LAGRANGE — Jacob Frish was born with music in his heart.
At age 3, Frish won a music contest with a piano performance of “The Entertainer.” And even though he loved playing the piano, he needed a different outlet for his musical energy.
So, for his 8th birthday, his mom drove him to Guitar Center and bought him a First Act guitar. At first, he and the instrument didn’t click.
“I took lessons for two months and stopped because it felt like a chore,” Frish said, laughing.
But a few months later, Frish dusted off the small guitar and from that point on, he couldn’t put it down.
“Not a day went by when I wasn’t fooling with that six-string,” he said.
Traditional guitar lessons weren’t for Frish. YouTube became his teacher and he wrote his first song at age 10. The song, “Driving to South Carolina in a Mini-Van” was loosely inspired by Billy Joe Shaver’s “I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train.”
By the time Frish was 13, the stage was calling his name, but he wasn’t sure how to get noticed.
As a way to get accustomed to playing in front of crowds, Pizza Hut on the corner of state Routes 20 and 58 allowed Frish to get his feet wet by performing with his acoustic guitar a few times a year.
“It was enough,” Frish said.
But, then they started to pay him.
“When they paid me, I thought, ‘I get paid to do this?’” he said.
A year later, Frish got his first big break opening for Styx’s Dennis DeYoung and Kansas at the annual three-day Rock-N-Resort festival in North Lawrence, Ohio.
The months following his performance at the festival are a blur to Frish.
“I played a Lynyrd Skynyrd song for over 3,000 people, opening numerous doors for me professionally,” he said.
Radio stations called wanting him to talk about being a teen musician. He had a hard time keeping up with the inquiries, but eventually, his “15 minutes of fame” died down.
“I thought, ‘I can do this, and I’m going to do this the rest of my life,’” Frish said.
Now Frish, 22, who gears toward playing pop/country, has performed in up-and-coming-artist feature shows in Nashville, including Whiskey Jam at Winners Bar.
Frish made the move from LaGrange to Nashville in 2017 but still, breaking through hasn’t been easy.
Today, Frish splits his time between writing songs and singing on stage. The EP has been several years in the making and will be released May 6.
“This debut EP is about new, old and loving relationships,” he said. “Through the fun times and the rough times, you will be taken through the journey of a modern relationship. Love, patience, regret, faith and freedom has been captured in this five-song, emotion-filled EP.”
On Saturday, Frish is returning to his roots when he performs at 9 p.m. in The Depot at Union Station at 700 N. Center St., LaGrange.
“I was raised in LaGrange, and I always like to stay true to my hometown,” Frish said.
He will perform original songs from his upcoming debut EP as well as covers. Frish isn’t the only LaGrange native who will perform Saturday. His fiance, Kimberly Kokoski, also will sing.
“The first time we ever hung out, we sang together,” Frish said. “Seven months later, we were engaged. We both have bright tones and grew up on country music, so our vibes match.”