Jake Scott Set To Take a Shot at Stardom in 2020

If you haven’t heard of the name yet, you will soon.  LA-based singer-songwriter, Jake Scott, has taken streams by storm, all without any play-listing or marketing. Scott is humble, but extremely talented, and creates music in his basement like many aspiring songwriters out in the world today. 

American Songwriter had a chance to chat with Jake over the phone, and we touched on everything from the crazy surprise of him getting placed on New Music Friday, to his upcoming tour, flushing out a song a month, and the advice he would give to anyone who is just trying to make music in what may appear to be far-fetched conditions.  Trust me, creative dreamers, you will want to hear what he has to say about that.  (If you are someone who reads the back of the book before the front, then go ahead and skip to the bottom of the interview for pure gold.)

Jake will be performing to a sold out crowd in Nashville February 27, 2020.  Stay tuned for more on Jake, because you will be seeing more from him on our end soon. 

American Songwriter:
Okay, so first thing first, what in the freaking world, 1.5 million Spotify monthly listeners and growing. Congratulations!  It’s all been accomplished without any play-listing or marketing. So I want to hear the feeling that came over you when you crossed that million mark because this has been something that you have obviously put all of your blood, sweat and tears into. Where were you when you saw that million? Who were you with? Give us the experience.

Jake Scott:
Yeah, I mean, I kind of had a little, you know that movie, That Thing You Do, that Tom Hanks movie from back in the day?


That movie hugely impacted my life…but like you said, this has been all organic growth. I started releasing a song a month in January of 2018 and so I’m 24 songs into this whole project. Basically it was a really slow burn and I had gotten zero playlists from Spotify or anything like that. It was just real people listening to the music and I’m very grateful for that. But one of my biggest goals was getting on New Music Friday and hitting a million monthly listeners. I don’t know why New Music Friday was such a big priority in my mind, but it was just a goal for me…kind of a big milestone.  And then that million obviously is, every independent artist is trying to hit that number just because it’s always good to know that.

AS:
It solidifies you a bit more, yeah.

JS:
Yes, exactly.  It’s actually interesting, it was a moment where a lot of things all came together at the same time. That morning, I had just signed to CAA as a booking agent and then that night I saw my song on New Music Friday and passed a million monthly listeners…all within the same day.


Yeah, so I had this moment- I was driving in the car with Rachel and our friend Kass and the song had just come out.  One of my friends just randomly texted me and was like, all caps, “DUDE. YOU’RE ON NEW MUSIC FRIDAY.” And I was like, “There’s no chance.” And so then I go to the playlist and look at it and I was like, “Oh my gosh…I’m on New Music Friday!” We were in the car and we all were just freaking out. It was so fun, and it really was that moment in the movie when they hear the song on the radio and they’re sprinting down the street, telling everyone. That’s really how that moment felt for me.

AS:
Ha!! Did you actually do that?

JS:
I mean, we pulled over and went into this little dive bar and just all had a drink to celebrate, but it was…yeah, it was so fun. It was really fun. But yeah, that was in October.

AS:
I could see your wife, Rachel, doing that, actually. I could see her running down the street. Haha!

JS:
And yeah, it’s just been a lot of work, and like I said, 24 songs in a row every month. It’s been keeping me really busy and just kind of staying committed to that strategy and staying committed to the path and yeah, it seems like it’s really starting to pay off.

AS:
I actually had an interview with Brett James recently and he talked about 90% perspiration, 10% inspiration.  Basically you just have to put in the work, and you’ve been putting in the work. Like you said, you’ve been releasing a song a month for the past two years now.  So how quickly are you having to write and flesh out songs to make that happen? I mean, that sounds insane.

JS:
Yeah, it is kind of insane. I basically write the song and then I release it two weeks later.

AS:
Oh my God.

JS:
Yeah. So it’s pretty intense.

AS:
Are other people helping you with the production or is it written, produced, sung by, all of it, by Jake Scott? Is that how it is going for you over there?

JS:
I mean, I would say the only song I’ve co-produced thus far was the song that I released in October called Favorite T-Shirt. I co-produced that with a buddy of mine in Nashville and then Josh Kerr, who’s super talented and amazing.  Josh has written a bunch of songs for Kelsea Ballerini and Keith Urban. He’s definitely crushing it in town. I love writing with that guy.  So, that’s the only one that I’ve co-produced.  The majority of the songs within the 24 that I’ve released have been solo writes.  But definitely into last year, I started just kind of getting lonely and I just kind of wanted to bring other people into the process. You know, it took me a second to really figure out who I was as an artist and kind of what my sound was and what my lane was. As that target started becoming clearer, I wanted to bring other people into it that I trusted, that I was just like, “Hey, I have this idea for a song. I think you’re super talented. I would love to write this with you, see if you can just kind of push me out of my comfort zone.”  I’m always scared of not trying to move forward creatively. I definitely always want to be pushing myself into areas that don’t just sound like the same kind of thing over and over again.

