Jake Ward is an up and coming Texas Country artist out of Corpus Christi. With his blend of classic country and modern rock, his music is taking the Texas Country music scene by storm. Jake Ward has only just begun his musical career, and with his musical talents and work ethic, he is going to be around for a long time. We interviewed Jake back in September, when his first single “Hit the Road” was just hitting the charts. We checked back in on Jake almost two months later to see what’s happened since then which included talks of success and an upcoming new album- exclusively here on Entertwine.
Entertwine: We spoke with you this past September as radio airplay for your single ‘Hit the Road’ was picking up steam; what’s going on with the song currently? Where has the song been played so far? Why do you think ‘Hit the Road’ has resonated so well with music tastemakers and listeners alike?
Jake Ward: I’m amazed to say that the song is still going strong. It has been played in hundreds of radio stations and is in the top 40 of the Texas Music charts. When you consider that it’s an independent release from a new guy, it’s unbelievable. It has far exceeded anything I ever dreamed it would do and I am so fortunate and grateful. As for why people like it, everyone has a different answer. People have told me that it feels real to them; they don’t feel like there’s a technical wall between the vocals and the listener; and a lot of people relate to the lyrics in their own personal way.
ET: How has the success of the single affected you?
JW: I’m proud of it obviously and very thankful. After experiencing it from the very beginning through recording and release, I’m even more respectful of the talents of the band and everyone involved in it. Melissa’s vocals are perfect, and I would not change a single note played by the guys. Mason’s production is amazing. I’m also grateful to the DJs who have played it, and I’m blown away by the response from people who tell me how they like the song.
ET: Do you have any plans to record and release a full-length album in the near future? If so, what will the record be called? What will be the main or consistent theme of the album? When do you plan to release this record?
JW: Yes! We have been working very hard on the album; hundreds of hours easy. We have finished recording the songs, and it’s in the mixing stage. We’re looking at an early 2015 release. The themes are basically the emotions and experiences in my life put into songs. There are a lot of strong feelings and memories from my life in the words and music. It’s tentatively called “Love Don’t Live Here” which is a song about pain and reacting to being hurt, but it’s not a negative song. It’s about getting knocked down, but it’s also about getting back up again even though it still hurts.
ET: Will you tour or perform a slew of hometown shows in support of its release?
JW: We will have a release party in Corpus Christi, because Corpus will always be my hometown no matter where I go. We will tour for sure; we will wear out a lot of tires travelling to support the album. I expect to write a lot of road songs by the time we’re ready to record again.
ET: What is your favorite social media platform?
JW: Instagram because it connects with my other social media and is a great way to get out information to everybody. When I want to have a business conversation, especially the kind that tends to go back and forth over days or weeks (like booking a show or a radio appearance), Facebook is ideal.
ET: What is the biggest advantage of connecting and networking with users / fans through social media, in your opinion?
JW: Well, a young performer has a lot of roles: performer, writer, manager, tour manager, agent, roadie (yes folks, please tip the roadie). Every performer wants to get more popular, and for every tiny step in that direction increases the demands on his time. Just like in real life! When you’ve got all those balls in the air, the easiest and stupidest shortcut is to cut back on keeping in touch with the fans! Social media reminds me to stay in touch, to answer questions, to let folks know what’s going on, to listen, it’s really something I love to do, and I can do it without worrying about those annoying little things like grammar, spelling and punctuation. .
ET: Which artists/musicians/producers (any genre or style) in particular inspire you the most and have the most profound effect on your music?
JW: Past and Present? Past: Elvis Presley, who did so many types of music but loved country. Present influences include Zane Williams who is one of the great songwriters in the world, not just Texas. Also, Randy Rodgers, Bri Bagwell, the list goes on.
ET: Are there any other new artists, that you’ve been especially impressed by recently?
JW: Sure, Sam Riggs and Wade Bowen, performers who are not “new” but are part of what you might call the newer generation, like Bri Bagwell. Producers: Mason Shirley. He lives in Corpus Christi and therefore is less known than he would be if he were in Austin or Nashville, but he is such a brilliant producer and such a great person, big time performers will be coming to Corpus Christi to record with Mason, if they’re not already.
ET: You have a number of hometown shows scheduled over the next several weeks; what’s the biggest change you’ve seen in your performance (and the band’s performance(s)) now compared to when you all first began playing together?
JW: Did you ever see the movie “Spinal Tap?” Where the band performed for office parties in airplane hangars and opened for puppet shows in amusement parks? I have definitely had some of those kinds of experiences. Now, we still have to knock on doors to play in clubs, no doubt; and the bigger they are the harder it is, but over time more doors are opening, and we know exactly where we want to play and who we want to share the stage with. We’re very loyal to the venues and performers that have been good to us, especially the ones who were that way in the beginning. On the flip side, we don’t waste our time revisiting unpleasant places and experiences. For example, there is one particular puppet show we won’t open for again no much money they throw at us because the puppets are impossible to work with.
ET: If you could tour or perform with any two artists or musicians, who would you select?
JW: Past and Present? Past: Elvis Presley of course. Present: my answer changes like the wind but if you’re saying George Strait and Wade Bowen want me on their tours I don’t need to pack a suitcase, just tell me where to go. Wait, are you saying that?
ET: What are your goals for late 2014 / early 2015?
JW: Personal goals? I want to finish up the semester, enjoy the holidays with loved ones, reflect on my blessings and watch football games. Professionally: finish the album, promote the music, play the clubs we love. Play in some clubs from our Bucket List, Write more songs. Focus more on making contact and developing relationships with people who can help me get to where I’d like to be in late 2019/ early 2020.