This singer/songwriter, who has released his first single on November 12th co-written with Jeremy Pholwattana, has more meaning to him than to anyone. Knowing how it feels to be rejected and lonely, Jake has written this song to help other gay men get in touch with their feelings during the digital age.
Tell us a bit about yourself; where are you from? What do you enjoy doing in your free time? Etc. I grew up in the Greater Detroit area with my mother, father, and older sister. I’ve always been into music, from playing Rock Band on the Wii with my family where we each played an instrument or sang, to being a percussionist in the marching band in high school, to joining choir and performing in my high school’s production of Grease and playing the lead in Pippin. During my time in the University of Michigan’s School of Music I was part of the Men’s Glee Club and the elite Friars group. I’ve gotten to travel all over the U.S. to perform. In my free time I like to watch scary movies and hang out with my friends and my rescue dog, Watson. I also like to spend time in nature, such as hiking in the national parks, and caving and kayaking in Tennessee.
How did the idea for your first single come to you?
I recently went through a tough breakup with someone I thought could be the one. It was the first time I was really in love, and now we’re not even friends. That’s tough to process. I’m definitely healing, but occasionally I still dream about him and wake up feeling unsettled and doubting myself. When I’m in a strong emotional state like that, that’s when I feel inspired to write music. I create a cozy environment around me, usually in my bedroom, put on comfy clothes, and close the door for hours and just express myself through my art form.
How did you heal through the tough breakup that you talked about relating to your single?
Focusing on my music has helped me heal. Also, forcing myself out of isolation and surrounding myself with family and friends and the healthy relationships in my life. Once I had done a sufficient post-mortem on what went wrong in the relationship, including my part, another tool I used was reminding myself to stay in the present and not be stuck in the past or worried about the future. Now if I start thinking negative thoughts, I only give myself about three seconds to indulge, then I throw up a mental stop sign. We don’t always get the closure we seek from our significant other when the relationship ends, so we have to learn to create our own sense of closure.
How did it feel when you have been featured on an EDM record by Warner Music?
It was a fun whirlwind of an experience! I was so honored to be offered the opportunity. My music producer and mentor, Jeremy Pholwattana of Sound Entertainment, thought of me as the right vocalist for the song, and I just followed his lead and enjoyed meeting and working with the rest of the team who made that song happen.
Have you ever felt any stage fright when you first started performing?
Of course! I’m kind of an introverted extrovert, meaning I’m comfortable alone, but I can also “turn it on” around others and be quite social. When I perform, I have just learned to “turn it on” at will. I still get butterflies, but I also find it exhilarating.
You were also interested in musical theatre when you were in high school, is acting something you would be interested in doing as your future career as well?
I do love to act. I really got the bug when I played the lead role of Pippin in my high school’s production. I personally related to the character and really embraced immersing myself in his world. I would definitely be open to more acting opportunities in the future!
What music genre do you love most?
During my freshman year of college I switched from studying Classical Voice Performance to Multi-Disciplinary Voice because I was always more drawn to pop than opera. In addition to my love for pop music, I’m influenced by R & B and alternative music.
Who is your dream artist to work with?
Lil Nas X. I admire him for his bravery and courage in expressing himself. I’m inspired by the creativity in his music videos, his presence on social media, and how he pushes different social boundaries, while using his platform to do amazing work in the community, like the $47 million dollars he raised for bail funds to help fight racial inequality in the justice system as part of The Bail Project.
Who was the idol that helped you follow your dreams?
My mom. She has always believed in me and my talent and has given me unwavering love and support. She supported my decision to stop playing sports in high school and focus solely on music. She comes to all of my performances and applauds the loudest in the crowd, and she’s always looking for opportunities and open doors to point me to. In fact, she’s the one who introduced me to the music producer who became my mentor. They met by chance while vacationing in Greece.
What will your next song be about?
My first two songs have been about my journey navigating the dating world. “Unwanted” and “Self-Destruction” are both break-up songs, but there’s a progression towards becoming empowered to set boundaries and love yourself first and foremost. My third song will continue exploring those themes.
What would you like people to feel after they listened to your song?
I want people to feel that they’re not alone — that everyone has dealt with rejection, loneliness, and longing. I hope these raw feelings expressed in “Unwanted” resonate with everyone as they recognize this common human experience. They can take comfort in the knowledge that they are not the first to feel this way, and certainly won’t be the last. And that once we allow ourselves to really feel the hurt, we can let it go and focus on the present and the next experience in life that we can learn from.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
I want to keep writing and singing about issues that speak to our humanity and promote unity, especially during these uncertain times. The pandemic has made social anxiety and fear a part of our new normal, so connecting remotely through shared experiences explored through art forms, like songs, is more important than ever. It’s not healthy to be alone with your own thoughts for too long. Your mind can spin, and you can really begin to feel isolated. Keep connecting with others is my advice.