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Go Big or Go Home!

Whether riding his wakeboard or playing for sellout crowds, Jake Owen doesn’t do anything halfway.

Rising star Jake Owen recently spent part of a day wake boarding on a Nashville-area lake and recalling the early days in his life and career. Here’s some of what he had to say to CW about those days, his parents and his new single.

Your YouTube performance of “Don’t Think I Can’t Love You” . . . could you have envisioned four or five years ago, walking out on that stage at LP field [a solo during Nashville’s CMA Music Fest in June] with just you and your guitar . . . would you have believed it?
You know what, it’s a little mind boggling, but when I started playin’ music and I walked up on that stage at Potbelly’s in Tallahassee, and it was just me and a guitar, I guess I envisioned it would always be just me and a guitar. And I kind of slowly built my audience, even at Potbelly’s, from the bartender and myself . . . the only two people in the bar when I first started playing because nobody cared. Then, slowly but surely I had 20 people show up. Then I had 100 people show up. Next thing you know, I was sellin’ out bars everywhere there. So it was kinda like, I just kept building and building to get to this situation.
And it is pretty awesome now to look out at these huge crowds we’re playing for and seein’ people singin’ along and having a good time. That’s kind of the same rush I get when I’m out there on the water. That’s a strong similarity to me, just that feeling you get out there. It’s an adrenaline kind of rush.
I know the new single was inspired by things your dad said to you. Is there a co-writer credit for him?
(laughs) He’s just happy for me. I learned a lot—everything I do in life, whether it’s music or the way I treat people or the way I work, a hard work ethic—it’s something that was instilled in me by my mom and dad growin’ up. I feel like that’s the only reason I’m here doin’ what I’m doin’. But that song is real special to me just because, I feel like every time I sing it, it reminds me of a lot of things my mom and dad told me growin’ up. But it also reminds me of who I am now.
This music thing is awesome, but you never know if it’s gonna end tomorrow, or if I’ll get to have a great career for the next 20 hears. I’m just kind of appreciating the moment. And money is not anything that’s guaranteed in life. The only thing you can rely on in life is love.
I realize how many people are out there who have relationships that aren’t based on money, that are based on pure love. And when you have somebody else in your life that your life is based on like that, it just makes it so great. And I wanted people to know that. Like I tell people every time I play that song, just ‘cause you’re a husband or wife or whatever and can’t afford the finer things in life, that’s not what makes a relationship great. What makes a relationship great is love. And just ‘cause someone can’t [buy you everything], it doesn’t mean they can’t love you.

For more from Jake, check out the July 28 issue of Country Weekly.