11 Things You Didn’t Know About Jake OwenPublished on August 30, 2016.
Jake Owen has officially been a country singer for over ten years! Although it took him a while to put out a number one hit, he then released four in a row with “Barefoot Blue Jean Night,” “Alone With You,” “The One That Got Away” and “Anywhere With You.” He started putting out music in 2006 when he signed to RCA Nashville record label and he’s been slowing climbing to the top ever since. Owen has toured with huge stars like Brad Paisley, Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean and Keith Urban, and he just released his newest album American Love featuring the leading single, “American Country Love Song.” The album has been well received and resurged Owen’s career back to the top of the charts. The past few years have been difficult for him with the publicity of his divorce and record label mix up, but it seems the Florida native singer is making a comeback! He turns 39 at the end of this month, so here’s a look at 11 things you probably didn’t know about him!
11. His Real Name is Joshua
A lot of celebrities use a ‘stage name’ and this country singer is one of them! His real name is Joshua Ryan Owens. When he first entered the music business there was another artist in the country music industry who’s name was Josh Turner. This other artist already had many hits, like his Top 20 single, “Long Black Train,” so in order to make Owen stand out, the execs at his record label suggested he change his name. They settled on the name ‘Jake’ even though there’s also another country artist with that name. Although we all refer to him as Jake, some of his family still refer to him as Josh. His brother Jarrod talked about having to make the switch to Jake. “Being born together as twins and growing up together, all the way through college, it was always Josh. It’s what I always called him. But it got to a point where, when I was visiting him in Nashville, everyone was calling him Jake, and when I called him Josh, it didn’t even register with him. So, eventually, I just made the choice to call him Jake.”
10. The Meaning Behind his Tattoo
Unlike a lot of other celebrity tattoos, Jake Owens has some meaning behind his. The tattoo was originally in the shape of his ex-wife Lacey Buchanan’s lips. He had them tattooed onto his arm even before they got married! Since their divorce, he had it covered up and replaced with a feather, a symbol that represents his Native American heritage and the person he has become today. “I’ve floated to my own tempo and wherever it takes me. It’s a symbol of peace and individuality and spirituality, and in my whole life in general I’ve always floated around in a way,” he said in an interview with Taste of Country.
9. He Suffered from Depression
When Jake Owen was younger, he aspired to be a professional golfer. When he was only 15-years-0ld he won his first golf tournament and eventually scored a golf scholarship to Florida State University. Unfortunately his dreams were crushed when he injured his shoulder during a wakeboarding accident while in college. He had reconstructive surgery and was forced to give up the sport and his career aspirations which caused him to go into a state of depression. The only reason Owen recovered was because he borrowed his neighbor’s guitar. “To pass the time, I just started teaching myself to play. I had always loved music. I grew up listening to classic country, Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard. My dad loved Vern Gosdin and Keith Whitley. So I kept going to class and started getting totally into playing guitar and teaching myself these songs,” he said. Eventually he dropped out of college, which didn’t make his parents too happy, to pursue a career in Nashville. He landed a record deal a few weeks later after he passed along a demo CD to a bank teller while opening up a savings account.
8. He Has a Fraternal Twin
Jake Owen not only has a sibling, he has a fraternal twin! His brother’s name is Jarrod Owen, and Jake admitted while on Chelsea Handler’s show that he’s been asked a few times to help him out while courting a girl, even if it means talking to strangers in the middle of the night. He said his brother will say, “Dude, dude, dude, just say hey to this chick real quick,” then added, “And the girl will be like, ‘I don’t even give a sh-t who you are, but your brother says that you’re his brother or whatnot.” Him and his brother grew up extremely close and regularly participated in sports together. In an interview with Jarrod, he admitted it can be hard sometimes being the brother of a star, but there’s no bad blood or jealousy, in fact they are still quite close. “We’re still close. Being a twin, I don’t think that ever goes away. We were born into this world together. We had beds next to each other growing up. We went to college together. The hard part was when he made the move to Nashville; the initial separation was pretty hard because we had never been apart, really,” he said.
