Interview: Jake Newton on Growing Up and Becoming a Musician.
by Daniel Haim
Jake Newton was born in Northern California, the State capital. Then taken around the States in a series of adventures, he calls that “renting then running” by his Parents. Jake packed-in a lot of miles on his shoes and finally made it. This past Friday we had sat down for an interview with Jake Newton and we can pretty much say that we appreciate his music more than ever.
“I was raised in a small rural town without TV channels, so I feel like I missed a lot of what was going on culturally at that time because of my insular upbringing. My father had a modest but well-chosen record collection that I would try to play guitar to. I think my favorite musicians growing up were Crosby, Simon and Garfunkle, Jim Croce, Gordon Lightfoot, and Cat Stevens. People who have really inspired me have been the likes of Jeff Buckley, Ryan Adams, Glen Hansard and though it might not sound like my style, I really like that song, “Forever” by Chris Brown.”
Daniel: What can you tell us about growing up in California?
Jake: A lot of people who haven’t been here think it’s pretty unilateral in its attitudes and beliefs. That here everyone drives a hybrid and leans toward universal health care. But California is perhaps the most diverse state in the union. I grew up with Country folk; The biggest club in my high school was the Future Farmers of America. We had a rodeo. Two kids were expelled for dressing up as KKK members. All this was 3 and a half hours away from San Francisco and half a day’s drive from Los Angeles. I love California. I can’t see myself living anywhere else for longer than a year or so, the Puget Sound maybe, or France for a time.
Daniel: How was the move to Los Angeles?
Jake: I came down to LA for college, not necessarily in LA itself but a suburb. I would be terrified if I had to drive on the freeways. It felt like a mess of spaghetti that you were expected to navigate without getting caught in a drive-by. I had to lay to rest a lot of anxiety being a small town kid in the big city. I still have a hard time near downtown LA. The amount of talented people doing what your doing is both daunting and encouraging. Many times I’ll go to a show and leave so inspired by someone I’ve never heard of before. I’ll head home and play my guitar all night because of it.
Daniel: So what inspired you to make your music?
Jake: My Father played guitar through college on a scholarship; he’s an incredible player and songwriter as well, although not professionally since the 70’s. He taught my sister and I to harmonize with him and we’d perform at churches. My Mother is a fantastic writer of fiction and self-help who also gave me an ear for a good phrase. To be honest I can’t remember the moment when I said I want to be a musician, I can’t remember when I wasn’t though. It’s always been a thing I was going to do
Daniel: Where have you performed and where’s your favorite spot?
Jake: My favorite spot is definitely the Hotel Cafe (LA), they have amazing sound, a really fantastic atmosphere that encourages the audience to pay attention to the artist.” Jake also credits his success and motivation to his family, and heather his fiance “without whom I probably would’ve quit professional music to become an old bitter has been.