for your career?
JL: My plan, I see myself like a Justin Timberlake or Will Smith. I want to balance out my music that I’ve been doing since I was nine. My own film company and record label.
Jacob Latimore and Thandie Newton in Vanishing on 7th Street
DD: How did you prepare for your first lead role in early 2011 with the feature film, Vanishing on 7th Street, starring Hayden Christensen and Thandie Newton?
JL: I definitely pray. I like to be natural. I read the script a lot. I have the character on my mind al the time. I try to put myself in the situation.
DD: Were you any good?
JL: I’m my worst critic. I was bad. I’m not too hard on myself. It makes me cringe to watch me. Sometimes I shock myself.
DD: Are you going to study acting?
JL: I just jumped into. But I’m looking forward to doing that. I want to train. I’ve had quick acting coaches.
DD: Have you seriously studied acting?
JL: It’s a really cool experience. You challenge yourself to be in someone’s shoes. You get to feel different emotions. Get out of your comfort zone.
DD: What does music do for you?
JL: What would we do without music? It helps us explain things. It makes you feel good.
DD: Your father is a singer with the Latimore Brothers. Music is in your blood. What did you learn from your father?
JL: Growing up, he helped me on the road. He makes sure I don’t over sing. A lot of my family helps me with that. They make sure I’m on top of what I need to get on top of.
DD: What did you expect when you got into showbiz and what did you get?
JL: I think sometimes being a young artist you think it’s easier than what it is. You have to keep pushing yourself. There will be a lot of nos. Sometimes they won’t believe in your vision. Some people say things you don’t like. R Kelly gave me some advice. He said to stay humble. I’m a faithful guy.
DD: What do you think when people compare you to Chris Brown and Usher?
JL: That’s incredible. I look up to those guys. Michael Jackson and Timberlake are the best. I still want people to know who Jacob Latimore is.
DD: You had a good year. How do you keep your feet on the ground?
JL: It’s important to keep family members around. When I was younger I spent a lot of time with my grandparents. It keeps me humble. It’s important to keep people around who have always been around.
DD: 10 years from now where do you want to be?
JL: Winning Grammies, Oscars, Emmys, directing films and writing scripts. I want to do the executive type of things.
DD: What’s next for you?
JL: I’m in the studio right now. I’m constantly working. I’ll be putting out music in a few months. Right now I’m living in the studio.
BLACK NATIVITY DVD and BLU-RAY is currently in stores. Running time: 143 minutes; Rated: PG
THE MAZE RUNNER DVD and BLU-RAY™ is in stores Dec. 16, 2014. Running time: 113 minutes; Rated: PG-13
*The Maze Runner photo courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment