Exclusive: Jacob Latimore Talks Debut Album, Acting with Will Smith

When he’s not making movies with Will Smith and Forest Whitaker, Jacob Latimore is focused on becoming R&B’s next big star.

The multi-talented 20-year-old recently stopped by Rap-Up HQ to talk about his two passions, starting with his debut album, Connection, which was released in December.

“I’ve always wanted to release an album,” he says. “But I’ve been filming so much. My film career has been taking off more than I could have ever imagined. I finally had the opportunity to release my official album independently.”

Connection follows Latimore’s mixtapes, including 2009’s I Am the Future, 2012’s This Is Me, and 2013’s This Is Me 2. Needless to say, it’s been quite a journey.

“I started off at Jive Records at 13,” he adds. “That’s when I got signed. I learned so much from just being that young… Just sort of observing everything. Now, sort of having an understanding of the music industry and having fans that support, I had to release a project.”

This newfound maturity also comes on the heels of his growing filmography, which includes roles in Ride Along, Black Nativity, and Collateral Beauty. The latter turned into quite a learning experience with its star, Will Smith.

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“Working with Will Smith was incredible,” he says. “He’s probably the most genuine guy I’ve met in the industry, period. When you deal with the music industry, you deal with a lot of egos…To see someone literally at the top of the pyramid be so kind, and genuine, and welcoming, it was refreshing for me…It was awesome to work with him. Sometimes, he’d stare at me in the face, doing his lines, and I’m like, ‘Oh God! This is crazy.’ But with the movie, I had to put my fan-girl stuff aside, and really do my part, and really earn my scenes.”

Learning from Smith earned him a starring role as Bo Wolfe in J.D. Dillard’s indie thriller Sleight. “It’s about a street magician named Bo who’s fallen on hard times, him and his little sister, after the death of their parents,” he explains. “[Bo is] basically there to provide for her and sort of be the man of the house. As he does his street magic, he’s also doing a little bit of drug dealing to little high school kids and whatnot. Once he sees how dark that drug dealing world is, he has to use his magic, his sleight of hand, to deal with those problems.”

Sleight is slated to hit theaters April 28.