Artist Interview: 1-on-1 with Jake Newton

I am sitting today with a voice that deserves some major intention. Proving himself a true storyteller in his lyrics, and a polished guitar player with a honed voice to boot, Jake brings talent and style to the stage. Take a minute to check out his melodies as he sings from the heart in every track he records. It is my pleasure to introduce you to Jake Newton.

What is your first memory of the guitar?

My dad played a 71 or 72 Guild D-35. He still has it. He used to play us to sleep with it.

How long have you been playing?

Since I was eight or so. I really started deeply investing in it when I was about thirteen.

When did you know this was going to be a career choice?

I can’t recall a definitive moment that I chose to be a professional musician, it always lingered in the back of my mind as something that I couldn’t live without. I still get incredibly nervous before shows, I pace the floor, can’t focus on what people talk to me about, sweats galore.

Any other jobs besides music?

I’ve had a few acting jobs here and there. During the recording of the EP I worked construction during the day and recorded at night.

Where are you originally from?

Northern California mostly. A small town outside of Yosemite National Park who’s main exports are firewood and venison jerky.

What is it like living in such a competitive city?

Well it has its positives and negatives. There are so many people doing what I’m doing here, but the great thing about that is that it keeps me sharp and hungry.

What is your favorite venue to play?

I love the Hotel Cafe for the atmosphere and the people.

What is the largest crowd you have ever played for?

Around 1200 or so.

The smallest?

When I was first starting out I played a show at Room 5 here in L.A. where there were three people in the crowd, and I’m counting the bartender in that number. About two songs into my set she walked up to the stage and said that she was calling it an early night, and could I please get off the stage so they could close.

Any tattoos?

To fickle to commit.

What are you drinking on stage?

Water water water. I get dry mouth when I sing, and my lips get stuck on my teeth making me look like Jim Carey’s Fire Marshall Bill.

What is your favorite place to play?

I like playing to a crowd that knows nothing about me. It’s challenging trying to win them over, but when you do, it feels like you earned their love.

Any thoughts on a tour for this year?

I’d love to, I’m trying to plan something for when the next record gets finished. But I love the road. You’ll see me out there maybe summer or this fall.

Who are some of your biggest influences?

A lot of the 70’s folk artists that were my father’s record collection. During early high school I really started getting deep into bands like Jimmy Eat World, The Get Up Kids, and Elliott. At home we played a lot of country and a fair bit of bluegrass, so those two worlds were always working in tandem within me.

If you could be any cartoon character whom would you be and why?

Homestar Runner for his boundless positivity.

Let’s get some pizza. What toppings?

Veggies, but no pineapple. Things should have their place.

PC or Mac?

Mac. A PC is just an expensive lesson in frustration and heartache.

Where do you get the inspiration to write a new song?

When I read a lot the ideas come faster. In the past a good breakup has always done the trick. Now that I’m older and am seemingly calming down, it seems the ideas come more from the subconscious than from literal experience. So I try to constantly feed it with good books and movies, quiet repose is virtually nonexistent in the 21st century, but if I give myself a couple of techno-free hours a day my writing creeps up on me more.

Let’s say that you are offered a $250,000 record deal but it is someone else’s lyrics and a rap album. Do you do it?

There is no hell quite like a job motivated purely by monetary gain. Whether it’s making an album you don’t want to make or pumping septic tanks. That being said, who’s lyrics am I rapping to? Cause if it’s The Gift of Gab’s words I’m totally in.

What was the last movie you saw?

Frost/Nixon and Frank Langella was incredible and Michael Sheen proves that even werewolves can act.

Did you like it?

Absolutely. Go see it!

What are your thoughts on MySpace?

I really love the fact that so many people can get their music out to the public, the downside is that so many people can get their music out to the public.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Northern California in a remote cabin with a few more records under my belt, and hopefully a fuller beard.

Pepsi or Coke?


If you could tour with anyone in the industry today who would it be?

To name a few; Beirut, Iron and Wine, Sufjan Stevens, Alison Krauss, Feist, but I’d really love to tour more with friends like Cary Brothers, William Fitzsimmons, Josh Radin and that crew, cause then it just feels like a road trip with buddies.

Let’s say you are about to headline at Madison Square Garden. Who is your opener?

Oooh, hard one, pick one of the names from the last question I guess.

What do you want to be remembered for when this is all said and done?

For positivity, for light and love. I never want to be accused of phoning something in. I want to dig into the heart of the collective subconscious and bring out pearls from the brine of all our trials. and I want great hair throughout my career. pure and simple.

I always let the artist get the last word. Go.

Obsequious, how’s that for a word?