UCR Interview: Jake Scott

Photo Credit: Rachel Deeb

Pop singer-songwriter, producer, multiinstrumentalist, and recent Elektra Records signee Jake Scott will open for indie hitmaker Ben Rector on The Joy of Music: Live U.S. tour. The tour stops off in Utah for two shows at the Sandy Amphitheater on May 18 & 19. Scott will provide direct support for the first leg of dates, which wraps in Oklahoma City on Sunday, June 5.

We had the opportunity to visit with Jake leading up to the Utah tour stops. Enjoy!

Interviewed by Kevin Rolfe

Utah Concert Review: Hi Jake! I appreciate you taking the time to chat with me. I watched your recent release of the video for “Texas Girl”. What’s it like making music videos? You look like you’re having a good time. Is it fun? Or do you feel awkward having a camera in front of you?

Jake Scott: It’s really fun. And sort of full circle to be able to make the video there at her family’s property. You know, the song’s all about her. And the fact that we got to do it there in Texas. Her parents were there. It was just really fun. Rachel is actually an actress. So she’s very comfortable in that role. I, however, am not an actor. I’ve learned to roll with it a bit over the years. Yeah, it was really fun. We had a great time.

UCR: That’s great. Well, hey, you’re a natural. Because if you’re uncomfortable at all, you can’t tell. I’m sure it makes it a little easier, being with somebody, you know.

You’re coming to Utah for a couple of shows. We’re really excited. You just came here not too long ago. I believe you sold out the Soundwell. It looks like you sold out that whole headlining tour which is just, well, it’s awesome. I love, I love that. Is there a different level of preparation that goes into, being a support band versus being a headliner?

Jake Scott: Thank you, for the kind words. I appreciate that. When you play a headline show, especially if it’s a sold-out headline show, it’s amazing because you show up and everyone’s there because they wanna see you. And the crowd is your crowd. So you walk on stage and it’s like, you know, everyone’s rooting you on. Where when you’re in a supporting role, … although, Ben Rector’s audience has been very respectful and friendly. It’s also nice to be on stage and see that many of Ben’s fans are also my fans. But it’s not my crowd. It’s Ben’s crowd. So the difference in mindset is, I’m here to win the crowd over.

Cause when you’re headlining, you’ve already won the crowd. They bought tickets and showed up. They came to you. But when you’re the opener, that’s not the case necessarily. So there’s definitely a mental shift. The goal here is to create new fans, maybe activate the fans too that maybe know a couple of my songs that haven’t put two and two together. It’s a very different experience for sure. But it’s really fun.

UCR: It sounds just from the way you’re talking about it that these shows with Ben have gone really well for you as far as crowd reaction.

Jake Scott: Yeah, so fun. Amazing. I mean, like I said we have a lot of crossovers in our family. So while the whole room is not there for me. There are still a lot of people singing along. They know the music. They’ve been a very warm audience for sure. It’s been fun. we can’t wait to come to Salt Lake. It’s going to be good.

UCR: Two sold-out shows. That’s pretty great. I want to ask you a couple of questions about your songwriting. Give me some context here. Cause you’ve written for a lot of people. How does that happen? Did you start that way and then you’ve gone on to do your own thing? Or were you doing your own thing and that’s gone well. So people are like, Hey, write with me. How does that all play out?

Jake Scott: Uh, well, both. To be honest with you. When I first got into the music industry, I had released a few songs of my own, and that kind of got me plugged in.

UCR: I’m sorry to interrupt you. But please take me through that. That’s what I want to understand. Because for me, that’s never going to happen for me. And most of the people reading this that’s never going to happen. Right? So how does that plug-in happen? They just find these songs and say, “Hey, let’s work together”. What does that actually mean?

Jake Scott: So basically what happened is I released an EP. It did pretty well. It got some traction. Then a friend of mine, well he’s a friend of mine now. He’s a songwriter. Someone sent him my music and said, “Hey I need you to check this out”. He calls me and he was like, “Hey, I really like what you’re doing. I’d love to work with you”. And then he basically introduced me to the whole music industry. There’s a whole industry of people who write songs for a living for other people. I didn’t even realize that existed. So he and I started working together a lot. Then he asked me, “Are you open to writing for other people? I think you’d be good at it”. I was like, yeah, sure. Why not? Like, sounds fun. And then, you know, I started doing that.

Photo Credit: Rachel Deeb

I started learning a lot and then it kind of, without realizing, I sort of got sucked into the deep end of being a songwriter for other artists. I loved that. It was fun. But it ultimately, you know, I got into music to write my own songs. After a couple of years of basically writing for other people and having a few successful moments in that world, I was like, you know what this is cool. but this isn’t my dream. So I’m going to start closing up shop as a songwriter for other people. And I’m just going to work on my own music. I just kind of did the same process that I’d been doing with these other people, but for myself. So I started releasing a song every single month. It ended up being for three years in a row.

Off the back of that with music coming out I started to gain momentum and get fans and stuff like that. Then I had other artists kind of reaching out to me, saying, “I love what you do. I would love to write a song with you sometime”. And in the instance of the song I have with Russell Dickerson called, “She Likes It”. that’s exactly what happened. He reached out to me and was like “I loved your song called “Favorite T-Shirt”.. I’d love to write a song with you”. We wrote a couple of songs and one of those was “She Likes It”. So to give you a long answer. That’s kind of how that happened.

UCR: I love that. Thanks for that insight. I’m sure there must be some feeling of risk because you have this great situation as a songwriter. Again, a situation that a lot of people don’t get. To write for others and be part of this amazing industry. But I am impressed that you’re willing to still take the risk because it’s not exactly what you wanted to do. I admire you for taking going for it because I’m sure there are so many people who just don’t want to make that leap. I’m glad you did, and I’m sure your fans are as well.

Jake Scott: It’s definitely scary because there’s so much unknown. The percentage of success when you’re trying to put out your own music is just so low. And it’s kind of like, yeah, the chances are, this is not going to work. So I’m just going to kind of hope and see what happens. Luckily, it’s working out so far. But to never try it. I knew that I would never be that satisfied unless I went for it. And I just couldn’t shake that. I knew that was always what my dream was. Luckily in writing for a bunch of other people, I gained a skill set to be able to do it for myself. But I’m definitely glad I took the leap because I would have regretted it had I not

UCR: I’m sure you would’ve just always wondered. What if I didn’t do this now? At least even if it didn’t work out, you would know. Okay. I gave it my shot and it didn’t work out, but again, fortunately, it has so far.

Ok before we go, a couple of concert questions! Do you remember the first time you ever performed live?

Jake Scott: Wow. Yeah, I do. So I was always like playing, you know, churches and places like that. And I would do like little concerts and stuff like that you know, choir concerts and stuff like that, which isn’t really the same. But the first time I ever performed my own music was that EP that I mentioned earlier, the one that got me connected to the songwriting world. I released that. I was very caught off guard by the traction that it did catch. Like the fact that it was doing well. And then I was like, ‘Oh, I should play a show’. So I put up a show in my hometown. It was really fun, but I only had five songs.

I played my five songs. Then I was like, okay I guess I’ll play a cover song now. So my entire first show was only six songs. Then I was like, ‘Cool guys. Thanks. I’m done.’ And it was probably like 30 minutes. But it was really fun because the venue sold out because it was all my friends and family and everybody showed up. It was cool.

UCR: That’s awesome. That must have been a great experience. Maybe a little nerve-wracking, but it sounds amazing to me.

Jake Scott: Oh, I got so terrified. I stood still the entire time I could barely move. Because I had never done my own songs before in front of people.

UCR: Oh man. The energy rush that must’ve been! So my last question, and I’ll let you go with this. Excluding Ben Rector and anyone else on the current tour, is there an artist that you’re a fan of that you would recommend? An artist that you’ve enjoyed seeing live. Maybe your very favorite artist that you’ve seen live, or simply someone you would recommend.

Jake Scott: Good question. I mean, probably still one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to was John Mayer. I guess if you have lived this long and haven’t seen a John Mayer concert, you’re missing out. But also there’s a guy named Noah Gunderson and he puts on a great show. Just a phenomenal player. I was blown away.

UCR: Hey, thank you so much for your time. It was great to get to know you a little bit more and we can’t wait for the two concerts here in Utah.

Jake Scott: Well, thanks so much for having me and I look forward to this week!

For ticket information click here.

For more information on Jake Scott, to stream his music, watch his videos, or follow him on social media go to jakescottmusic.com

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