Jake Morrell: ‘Isn’t everyone’s dream to be a rock star?’
June 27, 2012
The Fresh Outlook
Musician Jake Morrell talks to The Fresh Outlook about gigs – big and small – and how self-belief is crucial.
Musician Jake Morrell is currently preparing to support the Brand New Heavies at Festival Too, Europe’s second largest festival, on July 7. “It’s going to be insane,” he says enthusiastically.
Jake and his band have every reason to be excited; they’ve worked hard to get this far.
Jake has been performing from a young age, starting with school productions and then performing with bands and as a solo artist as a teenager. He then went to study graphic design at the University of Falmouth, but he always viewed it as a ‘back-up plan’ if he failed to break into the music industry: “I chose it because I was relatively ok at it and I love being creative. And an added bonus is that I am able to get the exact design and look I want when it comes to the music stuff like CD covers and posters.”
After graduating, Jake grabbed any opportunity he could to perform at various gigs. “I did about a half hour solo set headlining the acoustic stage for the Falmouth Garden Party. It was an amazing venue in their Italian gardens surrounded by shouting students, Pimms and deck chairs. My most recent has been Harper Adams University, myself and the band played for their summer ball this year along side Benjamin Francis Leftwich, Twin Atlantic and Jaguar Skills. It was an insane place! The gig was at 3am in the morning but the students were buzzing and on form! I would happily go back there again!”
The band he refers to consists of Lewis Jenkins on drums, whom Jake’s known “since high school”; Robert Wiseman on piano – “we jammed together a bit before the whole ‘band’ thing happened” – and Thomas Maddison on double bass – “a lovely chap; he fits in like crackers and cheese!”
Although he has the band behind him, Jake is also a talented musician who can play the piano and guitar: “I’ve been playing guitar for about the past 7/8 years! Once I picked it up I was hooked! And some days I’ll practise for four hours plus when I have the time. But it feels the most comfortable when I have a guitar in my hand and the band behind me.”
Indeed it seems producing Jake’s style of ‘folk-pop’ is a collaborative effort. “I write most of the music and lyrics but the band all contribute,” he says, “especially when it comes to the technical side of the writing as I am not the most ‘conventional’ musician.”
Surprisingly, despite his love of performing, Jake didn’t initially have an urge to be in the spotlight. “But when I started to get the impression that people liked my music then I was, of course, eager to share with the world and all who are in it! After all … sharing is caring!”
Nowadays, he’s loving every moment. “The adrenaline rush is addictive! When you get the crowd bouncing to your songs and singing the lyrics back to you there is not a comparison to the feeling! I got asked what is my aim in the music industry … my answer was ‘to have a crowd of over 3000 people singing my song back to me’ and that is still the dream really.”
Jake and his band certainly know how to enjoy themselves but they also know how difficult it is to break into the music industry and are determined to work hard and succeed. “I’m not a natural salesman, especially when it comes to selling myself so it is and was hard work to get as far as I have, but the motivation is still there to keep going to get to bigger and better places. Myself and the band are now starting to get some seriously fun gigs with bigger and bigger artists.”
Always wanting to climb higher, Jake decided to start making his own music videos to increase awareness of his work: “I thought it would add another element to my ‘image’ and aid in selling my music and myself. Everyone likes to watch things on YouTube so I thought it would simply add to my advertising.
“[But] the music industry is a harsh, brutal world and you have to earn your respect. With sites like Spotify and YouTube it helps artists through showing their music and sometimes that does lead to the dream record deal. But to get into the music industry you have to work hard and fast. You have to sometimes run before you can walk, some might say. But as long as you enjoy what you are doing, have fun with the people you’re doing it with, and have some belief in what you’re doing, there isn’t anything you can’t achieve.”
Having already achieved so much with his positive attitude and determination to succeed, Jake is in the perfect person to give advice to others who are in a similar position:
“Enjoy what you do and be fearless … People can only say no! Practise makes perfect. Organisation is a key skill. And the most important of all: take what you get! Don’t be picky – sometimes you have to play the bad gigs to get to the good ones, and at the end of the day it’s all experience.”
To listen to Jake’s songs and new album, Hey Bright Eyes, go to Jake’s website: www.jakemorrell.co.uk
By Kate Wilson
[Image courtesy of Jake Morrell]