HARTSVILLE, SC (WMBF) - Jacob Will has performed all over the world, but he got his start in Hartsville.
"My mother was very determined and she want her kids to have music in their lives," Will said.
It started with piano lessons.
"I was nobody's star pupil," Will admitted. "I did not put the practice in."
But others saw his potential – just not with the keys.
"The choir director at the church said I got a nice voice," Will said.
His mother was there to see this talent through.
"She convinced a voice teacher in Columbia to work with me. and I rode to Columbia once a week with someone taking night class," Will said.
Watch Will talk about the influence his mother had on his future career:
That's when Will's High School Choir teacher, Woodrow Tisdale, inspired him to take his vocal talent to a different level – the opera.
"He was passionate about kids," Will said about his teacher. "He gave me opera records and I loved them."
Watch Will talk about how important Tisdale was to his future as an opera singer:
Tisdale didn't stop when Will left high school.
"I was working on my business degree and he encouraged me to apply to the Cincinnati Conservatory," Will continued.
From there, his journey led him to the San Francisco Opera, Zurich Opera Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Bavarian State Opera, and the Vienna Symphonic Orchestra. He even performed with the New York Philharmonic before a televised nationwide audience - a performance he found out about right in Hartsville.
"I was cutting grass in my mom's back yard, and she came to the door and said, 'Jacob the phone is for you - I think they are speaking German!'" he said.
Now Will is giving back, teaching at his alma mater, The University of South Carolina. He's hoping to inspire someone the way his teachers gave him the passion and courage to rise up to the international stage.
Watch Will perform a song from Les Miserables below: