Saturday, September 26, 2015

Interview || Jacob Davis

Simple music. Wordy words.
 
I was driving to Auburn, Alabama on Thursday afternoon when a Spotify interview with Kacey Musgraves came on and that is how she described her music. The phrase caught my attention and I thought about it for the next hour or so while I drove. I've been a fan of music forever--specifically country music and even more specifically GOOD, QUALITY  country music.
 
I'm not a music expert. I'm not sitting in a recording studi0 5 days a week and I'm not on any executive board of a Nashville record label. But, I love music. I love connecting with the songs and the people I get to meet along this amazing journey of life through music. I LOVE stories. I love history and philosophy and figuring out why people think the way they do. So, naturally, I gravitate towards musicians who can tell a story through their music so vividly that I can picture myself in those songs. Very, very few artists have caught my attention in that regard but I'm so excited to introduce y'all to one of those artists-- Jacob Davis. Think  Kings of Leon meets Dierks Bentley. Several of you have already heard of him but I had the opportunity to talk to him and his guys before their show on Thursday night.
 
Jacob Davis is one of the very few artists in country (or any genre for that matter) that can tell what could be a 15 chapter novel in a wordy 3-4 minute song--and make it work.
 
 
 
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Jacob Davis is originally from Shreveport, Louisiana and went to college at LSU. It was while he was attending college that he started experimenting with music. He was surrounded by musical influences growing up with his father writing songs and his mother playing the piano. When he was a senior in college, he performed at an open mic night in downtown Baton Rouge. He received a warm response to the song he performed and after realizing that people could and were connecting with what he was saying in his music, he hit the ground running.
 
He continued playing music over the next several months. After graduation, jobs were hard to come by (he majored in geology) so he played music all over Louisiana. He got a job at an oil and gas company and realized once he started working there that Nashville was still calling him. So, he worked for a while, saved money and moved to Nashville. He scored a publishing deal several months after moving to Nashville and hasn't slowed down since.
 
 
 
1. What was your plan once you got to Nashville? Did you want to specifically hone in on the songwriting aspect of being an artist or did you want to write and perform?
 
"It started out with the artist side of it. I knew that performing on stage in front of a crowd was the end game. I felt like I knew enough about the business to know that I was going to have to write my own songs. I knew when I moved to Nashville it wasn't going to be an automatic hit the stage and get in a van and start traveling type of gig.I needed to have a product to sell. It went hand in hand, though. I knew I wanted to both write and perform the songs."
 
2. What is your song writing process like?
 
"My process is--initially--finding a good idea or hook or title and going into a writing session. When we aren't on the road, I'm writing 3 to 4 days a week right now. I definitely don't take years to write a song. I don't take months to write a song--sometimes I do but that isn't often. Over the past few years, I've become a faster writer, which can be a good thing or a bad thing at times. I'll spend a week or so. You can easily go in and throw a song down in two hours but the chances of that song being a smash aren't very good. I feel it's like learning how to tell a great story. You know? You cannot change a true story. Once it's out, it's out.
 
3. Do any of your band members co-write with you?
 
"We are starting that process. So far, it's been a lot of melody ideas with the band. Things will sometimes come up in rehearsal where Caleb can start playing drums and then Rabbit can start a lick and Teddy can feel in that groove on the bass. Those are the best ones when they happen organically like that. We spend so much time together on the road and in hotel rooms that they can say something and one of us can say something and  make a mental note of 'oh that's a good title, that's a good hook.'  My phone is full of ideas. I love these guys so much because they're not afraid to hurt feelings. No one ever intentionally TRIES to but songwriters are sensitive people so that makes us vulnerable. But, if I ask an opinion and they tell me they don't like it or that it's a little too pop or rock or country, I'm definitely taking all of that in. You develop a chemistry with the guys you're with. We've got each others backs."
 
4. Your first single, "Something to Remember You By" hits XM radio on Saturday. Do you have plans for a full length album in the works already?
 
"Absolutely. I don't have a record deal yet. It's such a different time in the music world than it was in the early 2000's. You got a record deal and then you made a record. There's a lot of people making albums now and the labels aren't making the same level of noise they were back then. It's just a different industry. I think that a record deal is definitely the end goal but there are unsigned artists who are still making extremely good music. My publishing company has been great to me so far. Forrest Whitehead (Black River, produced Kelsea Ballerini's album) and I are buddies and we've been writing together for about 3 years now. We are starting to do some more work together. So, to answer the question about the album--yes, it's coming. The recording process is more of a month to month process but yes, it's coming."
 
5. If you could share a stage with any artist of any genre, who would it be?
 
"Kings of Leon would be a good one. As far as a pop stage goes, Justin Timberlake. We wouldn't have to do anything on stage with Justin, just be there and hang out with him."
 
6. What has been your biggest accomplishment so far as an artist?
 
"There has been several moments so far but the initial and greatest one so far would be getting the publishing deal. It happened quick. I had been in Nashville for about 7 months and when it happened my parents didn't even believe me. They were like 'are you sure about this?' That's the biggest one so far."
 
7. Where do you see yourself one year from today?
 
"I want a record out and to be playing arenas and stadiums with these guys. We need to be playing for a lot of people. I think a lot of that is visualizing it all and we have that vision. If you see something, and that's what you want, you go get it. It doesn't matter if it's for 200 people in Alabama or 10,000 people in Florida. That's the goal--to play for a lot of people."
 
8. As a newer artist, you already have a good following on social media with people backing your music. What does that mean to you?
 
"I think it's amazing. It came out of us just working really hard and being at the right place at the right time and being nice to people. We are very fortunate to have the backing on social media with the fan groups and all. If they are going to get any of this, I cannot thank that team of people enough. It's really cool that people want to hear your story."
 
9. What's your favorite song you've ever written?
 
"The one that I'm most proud of would be 'Someone Else's Girl.' I think that I'm very proud of that song because I know it's good. 'Something to Remember You By' is right there with that one as well, though. I remember the day we wrote that one that we knew it was special."
 
10. Who do you look up to as an artist?
 
"Garth Brooks. He was one of my biggest idols growing up. He was a super hero in the 90's. His reputation around town was always good. He was the guy who would meet someone and then 2 years later see them again and he still knew their name. That's a job and he took it that seriously. I've got a ton but at the top it's definitely Garth."
 
11. Why did you choose "Something to Remember You By" as your first single?
 
"The initial feeling of writing that song is why we chose that one. I remember the day well. I remember the first guitar lick. It's a song that people have been resonating with and that makes us feel good. It's one of the most relatable songs that I've written. I can go back to that Spring Break and lots of memories come back to my mind as well. I think that's really cool when other people can connect with one of my songs on that level."
 
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Jacob Davis and his entire band were without a doubt the most pleasant and kind guys from Nashville that I've had the pleasure of working with in a while. If you ever have the chance to see them interact on stage, I can promise they have just as much chemistry as people off stage. They aren't turning on a switch and performing something they don't believe in. They believe in their music and they're transparent. I don't take to many artists easily but I definitely feel like Jacob and his team aren't going away anytime soon. Do yourself a favor and check his tour schedule and make it out to a show.
 
 
Make sure you're following Jacob on all his social media accounts as well.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


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