Glee Newcomer Jacob Artist on Dancing Dreams, Rap Nightmares and New-Girl Drama

jacob artist gleeJacob Artist’s acting career only began in earnest last year — with guest roles on Melissa & Joey and Nickelodeon’s How to Rock — so not surprisingly, he says he’s finding it a little surreal to have a recurring role as Jake Puckerman (younger half-brother of Mark Salling’s bad boy Noah ‘Puck’ Puckerman) on Season 4 of Glee.

“I was a fan of the show before I auditioned, so now every time I go to Paramount and we’re shooting, it’s like an absolute dream come true,” says Artist.

TVLine caught up with Artist to discuss which Glee cast members he’s sharing scenes with, what prestigious school he turned down to follow his acting dreams, and why he’s hoping there’ll be no reprise of “Bust a Move” in the New Directions’ rehearsal room.

TVLINE | So let’s talk about your character, Jake Puckerman. Does he have same dad as Noah (aka Puck)?
Exactly. We have the same dad. I’m Noah Puckerman’s younger half-brother, and he’s definitely a Puckerman in that he’s got a bit of an attitude problem. We’ll see if that gets in the way of him joining the glee club or not.

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TVLINE | I’ve heard some variation on that quote from you in several interviews and in the Glee Season 4 promo reel. You seem to be implying Jake’s participation in New Directions is not guaranteed.
No, absolutely not. One of the things they instill in the show in general is that you have to have a good attitude, you have to be positive, in order to succeed. And they’re definitely not going to be rewarding anybody with a negative attitude — that’s for sure.

TVLINE | Is Jake someone who wants to be part of New Directions, but puts up a front that makes it hard for them to accept him? Or is he ambivalent about joining and finds himself getting courted by Mr. Schue or some of the glee-club members?
He definitely had a very troubled past which made him put up his walls a lot. He’s super passionate about what he does, but he’s got to figure out a balance: You can’t just want it, you have to be likable and friendly, too.

TVLINE | You’ve shot three episodes thus far?
We just finished Episodes 1 and 2.

TVLINE | Okay, so based on what you’ve shot so far, how will Gleeks perceive Jake out of the gate: Hero or villain?
Based off the first two episodes, I don’t know. But I hope he ends up being a hero. There are so many layers to him, but deep down he really is a good guy.

TVLINE | Will that not be evident from the first two episodes? Is he a slushie thrower, by any chance?
He’s introduced the same way Puck was. You can see good qualities inside, but he definitely has his walls up initially. Everything he does is justified, based on his history. It’s really affected him.

TVLINE | Did Jake grow up in the same house as Puck?
No, he did not.

TVLINE | What’s their relationship? Have you explored it yet in the episodes you’ve shot?
We haven’t really explored it yet. It’ll be cool if there is an interacton with Jake and Puck because I know their relationship is a little bit estranged.

TVLINE | Do you know if there are plans to bring back Melrose Place star Thomas Calabro as the Puckerman boys’ messed-up dad?
I don’t know. That would be cool definitely to see how he interacts with Jake and how that confrontation plays out. The dad’s already been on the show and he has, like you said, some unredeemable qualities. There’s definitely tension for Jake surrounding his whole family life.

TVLINE | So which cast members have you been shooting your scenes with?
I’ve been working a lot with Matt Morrison [Mr. Schuester], who’s been really great and taken me under his wing a little bit. Mr. Schue is definitely inclined to take notice of me when he finds out I’m Noah Puckerman’s younger half-brother. He’s the first one who sees potential in Jake. I’ve also been shooting a lot with the two new girls — Melissa Benoist (as Marley) and Becca Tobin (as Kitty). So you’ll definitely be seeing a lot of scenes with us the first two episodes.

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TVLINE | Which character is going to be Jake’s No. 1 source of drama right now?
Drama-wise, there’s gonna be a lot of ups and downs with the two new girls — Marley and Kitty. There’ll be a lot of things unfolding in and amongst the three of them for sure.

TVLINE | Are you hinting at a possible love triangle?
Maybe. We’ll have to see. [Laughs]

TVLINE | Well, we know Puck fancied himself as a ladies’ man. Is that a trait he shares with Jake?
Oh yeah, definitely Jake’s a ladies’ man. You can tell right off the bat he’s a Puckerman because he shares some of the same qualities Puck had.

