Jake Owen’s Secrets

Jake Owen’s Secrets



By Erin Duvall

© 2013
CMA Close Up® News Service / Country Music Association®, Inc.

To follow
Jake Owen on Twitter is to know him. The Florida native has a reputation for cultivating
personal relationships over social media through his active and open presence.
Whether it’s sharing new music or the entire track list for his latest album,
Days of Gold, as he did in October, or inviting fans to impromptu,
real-life meetings, Owen has grown his Twitter account and his brand to an extent
that even he can’t believe.

“I never would have thought that I
could move to a town with a dream, start fulfilling it as far as getting a record
deal and putting out some music, and then eight years later have a million people
following me on Twitter,” he said. “People don’t
have you on Twitter.
If they do, it’s because they want to know what’s going on in your life. It
makes me feel good to know that people care enough about what I’m doing.”

Owen has
worked hard to develop that relationship. No manager or label staffer runs his
Twitter account. Owen handles his own online identity, a freedom that isn’t
afforded to him in every aspect of his career. “The beautiful introduction of
social media over the last few years has made it so if artists want to take the
time to connect with their fans, there’s nothing stopping them,” he said.
“There’s no one telling me I can’t. If I want to invite 10 people onto my boat, I can.”

“Jake
is one of the best at conversing with his fans through the socials,” said Gary
Overton, Chairman/CEO, Sony Music Nashville. “I don’t think the guy sleeps!
There has not been an accurate matrix formulated that can measure direct links
from socials to sales, but we definitely feel the lift in Jake’s career and
public awareness of him through the socials.”

It is not uncommon for
Owen to even invite fans out to meet him in person. “The other night, my wife
and I were sitting around, drinking beers and watching football in Montana,”
he recalled. “I asked people where to go to dinner, and then when I got to where
we were going, I was like, ‘Hey, I’m at Old Chicago Pizza, or whatever. Come
on down! I’m buying beer if you’re drinking.’ Like, 40 people showed up,
people who got in the car and drove across town at 10 o’clock at night to shyly
ask for a photo. To me, that’s so fulfilling, to be able to show people that
I’m not just some guy on TV or the radio. I’m a real person.”

These meetings
with fans are never planned, according to Owen. “It’s just spur-of-the-moment,”
he insisted. “I’m usually not doing anything. People are like, ‘I can’t
believe you’d invite people to come down and have beers with you on your bus.’
And I’m like, ‘I’m sitting here doing nothing. Who would not want to have
a beer in the first place, let alone with someone who is excited to come to the show?”

The new
father will often share his personal life too. Whether it’s a photo of his father
in the hospital or videos of his daughter, Olive Pearl, who was born November
22, 2012, Owen seems to be an open book.

“I have friends who are artists, who
are like, ‘I can’t believe you do the things you do. I can’t believe you
don’t want more privacy,’” Owen said. “For me, it’s almost backwards:
I think giving people more, they’re content. They don’t have to dig. No one
is ever digging into my life to find out anything because I’ve pretty much already
told them, or they figure I’ll tell them anyway. I don’t ever want to be the
guy who hides behind the shadows, comes out onstage as a mystery and then leaves again.”

Never mind
that this “strategy” has served Owen well professionally. In the end, his
reasons for reaching out are simpler than that. “I love that feeling of seeing
people smile,” he said. “I love to reach down into the crowd, pull a little
kid off his dad’s shoulders, walk him back to the drum stand, hand him a drumstick,
high-five him and walk him back to his dad. It’s not just about knowing that
I made the kid’s night, but knowing that the dad, when he goes home tonight,
will be the coolest dad ever. Those are powerful things that I can do with my
life and career. I’m not going to waste time in my life not doing the best I
can for the people who give me this awesome opportunity.”

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