Hailing from Toronto, Canada, Jake Lee Epstein, a musician of sorts, along with being a well-known actor, began his lifestyle within the acting realm. His acting career shot right up, from the local Royal Alex Theatre, his favorite role being “Artful Dodger,” in “Oliver”. He managed to direct his own play “The Dead and the Rooster,” in 2003. Since the beginning, Jake has been extremely successful in landing numerous TV roles, from hit series down to feature length films. His best known role was as Craig Manning from the hit series “Degrassi: The Next Generation.”
Jake admires, his parents, along with his musical influences, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, and absolutely loves chocolate. Aside from acting, he spends most of his time doing what he enjoys the most: creating/playing music. He’s played in a handful of various bands, building up the momentum to push his musical career as far as it’ll go. I recently had the chance to speak to the well-known icon about his current lifestyle, musical plans, and acting highlights.
NP: What are you currently up to?
Jake: I am currently starring in the Broadway Musical Production of “Spring Awakening” (which is on tour now) as the role of Melchior. I joined the cast July of this year, and am ecstatic to be a part of it. On the side of that, I am currently working on my own music and trying to get an album out soon for all of my fans.
NP: When you compose a song where do you get your ideas from and how does a song evolve?
Jake: An idea for each song comes from a million different inspirations. It’s basically any emotions, feelings, or situations that I’m going through at that time. Whether it be about love, friendships, relationships, stress with the many parts of life, or just life as a whole. It’s what I’m feeling when I think “I have to sit down and write this out.”
NP: How many bands are you a part of right now?
Jake: I am currently solo, as far as my music goes. I still jam with my friends in Funkasaurus Rex, but I’m currently not working with them at this exact time. I might be back in the actual band, but I might decide to continue my solo work.
NP: What songs do you most enjoy performing live and why?
Jake: All of our tracks have meanings to us, and we share the love for each song we perform. However, as far as Funkasaurus Rex goes, when I’m performing with the guys, we love playing “Soar,” because it describes where we feel we are at in life right now.
NP: Is there one thing you regret about being a part of “Degrassi: The Next Generation?“
Jake: I do not regret anything about being a part of “Degrassi.” It has been an amazing learning experience for me, as well as being able to work with great mentors, that have given me a lot of advice that I will look to in the future. I also loved being able to be part of a show that is so great for teens to watch, as “Degrassi” is the only show that covers many, if not all, of the problems teenagers face in everyday life. It was amazing to be able to be a part of it and I’m excited I was able to share everything with the fans of Degrassi.
NP: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Jake: I enjoy writing music/lyrics, playing the guitar, piano and drums. I enjoy spending time with my friends and family. I enjoy a little bit of everything, but whenever I have free time, you will most of the time find me with friends, family, reading, outside thinking of something to write about, or sleeping haha.
NP: What was it like directing your first play, “The Dead and the Rooster,” back in 2003?
Jake: It was absolutely amazing to be able to be directing a play as young as I was. Overall, it was an amazing and wonderful experience for me to see the other side of a play, rather than just having a part in the play. It was a great learning experience, which I will share again, if I ever direct again, but It made me see that directing a play is just amazing as performing in one, and I would love the chance to be able to do it again in the future.
NP: What are your hopes for the near future?
Jake: My hope in the near future is just to continue being able to work on some amazing projects, stay true to myself, and within my own values. There’s no exact job that I want, or anything I want to accomplish at this point. I take life day by day, and just try to stay focused on my work, in that mindset, and enjoy every minute of it. I hope in the near future, I will be doing something that I am truly happy with, that I learn from, and that I can take with me to use later in life, as well as share the lessons with others.
NP: Who are your idols and why?
Jake: My idols would have to be my parents, Kathy Kacer and Ian Epstein, for showing me that there’s never a thing you can’t conquer in life; to never give up no matter how discouraged I am at one point, and to always be myself, and stay true to myself in my work, and to keep my private life out of my career and do not let it interfere the other. My other idols are John Lennon, and Jimi Hendrix, because they are amazing musicians, and a big inspiration to a lot of people. Through the messages in the lyrics of their songs, everyone is able to relate to their music, as a part of everyday life.
NP: If you guys were to describe yourself in simple words, what would you say?
Jake: Ambitious, goal-oriented, Outspoken, one who sees outside of the box rather than just being stuck on the inside. We have a good head on our shoulders and are willing to work as hard as we need to be able to get the music out to everyone, so they will have something good to relate to no matter what the situation.
NP: What’s your most embarrassing experience?
Jake: Haha! Well, the first one that comes to mind is during the second season of filming “Degrassi.” I had a scene where Craig’s father had just died – He gets really upset, and everyone is trying to help him out, but he just doesn’t need anyone right then. He keeps telling people that he’s fine. Finally he sort of snaps at the end of the episode, and he tears down this banner, and it’s all sort of really dramatic. So I tore it down, and I ran away, and I just tripped and fell flat on my face. Everyone was laughing at me. Because I was screaming and crying and then I just slipped and fell and it was terrible.
NP: Do you ever tired or annoyed by questions asked by Journalists?
Jake: No, not at all. Mainly, it’s the same questions, but mostly each is different in its own way. Normally, you always have a different answer for a question if it’s been awhile since you’ve been asked it. I appreciate every question, because I know I will hopefully help anyone with any question they have, rather it just be about career life or advice on something personal going on with them. I am open to all questions.
NP: What was it like shooting the first ever “Degrassi” movie out in Canada and Los Angeles?
Jake: It was amazing, California is so beautiful, and a lot of fun. We also go to work with amazing American musicians as a part of this movie, along with some fun American actors. It was simply amazing, and I would love to go back to Los Angeles, because the whole time we were there, we had a blast.
NP: You mentioned you’re a solo artist, currently, do you have an album out or in the works?
Jake: I’m in the process of working on it right now as we speak.
NP: Any last words?
Jake: Be sure to check out “Degrassi Goes Hollywood,” only on The N, August 14th, at 8pm Eastern Time. Hope you enjoy the movie! We worked really hard making it just for our fans, and we had a lot of fun in the process. We want you all to enjoy it as much as we did. Learn something from it as well; there is a lot of lessons to be learned from it. Haha, that was a lame plug for the movie, but I like it. Enjoy! Thank you.