Jake Cowley has just released his first solo CD project entitled "The Start". This 12 song solo project is an innovated fresh approach to a young and vibrant gospel sound with eleven original songs and one inspirational favorite that will appeal to old and young listeners alike. It includes some rocking contemporary tracks like "River in the Rain" and the title track, "The Start". Jake's roots are firmly grounded in Gospel music so you will not be disappointed with some lively and exciting gospel tunes such as "If He Can't Do It" and "I Believe He's Alive". Jake's love of R&B and deep sounds allows him great versatility as he soulfully sings, "I'm Saved" and "Just One Word".
If you love big ballads, then this CD also has a number of selections you will enjoy. Jake booms out some big ballads on "His Holy Name" and the closing song, "You'll Never Walk Alone". Jake even offers a unique approach to the country gospel sounds of "Salvation Song" and "Only Jesus Can Heal This Hurting World". If you like more Inspiration music you will love "Just Hold On". Jake even displays his softer side with his melodic rendition of "God Is Here". This solo project transcends many genres with Jakes powerful songs and audiences everywhere will enjoy the variety offered on this project.
Hallels: Jake, thanks for doing this interview with us. How did you feel God's calling to sing for him?
Jake: My earliest remembrances in my home always involved music as it was played around our house everyday. My parents are Christians and gospel music along with many other genres of music were part of our lives daily. I remember singing Cedarmont Kids gospel songs at a very early age and even remember performing concerts in my living room for my parents when I was just a toddler. The first time I sang publicly, I was 23 months old and my dad placed me on top of the pulpit and put my legs off to the side because I was so small. I sang " Jesus Loves Me" and have continued to sing that song all of my young life. I personally came to know Jesus as my Lord & Savior at the age of six years old in our little country church in Benton, LA. My papaw who has been preaching for 53 years baptized me a few weeks later in that same church. I loved singing for the joy that it brings to my life and the lives of others.
I knew by the age of 11 that God wanted me to use my gift of music in His service. I have always had an inner desire to sing and I love gospel music because it speaks directly to our souls. There is no greater joy than sharing the songs of our faith with people who know Jesus and more importantly with those who need to come to know Him. I know that God is the one who enables me to sing and that this gift was meant to be used to share the good news of Christ with everyone. His calling in my life was always present and real and as I continued to follow Him, music was the area that I felt God wanted me to use to influence my generation in an positive way. I believe God is in control and nothing happens by chance. It is the journey that He has led me in and I am so thankful to love what He has called me to do.
Hallels: On your new album, you've got to work with Gordon Mote as a producer. How did you get to work with him? What do you think he brings to the album that you appreciate?
Jake: I came to know Gordon Mote through our music minister at our church, First Baptist of Minden, LA. At age 15, I was invited to sing with Chordsmith, a local gospel quartet and our tenor singer is Todd Dubose, our minister of music at First Minden. I was the new kid singing with a bunch of old guys. Todd knew Gordon and Gordon had come to our church in concert and I loved his styling and songs. Todd wanted to complete a project with many of our church members, groups and Celebration choir and we began working on songs that would eventually be part of a compilation CD release called "Southern Offerings". So Gordon worked with Todd and Sidney Cox of The Cox Family, (who also is a member of our church) to produce "Southern Offerings". Gordon played on all of the tracks and even sang a duet on one of the tracks on that album. Todd is a great musical mentor and really is the one who made my album possible. God used him to connect me with Gordon about a year later, as Todd encouraged me to complete a solo project. Gordon had produced the musical tracks on a couple of songs on Southern Offerings which I had the opportunity to sing with Chordsmith. So Todd contacted Gordon and asked if he would produce my new project "The Start".
I appreciate so many things about the music and life of Gordon Mote. First, Gordon is a great man of God, a man who loves his family and who is honest and full of integrity. He is a musical genius at the piano and because he is sightless, his ear for hearing and composing songs, sounds, instruments and voices is so honed and experienced that I could not have asked for a better producer on this project. Gordon was a great teacher throughout this entire project and the experience of learning under such a skilled musician, artist, and producer was invaluable. Gordon was not just interested in creating superb music, but more interested in making sure that the music I sang was authentic and real and a complete part of who I am. He shared with me that there must be authenticity in my music and in who I am as an artist. This process was a great learning experience from a master inside the studio. We made about nine different trips to Nashville to complete this project over the course of eight months and became great friends with Gordon throughout this process. I think that the unique sounds and stylings of Gordon Mote can be heard throughout this project. The piano intro's really bring the songs to life and set the tone for the songs as they unfold. His use of strings, and backgrounds are woven throughout the fabric of this album providing some magical sounds behind the scenes of the lyrics. He is a very creative producer who expected excellence in all that I did, and even demanded my best in making "The Start" a first project that we both could be proud to share. That work was not easy, but the result is so rewarding. Gordon was a complete producer who knew my voice, personal stylings and love for big ballads and he was instrumental in pitching the right songs which fit me as a young singer making his first solo project.
Hallels: For our readers who may not have heard your new album "The Start" yet, how would you describe your sound and music?