TVLINE | Does this mean he’ll be showing an interest potentially inappropriate relationships with older women, too?
We’ll have to see. Right now I think he’s a little bit more tame — keeping it with girls in high school. [Laughs]

TVLINE | That’s probably good. So word is you’re covering the Fray’s “Never Say Never” in the season premiere. Is Jake doing this as a New Directions audition, or is this more of a personal scene where he’s singing it to someone else?
New Directions obviously begins the season a lot smaller [because of the loss of graduating seniors], so they’re trying to bring on some new people, of course. So yes, I’ll be singing “Never Say Never,” but you’ll have to tune in to see if it’s in an audition setting or if it’s sung to a girl. You never know.

TVLINE | You’re not giving up any scoop!
You’ve got to tune in and see. That’s the best part.

TVLINE | Any musical genre or artist you’re dreading having to cover?
I haven’t done it yet, but if they ask me to rap, things might get a little shaky. I’m hoping to steer clear of rapping for as long as possible. [Laughs]

TVLINE | I’ve also read you have a background in dance. Give me some specifics about your training.
I started dancing when I was five, and I trained intensively as a competitive dancer up until the end of high school. I did all genres, and later on a did a lot of extra ballet on top of that. I actually got accepted to Julliard for dance during my senior year, but I ultimately turned it down to come to L.A. to act. The audition process was incredible: You have to be there for a whole day, and there’s six rounds of cuts, and they only take twelve boys and twelve girls from around the world. So it was a huge accomplishment.

TVLINE | So what’s harder: Auditioning for Julliard or auditioning for Glee?
Honestly, I’d say Glee. With Julliard, I was auditioning with something I’d been doing my whole life. With Glee, it was the first time I’d done anything where it was both singing and the acting.

TVLINE | The obvious followup question here is to ask if your character has had a chance to dance yet.
He has not. I’m so excited and waiting for him to dance. I’m hoping that’ll be coming up soon. The show has great choreographers and some really spectacular dancers like Heather Morris.

TVLINE | Have you been assured your character will be able to dance? It would be tough for you, I’d think, if Jake had no dancing skills.
I’m hoping I don’t get two left feet. [Laughs.] There’s no real assurance of anything. I just have to wait and see what the writers have planned for me.

TVLINE | Tell me more about Jake Puckerman. You say he has an attitude problem. Does that mean we’re going to see him hurling slushies at the members of New Directions?
He hasn’t thrown any slushies yet. It’s a little different [from Puck] in that Jake’s attitude is more about feeling like he has to have his guard up, whereas Puck was a little bit more of the outspoken bully, in a sense. That’s where they differ in terms of their quote-unquote attitude problems.

TVLINE | Glee has cerainly been a lightning rod for social issues, too — from bullying to teen suicide to domestic abuse to coming out. Do you sense Jake might eventually be a character that has to grapple with some larger issue?
The show does a great job of tackling issues, and while I haven’t seen any of the massive ones with Jake yet, it’d be really cool if they incorporated that. I think back about me growing up as a dancer — the bullying I experienced [as a result] — and it’d be cool to explore that with Jake if that’s the route they decide to go.

TVLINE | Is Jake an incoming freshman at McKinley, or is he older?
You’re gonna think I’m crazy, but I actually don’t know. [Laughs] I’m pretty positive he’s 16, so I guess that would make him a sophomore, but then I’ve heard [some people say] he’s a freshman. I don’t actually know 100 percent if he’s a freshman or a sophomore.

TVLINE | Would Jake be considered a “cool kid” in the same way Puck was?
Jake’s a little less sure of his place in the social heirarchy. He comes in to McKinley and he’s brand new, and he doesn’t really have a lot of friends. Whereas Puck had established this whole clique and he knew his place 100 percent. Jake is different in that he’s a little more of an outcast when he first shows up at McKinley.

TVLINE | And how many episodes at a minimum are you definitely signed up for this season?
I don’t actually know. All I know is I’m in Episodes 1 and 2, because that’s what we’ve shot.

TVLINE | In the Season 4 promo video that came out earlier this week, I thought I spotted you carrying a guitar.
Jake does play the guitar. He’s definitely a musical kind of guy.

