Who Is Jacob Sartorius?
Jacob Sartorius (born October 2, 2002; full name Rolf Jacob Sartorius) is a singer whose success on Musical.ly, a social media app that features short videos of lip-synced performances, helped launch his music career. In 2016, Sartorius released "Sweatshirt" as his debut single; he's also known for songs like "Chapstick" and "Hit Me Back." He and Stranger Things actress Millie Bobby Brown went public with their romantic involvement in early 2018, before splitting later that year.
Sartorius, who strongly appeals to tweens and young teen girls, has released a number of pop songs with this market in mind.
Sartorius's debut single was "Sweatshirt" (2016). The song addresses a girl who, even though she might not be ready for a kiss, can still get close to a boy by wearing his sweatshirt. Its video has received tens of millions of YouTube views; the song also reached No. 90 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and made it into the top 10 chart on iTunes.
'Hit Or Miss'
"Hit or Miss" (2016) spent two weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at No. 72. The video for this upbeat pop-rap number features a California beach setting and hundreds of Sartorius' fans.
With "Chapstick" (2017), Sartorius revisited the eternal theme of young love. The song has lyrics such as "Nothing between us but Chapstick"; the video, set in New York City, ends on an almost-kiss.
'Hit Me Back'
Sartorius worked with hip-hop star Blackbear to create and perform "Hit Me Back," a single about the pain of waiting for someone you like to respond to you. The song was included by the New York Times as No. 12 on their list of the best songs of 2017.
Sartorius has released two EPs (EP stands for extended play: shorter than a standard album, it's a collection that usually contains eight or fewer songs).
'The Last Text'
Sartorius's EP The Last Text came out in January 2017; the title song refers to the special recipient who'll get a teen's last text of the day. Songs on the EP also include "Hit or Miss," "Bingo" and "Jordans." The EP spent one week on the Billboard charts, placing at No. 12 in album sales and No. 5 in digital albums.
'Left Me Hangin''
Sartorius' second EP, Left Me Hangin', came out in the fall of 2017. It was not as successful as The Last Text; in its one week on the Billboard charts, it only made it to No. 59 in album sales and No. 14 in digital albums. Among the EP's songs are "Chapstick," "Hit Me Back" and "Skateboard."
Millie Bobby Brown
After rising to fame, Sartorius was linked to actress Millie Bobby Brown, star of Netflix's Stranger Things. In October 2017, Sartorius was in a photo shared on Brown's Instagram Story, prompting talk that they were dating. Fans also spotted the duo on New Year's Eve when they were at Walt Disney World with Brown's family.
On Valentine's Day 2018, Sartorius and Brown's respective Instagrams featured different images of the two of them together, along with Valentine's wishes. And on Brown's 14th birthday, February 19, 2018, Sartorius shared a couple's selfie on Instagram; his accompanying message included the line, "Can’t wait to see you, I love you and miss you so much!!" However, the romance fizzled by summertime, with the two announcing their breakup at the end of July.
Previous speculation had linked the singer to actress Jenna Ortega, co-star of the video for "Chapstick." Sartorius has said the two were simply friends.
Singing and performing is a longstanding interest for Sartorius, who first entered the world of musical theater when he was seven. He has dedicated hours a day to vocal lessons and practicing the guitar.
Sartorius is also interested in songwriting, and has collaborated on the creation of some of his songs. On tour he's performed at venues in the United States and overseas.
Parents and Family
In a video released via his YouTube channel in 2016, Sartorius shared that his birth parents in Oklahoma had given him up for adoption. He also noted, "Luckily for me, I was blessed to be able to be adopted by two of the most loving parents in the world — my mom and my dad."
Sartorius grew up in Reston, Virginia. He has an older sister named Caroline.
In a 2017 interview, Sartorius said, "If anybody wants to get to know me better, they can go on my social media. I think that’s where I connect with my fans the strongest. Everything that I do, I try to connect with people. That’s always been the main focus."
Sartorius became one of the breakout stars on Musical.ly, an app that was a perfect fit for his love of music. App users — known as "Musers" — are able to create 15-second videos of themselves lip-syncing to different songs. (Now that he's releasing his own music, fans can use Sartorius' songs on the app.)
Before Musical.ly, Sartorius was on Vine, a now-defunct app where users could post six-second looping videos. When he was 11, Sartorius, who'd been bullied in school, uploaded an anti-bullying message that eventually ended up with about 16 million loops.
Sartorius is also active on Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. He has nearly three million followers on YouTube, more than 1.6 million followers on Twitter and reaches more than 9 million followers on Instagram.
Social media permits fans to directly connect with those they admire — but it's also a venue for venting about stars, and some people have complained about Sartorius' attitude. In one video that's received negative attention, a fan asks him for a shout-out to her friends, but Sartorius says he can't remember three names.
In November 2017, Sartorius posted an Instagram video message that thanked the people supporting him, and also wrote he was "a kid out here working my butt off." Grace VanderWaal, an alumna of America's Got Talent, commented in response, saying in part, "Lip syncing on an app and manipulating young girls feelings and hearts is NOT 'working your butt off.'" She also advised him, "Please get or stay educated on those who came before you to understand and realize your blessings."
However, some of the negativity Sartorius has received has no basis in fact. In 2016, a Buzzfeed article included screenshots (which had gone viral) indicating Sartorius was using Facebook to ask a young woman for nude photos. After this was published, a Sartorius representative stated — and Buzzfeed updated its story — that these messages had not been from Sartorius, who had not yet signed up for Facebook when the requests were allegedly made.
The bullying that pushed Sartorius to create his first Vine continued even after he became a standout online (in fact, his success contributed to the attacks). Though he went so far as to change schools, he never found an accepting location. In a video interview in 2018, he said he left school when he was 12 or 13 in part because of this bullying. He now takes classes online.
March for Our Lives
On March 24, 2018, Sartorius was one of the speakers at the March for Our Lives in Los Angeles, an event in support of gun control organized by students who survived a mass shooting at their high school in Parkland, Florida.
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