Singer/songwriter Jared Blake is from a small town in Arkansas, but was always destined for a big stage. With a country/rocker sound and songwriting skills to boot Jared is already making a big impression on Music City. With an appearance on NBC’s “The Voice” and a new single called “Countryfied” Jared is showing country fans all he has to offer. Recently Jared took some time out of his busy touring schedule to talk to CMTT. Check out the interview to find out how Jared got started, the advice Reba gave him while he was on “The Voice” and what fans should expect from his debut album!
CMTT: How did you get started in music? Was it something you always knew you were meant to do?
Jared Blake: I think it was pretty obvious it was what I wanted to do. I wrote my first song when I was five. My parents’ claim that I took everything I owned and tried to turn it into a musical instrument. My parents always went to Branson Missouri and they said they couldn’t keep me from crawling up on stage. I think it really surfaced at about 13 or 14 and I started taking piano at the time and then moved to the guitar. I also started entering a lot of contests. The reason I actually really started writing is because every talent competition I was in I typically won, but then I got in the Country Showdown and I lost and I noticed the guy that won got three extra bonus points for writing his own material. Then the next year I came back and wrote my own material and I won. A buddy of mine told me that they paid people to write songs in Nashville so I moved here and started writing songs for a living. Bobby Pinson was the first person to take me into the studio, and he asked me if I was looking for a record deal and I told him I was just hear writing. He said anyone who sings like you can’t run from it. He was right, and about 4-5 years later I couldn’t hold it back and I have been doing this ever since.
CMTT: Who are some of your musical influences?
Jared Blake: I listened to a spectrum of music. I tell everybody that country music isn’t necessarily something you chose; it is just something you are. I grew up in a town of two thousand people in Arkansas, so being country wasn’t an option. Southern boys listen to a lot of rock and roll too, but I would say the biggest influences were probably Kris Kristofferson, Johnny Cash, Steve Earl, Travis Tritt, and Guns and Roses mixed in there. I love the guitars from rock and I love the stories behind Johnny. He was basically the first one if you look back to bring electric guitars into country music. I got a lot of motivation out of his stories and the truth in his songs. Poetically though Kristofferson was just amazing. Bob Seger was also a huge influence as well. Those were probably the ones that were most likely playing in my tape player back then.
CMTT: How did you get involved with “The Voice?”
Jared Blake: Well, that was a bit of an accident. I am the type of the guy that likes to stay on the road and in the Honky Tonks playing my music. My two managers said they wanted me to audition of the show. I told them I didn’t really like reality T.V. that much so they kind of tricked me! They brought me to another show called “Platinum Hits” and told me it was a writing competition not a singing competition and I could dig that. They flew me out to L.A. and that was my first time out to the west coast. I just thought it was so cool out there I wanted to go back, so when I didn’t wind up being on “Platinum Hits” they asked if I would audition for The Voice and when I found out it was in L.A. I said I would do it. I really didn’t have any big expectations for the show; I really just wanted to go back out to L.A.
CMTT: Did Blake Shelton give you any advice while you were on the show?
Jared Blake: The best advice I got while I was there was actually from Reba! Reba sat me down off camera and told me that I was a statue of an artist, that I knew exactly who I was, and I do what I do. She told me that she loved my voice and my songs and to just keep doing exactly what I am doing. The best thing Blake did for me is that he really pushed how to treat your fans. He told us once you have these fans they will support you the rest of your life if you take care of them. He really drove that home. After the show he also sent me to Colt Ford to talk to him. He told me I was a cross breed and so was Colt and he had done extremely well.
CMTT: The new single “Countryfied” is currently at country radio. Did you write it?
Jared Blake: Yes, I co-wrote it. I actually co-wrote all the songs on the upcoming album.
CMTT: What should fans expect from the debut album?
Jared Blake: It is all cohesive and sounds great together. The biggest shocker on the album will be a song that Luke Bryan was looking for awhile. It is pretty in your face different, and will probably be a single coming out.
CMTT: Are you touring right now?
Jared Blake: Yep, we basically just record when we have a week off. We are on the road about 2-3 weeks a month.
CMTT: Who would you most want to sing with write with?
Jared Blake: I would love to sing a song with Miranda Lambert, actually I think I will go with Miranda again…I think that would be really cool to write with her.
CMTT: What is something you want the fans to know most about you and your music?
Jared Blake: It is all true. In Nashville you sometimes watch people try to emulate country, or emulate “bad boy” and a lot of people make up stuff. I don’t come from that school. Everything you hear is either a life lesson I am currently going through or something I have been through.
Keep an eye out on www.jaredblakemusic.com for more information about Jared’s upcoming album. While you are there be sure to check out Jared’s busy tour schedule to see if he is coming to a town near you. His new single “Countryfied” is at country radio now and also available on iTunes!
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