Growing up in New Orleans and still residing in the area, Jake Smith knows his roots and influences. However, where is he really coming from? This is an entirely different question.
Some listeners first met Jake in 2007 when his opening effort was picked up for national distribution in a serendipitously short-lived deal. As the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported, “He and the label ultimately disagreed on the direction his music should take. He was not entirely displeased when (the label closed), freeing Smith from his contract.”
Since then, Jake has reclaimed his independence with vigor, selling out local shows at the House of Blues, playing shows with Grammy-award winning artists and landing a main stage gig at his hometown’s annual JazzFest just before Better Than Ezra and Dave Matthews Band. With that debut drama in the rearview mirror, Jake is happy to be growing up before a growing audience -- and is clearly moving on these days.
“A lot of people use the past to hold onto something that is holding them back,” he says. “I didn’t want to be that guy who blamed someone else for not doing what he needed to do. I’ve realized that everyone comes from somewhere and has been through something. But people can change...it’s how you come out of those times.”
Therein lies Jake Smith’s essence, his appeal as a chart-bound artist. It’s in his ebullient music and his searching soul: a determination to roll with the punches, gain wisdom, spread the love, and arrive at his intended destination.
“Whatever happens, I just want to do it right,” he concludes. “I’ve played everything from camps and pool parties to large festivals. Whatever the moment brings, I just want to get outside of myself and speak truth to people.”