Portrait 3: Jake


  • Portrait: Jake
  • Art: Musician
  • Known for: Jake Davis
  • Age: 23
  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Instagram: @jake_davis_band
  • Twitter: @jakedavisband

As a four-year-old, Jake drowned going from one side of his pool to the other; he survived. This is one of his earliest memories and feels it has informed his life as a fiercely independent spirit.

Music has been Jake’s other defining life force, and his personal relationship to music is best shared in his own words:

“I’ve played music since before I can remember and my favorite thing in the world is melody. When I hear music, I hear rhythm and chords and melody purely at first. The singing voice, the genre, the lyrics, the statement, the brand – they are all completely secondary to me. I’ve always heard ‘it’ as patterns before hearing it as art, entertainment or anything else. And I’m addicted to patterns.”  

A moment with Paul McCartney (via song, of course) also broadened his perspectives on music. During “Can’t Buy Me Love,” McCartney, per Jake, “screams.” Something in that screaming stuck with Jake, so much so that he couldn’t get it out of his head causing him to obsessively listen to the CD over and over. For him, that’s when music went from, “being something [he] passively enjoyed to [something he] actively processed.” Music also became a tangible career in that defining, McCartney-inspired moment.

Jake’s independent streak also led him to leave home at 16, and there were several firsts in that era. He moved away from home, recorded a record with a band, and navigated the waters of an intense relationship. All of these firsts deepened his resolve and influenced his art. Pain served (and still does) as inspiration. His personal work and investment also deepened. He believes talent is something you’re born with but that “skills” can be improved upon. Jake has worked hard to improve all of his skills. If there is something he would consider “talent”, it goes back to the pattern-making. He loves song-writing and, for him, “putting melody over chords just clicks.” (Editor’s note: yes, Jake, this is talent.)

Pain has served as a source of inspiration – but so too has belief in self. Jake is his own biggest supporter. He contends that “friends and family may never” see him as an artist, but (while sometimes creating music from the magic of his car), he doesn’t care. His intent is to pursue music full-time. In fact, he has realized he has to because, “there are talented people out there working on their music 24/7, and [he’ll] never compete if [he doesn’t] put in at least the same if not more effort.”

If he wasn’t pursuing music, Jake would consider being a lawyer – but he can’t imagine life without music. He is admittedly obsessive about his career choice. If there’s something he would possibly do differently it’s in starting (even) earlier so that he could capture all of the kid-ease of adapting to and understanding music. Still, it is his life’s work to be successful as a musician, and he has careful words of wisdom for anyone else considering the same career path:

  • Do not compare yourself to others or their work
  • Your return on investment will likely not measure up (ever)
  • (Still) Put your heart into it 100%
  • Be obsessive
  • Be honest with yourself

For Jake, “music is [his] only option.” He doesn’t mind starving to pursue music solely and will likely go the way of starvation soon in order to do just that.

Final note: Jake is refreshingly honest (and I didn’t necessarily capture the depth of his raw candor here). He was open and willing to share his experiences, and he’ll undoubtedly impact other musicians with his approach to life – beyond what is simply “heard”. Good luck, my friend.



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