Jake Smith
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Jake Smith

New Orleans, Louisiana, United States | INDIE

New Orleans, Louisiana, United States | INDIE
Band R&B


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"Jake Smith Balances Sacred and Secular"

For the past few years, Destrehan native Jake Smith has lived near Carencro in his wife’s native southwest Louisiana, even as he built a national audience for his contemporary, guitar-based pop.

Singer-songwriter Jake Smith plays early at Tipitina's on Saturday, followed by a "PG-rated" set from the Chee-Weez.
But early this year, he and his family moved back to New Orleans, settling in the Lower Garden District. “I had to get back,” he said this week. “I felt the itch. And I’m excited about being here.”
As part of his renewed commitment to the city, Smith seeks opportunities to give back. To that end, he’s a driving force behind Saturday’s “Egg the Homeless” fundraiser at Tipitina’s, which benefits the New Orleans Mission, a downtown homeless shelter.
The “Egg the Homeless” name is borrowed from an “Egg the City” campaign in North Carolina. “Egg” stands for “Elevate, Give and Gather.”
All proceeds go directly to the New Orleans Mission, Smith said. He and fellow organizers asked for a list of the mission’s needs. Topping that list is a lift to move the pallets of food that stock the organization’s kitchen. If enough money is raised, they’ll purchase additional items.
“Egg the Homeless” is an initiative of Vintage Church, a local congregation founded in 2008. With campuses Uptown and in Metairie, Vintage is affiliated with Baptist organizations and the Acts 29 Network of progressive Christian churches.
After being invited to perform at a Vintage youth camp, Smith signed on as the church’s music director. Thus, every Sunday he and his band showcase contemporary worship songs and original music. When the church focused on a theme of unity, Smith wrote a song called “We Are Unified.”
He is a musician who also is a Christian, but he is not fond of the “Christian music” moniker and its implied limitations. Lyrics on his polished 2010 CD “Everyone Comes From Somewhere” can be interpreted with religious or secular meanings; if anything, they favor the latter.
His “Go Ahead” comes across like an alternate take of Maroon 5’s “This Love.” The piano hook that pivots into the verse, the tempo and groove, the tone of Smith’s voice as he slips into falsetto territory, lines such as “I’m sure you’ll make someone real happy, but, baby, that someone is not me,” are all very Maroon 5-ish.
Elsewhere, the opaque electronic opening of “You Had Me” evokes MuteMath, before the horn bumps of the chorus swing in. The strings stitched into “One False Step” could be sampled from Collective Soul’s “The World I Know.” The ultrasmooth “Impossible” intermarries Robin Thicke and John Mayer. The doo-wop harmonies of “Carry Us Home” would not be out of place on an Amy Winehouse album, or a 1960s single by Irma Thomas or Barbara George.
He sings these songs primarily in secular venues. On April 30, Smith opens for Better Than Ezra at the Varsity Theater in Baton Rouge. On May 1, he does an early set on the Congo Square Stage at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival presented by Shell.
“?‘Everyone Comes From Somewhere,’?” he says, was “something to get to who I was. It’s about relationships, and the struggle to figure out who I want to be.”
There is often a chasm, he believes, “between secular and Christian. But they don’t cancel each other out. They can be hand in hand. I can play at Jazz Fest or play in church. I can do both, and not be labeled ‘Christian music.’?”
As an independent artist, he relies on social media and alternative marketing to promote his music. TV shows have featured his songs; “One Tree Hill” deployed his “Must Be Love.” He partnered with the Aloft hotel chain for performances at the company’s properties around the country; the deal also included lodging. “It’s nice to have a hotel partner when you’re a traveling musician,” he said. “Especially a nice one.”
He recruited ever-colorful cover band the Chee-Weez for Saturday’s benefit. Smith has known the Chee-Weez since he was an aspiring musician at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. The Chee-Weez would call him to the stage to sing Maroon 5 covers at the Varsity.
He’ll open the Saturday Tip’s show with an hourlong set. Later, the Chee-Weez will present what Smith describes as their “PG-rated set.” They may or may not don Easter bunny costumes to do so.
Come Sunday morning, Smith will perform at the Vintage Easter service at Dixon Hall on the Tulane University campus. Attendees are asked to bring donations of paper towels, toilet paper and paper plates for the New Orleans Mission.
It’s all part of Smith’s mission, both sacred and secular.
“When I’m playing at church, I’m not that guy who wants to be a rock star. When I’m entertaining at Jazz Fest, that fulfills that side of me.
“I’m sure of what I want to do with my life — I’m doing both. I play Tipitina’s, and then play church the next morning.”
- The Times Picayune

"Jake Smith's Latest"

After listening to this disc constantly for last day or so, I don’t think I could dig it any more. New Orleans native Jake Smith’s latest “Everyone Comes from Somewhere” to me, comes out of nowhere. Sometimes, artists like Jake blindside me and re-instill hope in New Orleans becoming more than just a funk/jazz producing town (no offense to the folks below). Diverse and superbly produced, “Everyone Comes from Somewhere” is truly his breakout offering. Sometimes compared and contrasted with the likes of Maroon 5 and John Mayer, Jake Smith’s style and sound is more James Morrison with a dash of Jamiroquai. Standout tracks included the B3 drenched “By My Side”, the entirely danceable and soulful “At The End of The Night”, the Motown boppin’ vintage steam “Carry Us Home”, and finally the track below, “Once Love”. - IHeartNola.com

