Life doesn’t always turn out the way we plan. Sometimes it turns out even better. Just ask Jake Owen.
The RCA Records newcomer originally wanted to be a professional golfer. However, an accident changed those plans. “I was home for the summer and a few weeks before I was supposed to go back to school, I was waterskiing and had a bad accident,” Owen recalls. “I had reconstructive shoulder surgery and spent the next year and a half doing rehabilitation. I really couldn’t play golf. My neighbor had a guitar and I started teaching myself how to play.”
That led to performing around his Florida hometown and an eventual move to Nashville. “I think things happen for a reason,” he says. “You just roll with it, keep your head up and keep believing. It happens the way it’s supposed to and my life has definitely worked out that way. I’m so thankful that I’m able to call this a job.”
After moving to Music City, he opened a bank account and while chatting with the teller, told her he was trying to break into country music. She asked him for a CD, and he just happened to have one in his pocket. The next day he got a call from Warner/Chappell Music. That didn’t result in a deal, but soon after, Owen met producer Jimmy Ritchey. The two began writing together and Ritchey helped Owen land his deal with RCA.
Owen co-wrote every song on his debut, Startin’ With Me, which includes a duet with one of his musical heroes, Alabama’s Randy Owen. The newcomer caught the attention of country radio with his up-tempo debut single “Yee Haw,” and then followed up with the poignant title track.
Owen spent the better part of 2006 opening for Kenny Chesney and Brad Paisley. “It’s a very surreal kind of feeling because a lot of people work really hard to get to where they really want to be,” he says. “Now that I’ve gotten to this point, it’s an amazing feeling, but actually I’m still not there yet. I’m the opening act and I want to be where Kenny is. I want to be the guy with the name on the ticket. That’s my goal.”