Jake Owen opens up about importance of family after father's health battle

14 March 2024, 17:48

Jake Owen opens up about importance of family after father's health battle

By Tom Eames

Country star Jake Owen has had a blast coming over to the UK in recent weeks.

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The 'Anywhere With You' singer was one of the main stars performing at this year's Country 2 Country (C2C) Festival, and Smooth Country's Eamonn Kelly caught up with him for an exclusive interview backstage.

Jake spoke about how he was excited to have his dad join him during his stay in the UK, and how important his family is in his life.

"He's been loving it. We've done a lot of fun things. When we were in Scotland, we played golf a few times," he said.

"And my dad beat cancer eight years ago. And I think for me, it put a lot of stuff into perspective because my dad has always been very career focused. He's really ingrained that in me and I have been that way for a lot of years.

"But when my dad went through the cancer, I, along with the rest of my family, I think we realised, with all due respect to all this, this doesn't really matter.

"Yeah, and what matters is time that you spend with the people that you love. And there's no one I love more than my family. My mum, my dad. I have a twin brother. I have two little girls and I don't want them ever growing up wondering why.

"Dad wasn't around a lot. And so I would have probably brought my little girl over if she didn't have school. But I told her, I promised her, I'll bring her next time."

Jake also revealed the story behind one of his biggest hits, 'Barefoot Blue Jean Nights', which gave him his first number one hit in 2011.

"I had never had a number one song for seven years of my career," he said. "And everybody kept telling me that, 'you just have to have that one song, Jake, and everything will change'. And I kind of got tired of hearing that.

"I wrote every song that I'd ever released up to that point for the first seven years of my career, because I think a lot of us artists believe that in order to validate yourself as a great singer songwriter, that you need to write all your own music.

"But people that I've really admired throughout my career, I mean, if you think about it, Johnny Cash, he did not write the 'Ring of Fire', and he also did not shoot a man in Reno. And no one cares! All they want is a good song.

Jake Owen - Barefoot Blue Jean Night (Official Video)

"And so I was digging through my email one night as I was finishing my album that I did not have a name for yet. I had already recorded probably, like, 13 or 14 songs. It was the Barefoot Blue Jean Night album. And I remember going through my email, and a friend of mine had sent me an email that said, 'hey, Jake'.

"She had sent me this email six months prior. And like I usually do, I skip over emails. I didn't see it. And thankfully, something that night in my mind told me to go through my email in my kitchen, and I saw her email and it said, 'hey, I really think you should check this song out. It sounds like a big hit song'.

"So I hit play, and the first second I heard those guitars, I was like, 'okay, this feels pretty good'. And then the whole idea of a Barefoot Blue Jean Night. I grew up in Florida. I grew up on the beach, like, literally on the beach. Most of my songs that I'd written were predominantly really country, and it's country music, right? So I think sometimes I was a little detoured from being too coastal and singing about the beach.

"But the moment that I kind of released a song, oddly enough, that I didn't write, that was kind of more of my truth through someone else's lens, really connected. And it was my first number one song. And that album, I had four straight number one songs. Bang, bang, bang, bang.

C2C Country To Country 2024
C2C Country To Country 2024. Picture: Getty

"I say that to encourage other artists out there, something that I found really interesting. I was watching the Willie Nelson documentary. Willie Nelson's biggest album he ever released was Stardust. And Stardust was an album of old standards that he recorded that he just loved. And you can hear his passion in it.

"And what I find interesting about that is that I think Willie Nelson will always be revered as probably one of the greatest songwriters to ever live and his biggest album is an album full of songs he did not write.

"So I started thinking about that and I realised that the best song wins. The song that represents you the best and people connect to is what wins and what makes you a great artist. So that's what I try to do and that's where 'Barefoot Blue Jean Nights' came from. And each time I approach new music I always try to approach it with the idea that may the best song win."