CEDAR RAPIDS — He can’t read music, couldn’t tell you the difference between a B-flat and a flat tire. He barely can play the guitar.
But Iowa defensive lineman Dalles Jacobus is giving serious thought to being a professional songwriter someday. He already has penned stuff, including a country song called “Single Mom” with fellow Iowan Adam Whitehead that is getting airplay on radio stations in the state, as well as Spotify and Apple Music.
“I have been talking quite a bit to quite a few people,” said Jacobus, a Cedar Rapids Kennedy grad. “I’ve got a few songs that I’ve put out there, wrote a song about the quarantine on Instagram. I’ve actually started taking it seriously. Obviously not out playing shows right now and everything because of COVID and all that. But there is a bunch of stuff on Instagram and a little on Facebook.
“I’ve honestly been taking a serious look at it, with the way this song has gone, how 'We Wave' went, I’m not ruling it out. It would be cool if it worked.”
Jacobus wrote “We Wave” about Iowa’s well-known Kinnick Stadium tradition, where fans, players, coaches, officials, everyone waves to patients at the next-door Stead Family Children’s Hospital between the first and second quarters of football games. That song got the attention of Whitehead, an aspiring country singer originally from Marshalltown who recently moved to Corydon.
Whitehead reached out to Jacobus, told him how much he enjoyed “We Wave” and said perhaps they could get together sometime and write a song. Over the winter, Whitehead contacted Jacobus again and told him he was in the process of writing “Single Mom,” but had gotten kind of stuck.
Could Dalles help him out?
“I told him no problem, I’d give it a shot,” Jacobus said. “That was kind of the connection with the song.”
Whitehead already had a good first verse to the song. Jacobus chipped in with the second, and the two collaborated on the hook and the chorus.
The title mentions what the song is about, a subject Jacobus wasn’t very familiar with, as he comes from as tight-knit of an immediate family as you’ll see. But he has an aunt who is a single mother raising children, and a long conversation with her one day gave him all the inspiration he needed to add to Whitehead’s song.
“I think we’re both very proud of the end product,” Jacobus said. “This week, I have kind of put my phone away, haven’t been checking social media too much. When the song first came out, I was getting texts and Snapchats and this and that. People hearing it on the radio, people messaging me that they’ve downloaded it and love it.
“Pretty crazy, and a humbling experience, just because I’ve got people who have heard the song and think it’s awesome. Heard the song and say they really connect with it. You hear a few stories like that, and it’s very humbling to know you can affect somebody with music in a positive way.”
Writing music will take a back seat soon for Jacobus, who it appears will begin preparing soon with the rest of his Hawkeye teammates for football season. He’s a senior walk-on who played in all 13 games in 2019-20, primarily on special teams.
Perhaps he’ll find some material in what’s about to come. These certainly are strange times for everyone.
“I’m just checking to see if “Single Mom” is real, honestly,” he said. “We’ve been played on countless radio stations, gotten messages from people in Cedar Rapids, Des Moines. Adam lives in Corydon, and they wrote an article on us today. KBOE in Oskaloosa played us. Just been crazy. I’ve got cousins down in Florida, and they’ve called the numbers of every radio station they could think of to get it on down there.
“Surreal. When we wrote the song, we hoped it would reach some people. But you never expect it to do what it’s done.”
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