Born in Half Moon Bay, California, Jacobs initially studied piano at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, beginning at the age of 5. He played the instrument for eight years and later found an interest in musical theater. Jacobs performed in local community theater and high school productions. To accumulate additional training, he also attended the summer programs of the American Conservatory Theater (ACT) in downtown SF and the California Institute of the Arts (CSSSA) in Valencia, California. When a representative from the San Francisco Opera saw him star in his high school's production of Evita, he asked Jacobs to audition for an upcoming documentary opera based on the story of Harvey Milk. Jacobs auditioned for the film and was cast as "Young Harvey". This allowed him to participate in both a performance marking the anniversary of Milk's assassination and the candlelight ceremony that took place prior to the show.