Jake: Since 11 of the 12 songs are new and never recorded, I believe that this album is a young and innovative approach to some vibrant gospel songs. I believe that there are songs for everyone, young and old alike. There are a variety of styles that I wanted to communicate. There are a couple of songs that are more contemporary sounding, like the title track, "The Start" and "River in the Rain". Something cool to know is that Todd Dubose, my music minister and mentor also wrote the title track "The Start". Both of these songs offer the younger listener a more driven or rocking contemporary feel that you find in most of our worship songs today. The music of these songs is full of great instruments and strings which added great depth to the overall sounds the listener can enjoy. The background vocals on both of these songs really added substance and emphasis to the lyrics.
Even though I'm only 18, I consider myself an old soul, I love old classic songs and I love to sing the big ballads that share the story of our faith. My musical roots are firmly grounded in gospel music so you will find some lively and exciting gospel tunes in the songs "If He Can't Do It" and "I Believe He's Alive". Both of these songs have a superb team of background singers including Angela Primm, GayIe Mayes and Chip Davis. If you love real scanting, you'll enjoy Angela on "I Believe He's Alive". I also love Rhythm & Blues and the deep and soulful gospel sounds, which I think you will find on "I'm Saved" and "Just One Word".
This project is laced with some big ballads which I love to sing. Two of my favorites are "His Holy Name" and the closing song, "You'll Never Walk Alone". I enjoy singing the dramatic booming ballads and both of these songs have great lyrics. I wanted this project to have diversity in song selection and believe it even offers a unique approach to the country gospel sounds of "Salvation Song" and "Only Jesus Can Heal This Hurting World". Gordon not only produced but co-wrote " Only Jesus Can Heal This Hurting World" which I am so thankful to record. It is a very fitting song for what our nation and world is experiencing today its message needs to be shared with our hurting world.
If you like more Inspirational music, your audiences will love "Just Hold On". It is a song of hope from despair and I love the message of this song. I also enjoyed displaying my softer side with a melodic rendition of "God Is Here" on which Joyce Martin joined as a duet. This solo project provides many styles of gospel and there are some great songs from many wonderful writers and and I hope audiences everywhere will enjoy the variety offered on this project.
Hallels: I must say I love your ballads most especially "His Holy Name," where your voice just soars. Did you take any vocal lessons? And tell us more about why you chose this song?
Jake: I really love this song too and there is nothing better than singing about the name of Jesus. This song was given to me by Todd Dubose, my musical minister. He pitched it to me and said that I really think this song fits your voice and styling. I listened to the demo and loved the message of the song. Gordon did a great job of making the music more modern and current as this song was written about 30 years ago.
I've had three vocal teachers in my life and all of them provided different components to me vocally which I hope has made me a better singer. My first vocal coach was in 2nd grade and is one of the sweetest ladies you will ever meet. Mrs. Carmen Bradford was instrumental in giving me confidence to perform as a very young singer. I was shy publicly, but she just instilled love and confidence in me that really helped me in becoming a better vocalist. She loved me and believed in me and what a present for a young singer. My second voice teach was my piano teacher, Mrs. Billie Leach and she helped me to learn piano and theory which gave me a better grasp of understanding melodic structure and rhythm. I am currently taking voice lessons from Nathan Davidson whom I have been studying with for the last 4 years. Nathan also sings baritone with Chordsmith quartet and is an excellent teacher. He has helped me become a more well rounded singer and demands that I raise the bar of excellence every time I sing. He continually works on making sure that I sing naturally with a pure sound and has been instrumental in my stylings and diction. I have many things to work on to improve my singing and I believe I will always need a vocal coach to continue this journey of learning my craft.
Hallels: One of the singers I love is Joyce Martin of the Martins who also sang with you, what was it like to sing with her?
Jake: Joyce Martin is a wonderful lady and I am so thankful to have the opportunity to sing with her on this project. I have always loved the music of The Martins and their stylings and harmonies are outstanding. Joyce is such a professional and singing with her on "God is Here" was a great experience. Her tone and phrasing was beautiful and meeting her and singing with her was such an honor. I hope to sing this song with her one day live.
Hallels: Besides being a singer, are you also a songwriter? Did you write any song on the new CD?
Jake: I am just beginning to write and this is an area that I know I need to develop in order to be a well rounded musician and singer. I wish I had written some of these songs, but I did not write any of the songs on this project. I have some good friends that are great songwriters and I hope to team up with them and co-write some new songs in the future.
Hallels: Being only 18 years-old, how do you balance between school and your music ministry? Is music ministry something you want to do full time after school?
Jake: It has helped that I have been home-schooled since 5th Grade, otherwise it would be impossible. My parents knew early on of my desire to sing full-time and they have been a huge help in allowing me to live out my dream of singing. I just graduated from high school in May this year. I worked most of my senior year completing "The Start" and plan to take one year to introduce my CD to the world. I will be continuing my education the following year. I plan to pursue a full time music ministry and know that this is just "The Start" of what God has for me. My desire is that my music will impact the world for Christ and be an example for my generation.
Hallels: For our readers who would like to know more about you and/or purchase your new album, where can they go?
Jake: The album is available for purchase online at www.cdbaby.com by digital download or physical CD purchase. It is also available on my website at www.jakecowley.com. You can order there if you would like a full CD through Paypal or Credit Card. If your readers would like to join my mailing list, they can also subscribe on my website.
For concert or booking information, you can reach me at www.jakecowley.com. I would love to hear from your readers and they can also find the latest information and follow me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jacobcowleymusic or Twitter at JakeCowley@jakecomusic.