TVLINE | So do you know how to play guitar yourself or are you going to have to fake it?
Conincidentally, I bought a guitar a few months ago, so I was fiddling around with that even before the Glee audition. I’m by no means good — believe me — I’m still kind of a train wreck, but I can play the easier chords. So for the show I had to learn ["Never Say Never"]. It’s really me playing. But hopefully we don’t have to do that again soon. It was pretty difficult. [Laughs]

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52 Comments
  1. lee says:

    Wow the guy torn between the bitchy blonde cheerleader and the unassuming pretty brown haired girl. This is brand new material for Glee. Glad to see that Brad is really staying away from love stories this season!

    • Ann says:

      Perfect comment.

    • Joan says:

      but this time it is Puck 2.0 who is torn not Finn 2.0 see revolutionary. So sticking around mainly for NYC.

    • You guys really have to stop holding them 100% to every word they say. Obviusly “we’re going to focus less on romantic relationships” doesn’t mean “there will be no romance in this season” be realistic and stop scouring these articles searching for anything to complain about. You don’t like it, don’t watch, no one is forcing you to and if you continue to then you have no right to complain, you’re doing this to yourself.

      • ana says:

        If more people stop watching this season and with the high costos of filming in New York, the show is going to be cancel this season.

        • Frank says:

          They aren’t filming that much in NYC and are saving money by hiring new actors. And just because people are critical of some things doesn’t mean they don’t like other things about the show.
          Many think this show has a short shelf life and would prefer they focused on the cast they have instead of investing in new cast members when the show will be lucky to make it past season 4. Not pessimism, realism.

        • Kay says:

          They will only film NY scenes about once every 5 weeks or so (exterior shots). The rest of the scenes are filmed right there in CA where the McKinley stuff is filmed.

    • sm says:

      Just Gold. So true.

  2. Jared says:

    OMG! That has to be the LONGEST interview ever conducted in the history of TVLine!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Ella says:

    Wow, that was a pretty good interview for an newbie. He seems smart and like he already cares about his character, which is why it’s disappointing that Glee seems to be repeating characters and storylines with the new characters this season. Well, hopefully Jake really is a bit different than Puck (and a better dancer).

    • Aria says:

      Really? He pretty much said nothing of note, except that Puck’s half-brother is pretty much Puck, except with a different set of reasons for his brooding. This is exactly why we needed someone like Glee Project’s Aylin- we need someone who isn’t a 2.0 version of another character. It is already crazy that Puck suddenly has a half-brother who has materialized from nowhere and is suddenly living in his town and attending his high school. I thought he had a little sister…

    • Gill says:

      Yes. Jacob seems really nice and intelligent. I hope he turns out to be a good actor. I’ll be looking forward to watching him on the new Glee.

  4. Ann says:

    When will RIB+ understand that we don’t give a damn about these random new characters? We don’t care about their drama or stories because they’re being shoved down our throats. Other new characters like Sugar, Blaine, and Sam were incorporated into the story more seamlessly, and we got to learn about them in a more natural way. You can’t tell us to care about entirely new characters who will undoubtedly take all screen time and focus away from characters we know and love and want to learn more about (Artie, Blaine, Tina, Sam, Sugar) with their contrived love triangle rinse & repeat (see Rachel/Finn/Quinn in season 1 and 2).

    • They’ve already established that they need 12 members for New Directions. If they took your word that “no one cares about new characters” there’d be no Blaine, no Sam, and Brittany/Santana would have a much smaller role in the series. Glee has been evolving since the start. Can you imagine a Glee that just focused on Rachel, Finn, Artie, Mercedes, Tina and Kurt for three years?

      • ana says:

        Well, Dawson’s Creek ran for six years and it only focus on Dawson, Joey, Pacey, Jen and Jack.

      • tr says:

        yes I can, the show was mcuh better and more focus when it did focus on it leads. it went of the rails when they tried to make it about everyone. this show is not and never was meant to be a ensemble contrary to what some believe.

        • Sil says:

          Agreed. A TV show on weekly cannot have real substance with content when it stretches out to each character with a storyline. So little attention on each character. I agree with your statement. Season 1 was more concise with a lot more and mega-better storylines on the few characters(the leads)being featured. Season 2 Glee went off the track trying to appease certain fans who wanted their favorite characters to have a story.

          • murley says:

            how soon we all forget that people complained non stop about season one as well. the pregnancy storyline, the song choices, the “inferiority” of the second half, etc… 3 seasons later the only thing that is boring an repetetive is people talking about how this show used to be good but it sucks now.

    • Lilly says:

      That’s YOUR opinion. Even though I love the other actors, I am quite looking forward to the new characters.