"Jake Smith Is Living The Dream"

hat influenced the rhythmic cadence of his singing — it’s especially apparent on the “Real” track “Get Up” — as well as his freestyle-like method of lyric writing: He’ll improvise words, sometimes taking no longer than the length of the song itself.
“I’ll start singing words and sounds, and some of it makes sense, and some of it doesn’t,” Smith said. “My wife looks at me like I’m crazy.”
He rediscovered the guitar his senior year, just before setting off for LSU. While working on a general studies degree, he graduated from Baton Rouge coffeeshops to Northgate Tavern to the Varsity Theater. Opening for, and touring with, Better Than Ezra helped build his audience.
After his Rocketown whirlwind, he took a deep breath and started fresh. He traveled to Nashville, Tenn., to record a largely acoustic, largely improvised EP, “All That We’ll Ever Need,” with producer Joe Causey, a Baton Rouge native.
That album set the stage for “Everyone Comes From Somewhere.” Smith and his touring band — guitarist Joseph Walker, bassist D. Boy and drummer Chris Arceneaux — recorded it late last year at Fudge Recording Studio, the Garden District facility co-owned by Better Than Ezra bassist Tom Drummond. Causey once again served as producer.
The plan was to synthesize old and new. Clean, old-school soul guitar licks, for example, would co-exist with samples. A lush verse or chorus might drop off to only a voice and beat.
Along the way, Smith hoped to distill his own sound, even as he flaunted his influences. His “Go Ahead” could be an alternate take of Maroon 5’s “This Love.” The piano hook that pivots into the verse, the tempo and groove, the tone of Smith’s voice as he slips into falsetto territory, even such lyrics as “I’m sure you’ll make someone real happy, but, baby, that someone is not me” — it’s all very Maroon 5-ish.
Elsewhere, the opaque electronic opening of “You Had Me” evokes MuteMath, before the horn bumps of the chorus swing in. The strings stitched into “One False Step” could be sampled from Collective Soul’s “The World I Know.” The ultra-smooth “Impossible” intermarries Robin Thicke and John Mayer. - The Times Picayune


I just wanted to let you know that TheCelebrityCafe.com, the Internet..'s longest running entertainment magazine, has put my debut record .."Real.." as one of their Top Ten Albums of 2007. You can find the complete list of the Top Ten Albums of 2007 by visiting this link:
http://www. thecelebritycafe.com/features/12898. - Thecelebritycafe.com


Cyndee Maxwell, editorial director and associate publisher for Radio & Records comments,
"Jake played for our staff in the lunch room (and was a good sport about the soda machine in the background). His performance was great, everyone was captivated by the music, and he was warm, engaging and funny with the staff. Personally I love his CD and think there are many opportunities ahead for his music and influence." - RADIO & RECORDS


Jake Smith Projects (2006) Live
Real (2007) LP
All That We'll Ever Need (2008) EP
Everyone comes from somewhere (2010)LP

GET UP (2007)



Everyone Comes from Somewhere
It’s a fair question: when a guy calls his record Everyone Comes from Somewhere, who wouldn’t ask in turn where he’s coming from?

He grew up in New Orleans, but where he comes from? That’s an entirely different question. Some listeners first met Jake in 2007 when his opening effort was picked up for national distribution in a serendipitously short-lived deal. As the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported, “He and the label ultimately disagreed on the direction his music should take. He was not entirely displeased when (the label closed),
freeing Smith from his contract.” With that debut drama in the rearview mirror, Jake Smith is happy to be growing up before a growing audience—and is clearly moving on these days.
“A lot of people use the past to hold onto something that is holding them back,” he says. “I didn’t want to be that guy who blamed someone else for not doing what he needed to do. I’ve realized that everyone comes from somewhere and has been through something. But people can change . . . it’s how you come out of those times.” Jake Smith comes out swinging on Everyone Comes from Somewhere, a set that’s old school jam-packed with gripping stories about All haters, all lovers / A
man who can’t respect women / A person financially in prison / A preacher who’s doing all the sinning / Everyone comes from somewhere.
The album begins with “At the End of the Night,” a Prince-ly guitar-led groove with lyrics that came after Jake saw the Jennifer Aniston film, He’s Just Not That Into You. Lamenting today’s hookup scene and those who go home with
someone even though, It’s not right; it’s just right now, Smith reminds them, This is not the way that it should be.
“There are broken hearts out there settling for less than they deserve, and that gets to me,” he says. “If people would learn to value themselves and their relationships, they’d be sick over how they act in the clubs.” In linear fashion, “Go Ahead” drives the prior song’s point home by humorously showing how to deal with someone who moves too fast and is seemingly unaware of their worth. With an air of respect, atop a hot piano-fed track that’s as catchy as Justin Timberlake
and as cool as Ben Folds, Jake sings, It’s as clear as black and white / You’re just trying to get down tonight / Well, honey, there’s the stairs / You can get down right there.

The concern over knowing one’s true self and purpose takes a more personal tone for Smith on “You Had Me” and “One False Step.” Steeped in well-suited John Mayer and Maroon 5 influences that match his natural abilities, he touches on the sore spots of his first brush with the music business: You had me selling out, but that’s something that I won’t do . . . Why can’t I just be myself instead of the scripted version of someone else? The latter cut takes a longer view at why it’s important to find the right rhythm in life and pursue the strongest dreams even if at first you don’t succeed. Jake, who married last year and is now expecting a child with his wife, thinks ahead to, The conversation that you’ll have with your kids / Are you going to tell them that you were a never-been, that daddy was a
pushover, he gave up and got rolled over? “I’ve been learning a lot about what I don’t want to do,” explains Smith. “I’m
trying to strip away the junk from life, and that’s where this record is really coming from.” Love is most important on Everyone Comes from Somewhere. From the
youthful yearning of “Once Love” to the mature proclamations of “Something’s Better” (I got my head right now / I got my heart on my sleeve), the Crescent City singer sees the pursuit of passion as both romantic and religious. Therein lies Jake Smith’s essence, his appeal as a chart- bound artist with the lyrical depth to satisfy those seeking for more than just feel good music.