Twin Bro’s. Best Friend for Life. A photo posted by Jake (@barefootjake) on
7. He’s Divorced
In May 2012, Jake Owen married model Lacey Buchanan in Vero Beach, Florida. Less than a year later they welcomed their daughter, Olive Pearl. Owen had proposed to her on stage in front of his hometown crowd in Vero Beach — he didn’t even have a ring! He began singing “Don’t Think I Can’t Love You” and then called her up on stage to get down on one knee. Unfortunately, the two recently divorced after only three years of marriage. Owen has spoken out about how difficult it is to be a part-time parent to Pearl who has moved back to Florida with her mother. “That feeling that I was so lucky to have for a while by going out and doing what I love, playing songs, seeing the reaction of fans…And [when] the weekend’s over and going home to what was even 10 times better than those feelings that I get on stage, which was walking in the front door and hearing a little girl go, ‘Daddy!’ and heading her footsteps run,” he said. “And now it’s weird, man. I get home, and I’m the only person there and it’s so quiet, and it’s taken me a while to gain strength back again…Being married was an awesome thing for me. I really loved it. Unfortunately, myself and Lacey didn’t work out, we still care a lot about each other and most importantly have so much love for our little girl.”Broadimage/REX
6. Signature Style
Not surprisingly, the “Barefoot Blue Jean Night” singer likes to perform barefoot! Fans will typically catch him performing without shoes. Despite his bohemian look sometimes, he’s definitely not a self-proclaimed ‘hippie.’ “I like to play barefoot, but I don’t consider myself some hippie or anything like that. But I do think that anyone that knows me will tell you that I just kind of float like a feather. If the wind picks me up and wants to take me somewhere, I like the ride,” he said. The gold chain he is often seen wearing around his neck is from his father. The story behind it goes like this: his father proposed to his mother in the Cayman Islands and bought the gold chain while they were there. From then on he wore it everyday for the next 30 years until he passed it down to Jake.
While he admits he doesn’t write all of his music, he did write all of the songs on his debut album, Startin’ With Me, and every song on his Sophomore CD, Easy Does It, aside from two. It wasn’t until his third project, Barefoot Blue Jean Night, that he turned to other artists and songwriters for a little bit of help. “I put aside a lot of my own songs that I had written and started recording some outside songs that I thought were better. That’s kind of risky when it comes to your own. Most people think in order to validate yourself as an artist, you have to write your own songs. I commend the guys that do. I’ve done it. But I also think that you can pick great songs outside that you didn’t write that can help your career,” he said. His fourth album, Days of Gold, was also comprised of songs written by outside artists.
4. He Has Three Dogs
Before Jake was married, he got pretty lonely on tour! So he used to bring along his dogs, Vern and Merle. Owen found Merle while performing at a football game. “He was just sitting there staring at me, so I had to bring him home.” Vern stopped coming on the road with him in 2011 and Merle took his place on the tour bus, but he’s also most likely retired by now. “Merle used to come everywhere with me. Now he stays home a lot, and he doesn’t get to ride shotgun anymore. He’s definitely taken a backseat to my wife and daughter, but he’s still my main man,” Owen said during an interview back in 2014. It’s pretty clear Merle is the key to Owen’s heart as he has the final say in who Jake gets to date! “I could always tell if Merle liked the girls I was dating or not. He won’t go near your if he doesn’t like you. I could also tell a lot about the girl by how much interest she took in Merle. If you don’t care anything about my dog, then you really can’t care that much about me,” he said. In 2015, he adopted another dog named Thurman Thomas. He said he is his daughter Pearl’s new best friend!
3. First Band Name was Yee Haw Junction
While attending college, Jake Owen developed an interest in performing and playing music. He said he had always been interested in country music, but it wasn’t until he was a teenager that he became serious about pursuing a career. In college he formed a band called Yee Haw Junction. The band mostly played covers, but they did have two original songs that Owen wrote himself. The songs were called “It’s Been a While” and “8 Second Ride,” which became his first gold-selling single once he got his record deal. They typically played in a bar called Potbelly in Tallahassee, Florida. They got the gig after Owen saw another guitarist playing there and asked the bar owner if he could as well. He became a regular at the bar and soon began writing his own material. That was the beginning of Yee Haw Junction. Once he made it big, he returned there to film the video for his single, “Yee Haw.”
2. His Dad is a Cancer Survivor
Jake Owen’s father, Steve, was diagnosed and treated for throat cancer in 2013. The cancer originated at the back of his tongue and he had to endure intense treatment along with a course of radiation which caused him to lose his tastebuds and endure a prolonged severe sore throat. Thankfully in November 2013, Owen announced his father was cancer-free! It’s now been almost three years since his battle and among the songs on Owen’s newest album, he admitted that he picked the song “Everybody Dies Young” because it reminded him of his father and his journey with cancer. “It rings a bell for anyone whose had someone in their family go through something traumatic and makes you realize how fragile life is,” he said. The song encourages him to live his life to the fullest each and every day.
Dads first time since Beating cancer seeing his boy in concert. Thanks @nicholaskai for the photo and memory I’ll have forever A photo posted by Jake (@barefootjake) on
1. He Loves Photography
A quick scroll through Jake Owen’s social media page will prove just how much he loves taking pictures. He often posts black and white photographs to his Instagram of various shots he’s taken throughout his travels and daily life. Although it’s just a hobby, he’s actually quite good! The “Beachin'” singer said he’s been honing his craft for many years and it’s one of those things where practice makes perfect. “I want to start sharing what I feel cause I think photography is a feeling and there’s a reason people stop and take a photo of something is because they admire it. And if someone can have a piece of something that I admire or that I took time to capture a moment in time then I want to pass that along,” he said. He’s thinking of sharing his photography work with fans “like limited editions of them and singing them. Cause I have fans out there that I think would enjoy having a shot that I took personal time to seek out and shoot.”