Jacob Kanupp wasn’t always interested in music. Though he has devoted his professional career to its study, Kanupp said he considered a wide range of careers before finding his perfect fit.
“I've always found myself being interested in almost anything in front of me. When I was younger, I wanted to be everything—a dentist, a stand-up comedian, a director, a college professor. All I really know is, I love learning how things work and how to solve problems,” he said. “Over the years, I found myself researching a bunch of stuff about music theory, how it works, how to get better at it. For a long time, I was just self-taught, and I wasn’t going to go to college. Then I found Trevecca.”
Kanupp graduated from Trevecca in 2018, and thanks to the academic foundation he built while studying music on the Hill, he was prepared to hit the books again right away. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in vocal pedagogy at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee College of Music, the largest independent college of contemporary music in the world, located in Boston, Massachusetts.
“When I was deciding what to do post-high school, I actually wasn’t planning on going to college. I was planning on coming to Nashville as a musician, but it wasn’t until later that I decided to pursue a degree,” he said. “I will graduate this year, and I may be doing a second master’s degree in musical theatre and vocal pedagogy. The goal is that down the line, I will be able to more heavily pursue a career in academia and be a modern renaissance man of sorts."
Kanupp’s ambition is nothing new—while at Trevecca, he was a double major, studying both vocal performance and music theory and composition under Dr. Eric Wilson, associate professor and chair of the Department of Music.
Wilson said during Kanupp’s time at Trevecca, he was a musical force.
“Jacob was a multi-faceted musician here at TNU. Even during his undergraduate study, he was a terrific young baritone with massive potential and a promising composer with a firm grasp of advanced theoretical concepts,” Wilson said. “His potential is limitless … and I am watching with excitement to see what the next decade holds for him.”
Wilson said in the field of music, as with much of the arts and entertainment industry, competition is fierce. Wilson thinks Kanupp’s skills set him apart.
“His range is remarkable on both the high and low ends, and his technical prowess will only get better and better. He is well-suited for a future on the operatic stage, the concert hall, in musical theatre, recording, or most any other area he chooses,” Wilson said. “I am honored to have had him as a student, but even more proud of him for the man he has become.”
Kanupp said he hopes his future holds exploration of many artistic avenues both on and off the stage, but thanks in part to the influence of professors like Wilson, he plans on making his way back to the Hill to mentor the next generation of student musicians.
“Dr. Wilson was my private instructor in composition and for a year, and he was also my voice instructor, so we spent a lot of time together,” Kanupp recalled. “Through that, more than just academic guidance, he influenced me on a personal level. He’s a man of strong character, and he is always so consistent in his compassion.
“I keep up with what jobs are available at Trevecca, even though I am not in the market right now,” Kanupp continued. “I’ll be coming back and giving to future students what Dr. Wilson and my other professors gave to me.”