  5. wrong says:

    So they will give Puckleberry 2.0 a shot but not the the best and original who were tow hot jews. Will will help Puck 2.0 but did not do much to help the orignal. And why is he working with the other newbies and not the kids we actually care about?

    Seems nice but too much focus already on the news kids. At least the Brody chracter is interacting with a character we know.

    • Smiley May says:

      How are you supposed to care for the new ones, if they do not at least attempt to introduce them? In addition, the older characters are, in fact, older and graduating at the end of this season. So it makes perfect sense for these new characters to interact with each other because they are in it for the long haul. Well, at least 3 years, anyway.

      • no long haul says:

        Glee won’t last 3 more years. And the new one should be interacting with the one ones more IMO.

        • Sil says:

          You don’t know that for a fact. That is only your opinion. IMO, we need to watch and see what the story is about. If it clones season 1 and 2, then I agree that the writers have writer’s block and rehash the past. Until then, I’m gonna watch with earnest and anticipation.

  6. focus on the orignals please. says:

    So much for down sizing. They got rid of 4 character jsut to pick up , Jacob, Marley, Kitty, Brody, Ryder and Unique, not to mention Joe who is pretty new. Also Cassandra July but we know she is just a few episodes.

    • Sil says:

      People need to get over that some of the characters graduated. Seniors graduate and move on with no ties to their high school. My opinion only, I was gung ho for the spin off. The high school premise has told its stories. I wanted to stay true to the graduated seniors and their stories. But, Glee is about a high school Glee club which the writers intend to stick with. So, that is what Glee is gonna do, so, I’m gonna watch it as is written.

      • Kay says:

        Well, I am interested in those left at McKinley (Artie, Tina, Blaine, Brittany) and also want to see what happens with Kurt and Rachel (NY). Also want to see how they handle Blaine and Kurt’s relationship in regards to being separated by distance, as well as Brittany/Santana, and Tina/Mike as they are in long-distance relationships. Rachel and Finn seemed like they broke up at the end of Season 3 (he “set her free”) so not sure what is going to happen there. I know they need to bring in these new characters to replace those that left after graduation, and they will be there after Artie, Tina, Blaine and Brittany graduate (if the series continues after Season 4).

  7. waste says:

    Wow, until I now I didn’t realzie how much I don’t care about the new characters. Why are they linking him to Puck anyway if they aren’t doing scenes together.

    • Smiley May says:

      It will probably be a brother that Puck never knew existed, which has the potential of creating some really good scenes for Puck and Jake.

      • fre says:

        Duh, we know he is his brother he doesn’t know. So still dumb considering they won’t be having Puck back much. Just make a whole new character.

  8. Ally Oop says:

    I think the show is going in the right direction by introducing younger characters. Yes, I realize people are invested in the old characters but as is life, characters (and actors) graduate and go on to other things. I’ve been watching Degrassi for two or three decades (LOL) and the show’s characters have been phased in and out fairly well. The core setting is high school and unfortunately high school only lasts three or four years (less if it begins when main characters are already 16) and its difficult to keep the setting/characters the same. Many shows have had to arrive at the crossroads and decide how to proceed. Dawson’s Creek left the creek and took the characters to Boston. Degrassi took some characters to college and left some in high school. One Tree Hill fastforwarded 5 years to have the characters return home after college. Beverly Hills 90210 had the characters attend local colleges which, in LA, is normal. Other shows, like Buffy, Saved by the Bell, Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Smallville also had to adjust. Give Glee a chance to do that.

    • dsdsdsd says:

      I totally agree

    • doubtful says:

      Glee is not going to be Degrassi. If glee is very very lucky it will make it to season 5. So they might as well keep wit the cast we know and finish up their stories.

      If glee should have gotten rid of 4 kids at the end and repopulate if they want to do that but they idnt and kep the main cast for 3 seasons.

      Plus Ryan has said he has a clear end point for his main characters even saying he know the final scene.

      • Smiley May says:

        I think you are greatly underestimating the show. It can last much longer IF the writing continues to be good, and they have proven they can write great episodes. Not all episodes have to be good…the majority have to be good. We all need the down time when really emotional stuff goes down, so a little fluff episode here and there is fine with me.

        As for the final scene of the series, I think it is pretty clear of what it’s going to be….Rachel gets her Tony award!