AS:
You want to be like Madonna? She has transformed so many times.

JS:
Exactly. I want to be Madonna. Haha!  So, yeah, I mean, I think just bringing other people into it has been a lot of fun. I mean for the most part, my goal with the whole thing was to get six months ahead of it and have the songs done and ready to go. And that lasted for about three months.  Then I wrote a song that I was like, “Oh, well I like this better than the song I had planned for March, so why don’t we just abandon ship and just start doing it?”  And since then, I’ve kind of been doing it in real time, which has been…Well, I definitely wouldn’t suggest it to anybody else because it is chaos. And actually this year, that’s been one of the big priorities, is to get at least three months ahead of the releases just so that I’m not constantly scrambling and so there’s a little bit of a good plan around a song to be like, “Okay sweet, here’s some assets, here’s some promo, here’s some other things.” And, too, my managers and agents were like, “Jake, we need these songs more than two weeks before you release them. We just need to test it.”

AS:
They’re like, “We love your tenacity and we love how you’re going about this, but also you’re making our lives very difficult.”

JS:
Yes. And so, that’s been the goal. You know, just trying to write as many songs as possible, get them produced, get them ready to go so that we’ve got a little bit of a cushion, because I’m going to keep going until it makes sense to stop. That’s kind of what I want to do with this whole thing.

AS:
Yeah. That’s great. So, how many hours on average are you in the studio a day? Just throw a number out, on average.

JS:
I mean, I try to get probably eight hours. Yeah, I try to get out there by 9:00, 9:30 and I try to work until about 6:00.  I try to make it as regular as I can, just because I’ve never been the night owl who just works until 4:00 in the morning, but I also definitely want to put in enough hours to get as much of the work done as I can, you know?  Especially since I’m doing so much of it alone, it’s like there is always just a mountain of work for me to be doing.

AS:
Right.  Makes sense.  So tell us of some upcoming collaborations you have in the books.

JS:
Well, I am going on tour this year with Astrid S.  I’m super stoked to go on tour with her in May and I’m going on a headline tour this February that I’m really excited about.

AS:
I’m going to pop by that to chat with you when you’re here, too. Where are you confirmed for Astrid right now? 

JS:
Yeah! I’m playing her Texas dates. We’re playing Austin, Houston and Dallas, and I’m opening for her there. I’m just going to be continuing to release a song a month, touring off and on throughout the whole year, and just kind of keeping it going, keep building it.

AS:
That’s amazing, good for you!  What is your favorite song at the moment that you are working on or that you’ve already released, and why is it your favorite?

JS:
Favorite one?!

AS:
At the moment; it doesn’t have to be favorite one of all time. Just right now, if you had to pick.

JS:
Yeah. Yeah, yeah… I mean, I do really love Favorite T-Shirt because I feel that song has kind of, well, it’s opened a lot of doors for me, first and foremost, but also I think that that song has kind of been a compass of sorts. I think it’s the closest to the sound I’ve been chasing for the last couple years, just kind of really dialing in who I am as an artist, and what I sound like. I feel like if I were to just play one song for people, that would be the one that I turn on because I feel it is the closest thing that I’ve gotten to this, “Hey here’s me as an artist so far.”  But there’s another couple that I’m working on right now that I’m super excited about. My January release is called Maybe. I’m really excited about that one. And then I’ve got another one called Learning to Love You that I’m very excited about. It’s probably going to be coming out in April or May, and I think that one’s going to be…I feel like it’s a special song. I’m very excited about it.

AS:
Sounds sweet.  I bet your wife, Rachel, is clearly excited about it as well.  

JS:
Yes, it’s actually her favorite that I’ve ever written. So, that’s good. We got her seal of approval.

AS:
Okay, so you said that you’re going to be going on tour in February. You’re doing your own headlining tour and kudos to selling out in Nashville and Atlanta.

JS:
Thank you. Thank you.

AS:
Yeah, that’s so exciting. So, we’re going two fans of yours really happy really soon with a little giveaway that we’re going to be doing with you.  Is this surreal for you that you sold out Nashville and Atlanta? I feel like selling out of Nashville is a pretty big deal. I mean, being here in Nashville, that’s pretty awesome.

