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Williamsville native prepares for his second season on ‘Glee’

WILLIAMSVILLE - At this time four years ago, Jacob Artist was attending his senior year at Williamsville South High School.

“I think the seed was planted at the beginning of my senior year of high school,” Artist said about when he realized he wanted to move to California. He made the move after he graduated high school, knowing he wanted to be in the industry and California was where he had to go make it happen.

Artist grew up dancing competitively. “I had some phenomenal dance teachers who were savvy in the entertainment industry that kind of opened my eyes to that whole world,” he said.

Although he had no acting experience prior to moving to California, Artist quickly received job opportunities acting on shows such as “Bucket and Skinner’s Epic Adventures,” “How to Rock” and “Melissa & Joey;” and movies including “Blue Lagoon: The Awakening” and “The Philosophers.”

During his short time in California, Artist learned “the industry is massive, but it’s actually a really, really small world.”

Today, Artist is back where he was four years ago attending high school, but this time as “Jake Puckerman” on the Emmy-winning television series “Glee” on Fox.

“It started with just a typical audition which was singing only,” Artist said about how he made his way into the halls of William McKinley High School. “From there it was a few callbacks with the casting director, now with acting.”

Because the directors did not want to release any of the show’s new material, Artist read old scenes from the character “Puck,” the older half-brother of Artist’s character on the show. “Before I knew it I was testing for (show creator) Ryan Murphy and all the executives at 20th Century Fox.”

His first day on set was shooting a scene in the show’s choir room where he meets “Puck,” who is played by Mark Salling, for the first time. “It was completely surreal,” Artist said. “It was definitely that moment when everything really started to sink in.”

His character took off. “Jake Puckerman” became part of a love triangle, a member of the school’s glee club “New Directions” and had moments to shine as a triple threat.

“It’s been an unbelievable ride since that phone call definitely. I’m a lot busier and sing more frequently,” he said.

“I recently traveled to the Philippines to do some press for the show and we went on a mall tour where literally thousands of fans showed up,” he added. “It was nuts. We sort of get into this bubble while we’re shooting the show. To go across the world and see that type of response was something I’ll never forget.”

He plans to travel more in the future. “I’ve been lucky to see some more of the world through work and I’ve realized it’s definitely something I’d love to continue doing.”

“Glee” season five premiered at 9 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 26 on Fox. All of the music from the premier, along with the upcoming second episode, are all Beatles music, “and I have to say, I think these first two episodes are going to be some of our best,” Artist said. The third episode of the season will be a tribute episode to Cory Moneith, the “Glee” actor who died this past July.

Besides “Glee,” you can see Artist modeling in the current Abercromie & Fitch campaign.

“The best advice I have received about working in this industry is to enjoy every moment because it’s a world of unpredictability,” Artist said. “My family has always been my rock. They have supported me since day one and I don’t tell them enough about how incredible they are.”

A lot can change in four years. From Williamsville South to William McKinley and beyond, Artist is just at the beginning of his journey.

Derek Wood (photo)


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