        • wake up and smell the ending says:

          How can the writing continue to be good when it hasn’t been very good for 2 years now? Yes Rachel will be the final scene but that can be done at the end of any season just have her get a show.

        • wake up and smell the ending says:

          I think you are greatly overestimating the show. From season 2 to 3 it lost approx 4 million viewers.

        • Sil says:

          I’ve said before and here again, season 1 was the best produced and best written for the characters. Season 2 too many stories for too many characters for 22 episodes. Season 2 and 3 were declining in well written stories, showing by the decline in viewers. IMO, and mine only, I think the change to a drama based show took its toll on the very smart and innovative comedy show that was initially done. Lots of viewers including me lost a lot of interest in Glee. Personally, PSA’s had no place in this comedy, maybe, one a season is ok. Season 3 was nothing but PSA’s. All three seasons had at least one great episode or more. But, there were less and less as time went by. There were several season 3 that were good but not great, more were so-so or um ungood. However; PSA’s IMO dulled the season’s goodness and made it mundane. I speak as a Rachel, Finn, Finchel, Kurt and Santana fan. But, Glee is my addiction and I have stuck with it. I’m hoping for good story telling. There are so many potentially great fringe stories to be told, high school and college. I’m going to be excited to see how season 4 plays out. Finn especially. Going to see how the new students of McKinley turn out.

  9. Glee fan says:

    Does anyone else think that this guy looks like a darker Michael from The Glee Project this summer?!

  10. Huge Gleek says:

    You guys are being RICICULOUS. Do y’all not realize that New Directions has to have a certain amount of members to compete in Sectionals, Regionals, & Nationals? 12, to be exact, and since they lost Rachel, Finn, Kurt, Mercedes, Santana, Puck, Quinn, and Mike THAT IS WHY THEY ARE BRINGING IN NEW CHARACTERS. NOT BECAUSE THEY ARE TRYING TO “SHOVE THEM DOWN OUR THROATS” OR JUST BECAUSE THEY “CAN.”. Jesus. You guys need to get your facts straight.

    • smart gleek says:

      I am sure people know that but they could have had some randoms fill the background like they did for the Trouble Tones or how Mike and Matt were the first season instead of taking screen time from some character that we want to know more about.
      Jesus they could be more creative.

      • Smiley May says:

        I think the reason why they didn’t bother with the Troubletones is because they knew they would really be irrelevant to the dynamic. The TT performances could very well happen without the other dancing girls…only Sugar, Santana, Brit, and Mercedes were needed. Hence, they were missing from the choir room. The core 12, though, must have interaction. That is how you get the drama in the club. Without it you would just have a bunch of songs without stories…that would really be bad.

        • point says:

          Missing the point totally. They could have backgorun people to fill the other spot yet forcu on 6-8 kid not all 12. Mike, Matt, Brittany and Santana interacting but really did not have their own stories in the first season. The band is there all the time and no one expects them to have stories fill out the choir room that way.

    • thats the fact jack says:

      No one is being ridiculous. Geez the band guys could eve fill in again. Point is most are saying is the new kids seem to be getting a lot of fours and that is not needed.

    • Smiley May says:

      Preach!!!

    • Lewis says:

      Agree, the most annoying thing ever is listening to people complain like idiots.

  11. It does seem like the new characters are Puck 2.0, Rachel 2.0 and Quinn 2.0

  12. Jennings says:

    Wow, just wow. How mismanaged can this show get?! This kid has no idea how old his character is or what grade he is. And his main connection to the show, the fact that he is brothers with a main character, he’s had no scenes with. Baffling. Truly baffling…

    • nicole says:

      I think its so funny that he has no idea what grade his character is in.

    • Sean C. says:

      Nothing new for this show. Naya Rivera amusingly once noted that she has no idea whether Santana is lying about “Lima Heights Adjacent” or not, ie, whether her character’s family background is rich (which was what we were originally told) or poor.

  13. Mo says:

    So they’re basically making this guy Puck 2.0? Well I happened to love the original Puck and would rather see him any day than some replacement. And what is the point of making him Puck’s brother if they aren’t going to interact? I think I’ll only be watching those episodes where Puck (the original and best) appears and skipping the rest. From what I can tell so far, it sounds like Glee doesn’t have an original idea to speak of.

  14. cissy says:

    am loving the new characters day by day bite by bite and believe me having seasons with them it is becoming great and great remember even the old characters began as new in the 1st season of glee. I Love glee

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