JS:
Yeah, thank you. I’d never played in Nashville and Nashville was honestly a market that I was pretty nervous about just because, like you said, it’s such a saturated music market that getting people to come out to a show is tough just because they’re so bombarded with show opportunities. And so yeah, the fact that it sold out so quickly, I was like, “Whoa, that’s insane.” I’m super excited. I’ve got five shows on this February run. It’s going from Little Rock to Birmingham to Atlanta to Charlotte and then finishing up in Nashville. So it’s a short run, but as of now, Atlanta and Nashville have officially sold out. Charlotte’s just about to and so is Little Rock. Oh, and Birmingham did as well.

AS:
Whow.

JS:
So it could be a whole sold-out tour, which I’m very excited that my first tour could be a sold out tour.

AS:
That’d be amazing. I hope that you can claim that. We’re rooting for you.

JS:
I really do, too. Yeah, thank you.

AS:
So out of all the venues that you’ve played so far, because you’ve obviously been out singing for a while, what’s the favorite show that you’ve ever played and why? Was there a moment that you remembered when you were playing a certain show?

JS:
Yes. So I played a show in Waco, Texas this fall. I think it was in September, and that show was kind of a big catalyst for what’s been going on just recently because I played that show at this venue called Common Grounds. It holds about 500 people, and I went there thinking, “Oh, if I sell a hundred tickets, I’ll be floored because I’ve never been to Waco. I don’t know anybody in Waco. If I can sell that many, I’ll be beside myself.” But, I got there and it sold 500 and it sold out.

AS:
Wow!

JS:
And so, I was just kind of like, “Oh wow, I think that it’s time to start doing this more,” because I see a lot of artists make the mistake of touring before it’s time and they exhaust their time and money and energy on the road when they really should be spending that time in the studio just creating as much great music as they can. I didn’t want to make that mistake and so I hadn’t started the touring process until that show was kind of the eye-opening moment of, “Okay, maybe it’s time to get out there because it seems like the audience is there.” That’s when I started talking with a few different booking agents and ultimately signed with CAA. It’s just been kind of a full sprint since then.

AS:
Awesome. And what are you doing for tour prep the next couple of weeks besides the chaotic stuff? What’s some personal things you do? Are you upping your exercise? What are some things that you’re doing?

JS:
Yeah, definitely. Upping the exercise-It’s a new year, new goals.

AS:
New year, new you. Ha!

JS:
I’ve got to stay in shape and just really, honestly what I’m trying to do is just get as many of these songs done so that when I do go on the road, I’m not stressed about the releases and stuff. But yeah, I’m just getting ready for it and I’m planning out the set list and planning out stage aesthetics and stuff like that. I’m just really excited. It’s going to be great.

AS:
Awesome! So, okay, last thing- There’s so many people out there that are trying to do what you are successfully doing right now. What do you want to say to the writers and artists out there who are in their basements, on their computers, just trying to make something of their art?

JS:
That’s a good question. I think the thing I’ve learned the most in this process of committing to release a new song every month and just kind of pushing myself as far as I can go, that’s been the most valuable for me, is to not be too precious about anything…especially the songs that you’ve written and that you feel like you want to release.  I think it’s really good to realize that early on there is nothing to be afraid of because no one song early on is going to be the thing that makes or breaks you. So, you just need to be a little more hands off and just have the courage to put it out in the world because you never know what song is going to be the one that people are going to really gravitate towards. But if you hold onto it and never let the world hear it, then they won’t have the opportunity to fall in love with you. You know? And I think that it’s really scary as an artist to have a song that you’re like, “Oh wow, I think I want to release this song. I think I want to put this song out in the world,” and you can start second guessing it. You can start criticizing it and finding everything wrong with it, but I think the people who I respect and admire are also the people who don’t overthink things. They trust their instincts and they go, “Hey, I know I like this song. I think it’s great. Hopefully other people will too, but I’m just going to put it out in the world and see what happens.”  And I think that that is, for any young artist, so crucial because there are so many things standing in the way and barriers and fears and insecurities, but I think the more we can just be fearless about putting things out in the world, the better.

AS:
I love that, Jake. Thanks for that. I feel like that’s going to help a lot of people.

JS:
Yeah, we’ll see.

AS:
Don’t let it be too precious. Be fearless. That’s so good. Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me today and see you soon!

JS:
Thank you, Jess! I look forward to it!

Leave a Reply

Krief Revisits ‘Dovetale’, With Video Premiere for “Venus”

Jackie Bristow Shares the Story Behind “Blue Moon Rising”