Florida-born and Los Angeles-based singer, songwriter, and producer BabyJake ensures listeners that he’s “bringing back rock ‘n’ roll” with his stylistic version of it on his latest album, The Sun Wakes Up Earlier Now. To further understand how he looks to resurrectprovide his new era sound of rock ‘n’ roll with his fresh, diverse, and unique sound to set himself apart from others who try to label and specify him as any specific artist. To get into further detail about Jake’s sound, presence, and struggles he’s faced as not only an artist but as a human being in his newest interview with Variance Magazine below.
Ethan Ijumba: So you’re alternative singer-songwriter that goes by the name of BabyJake. Your debut album, The Sun Wakes Up Earlier Now, dropped in September and it's doing numbers. Just as its previous successor, Don't Give Me Problems, Give Me Wine. How does it feel now that you're at this point of receiving a mass amount of love and recognition from everything from the industry, longtime fans, new listeners, and so on?
BabyJake: It feels great to be able to make a different pivot in a space and not be criticized for that pivot. I don't think you would be able to do something like that 10 years ago, but now I think you can because of the digital space. You’re able to take that pivot kind of like me going from pure urban pop music like Asher Roth type stuff to me wanting to do rock and roll. So it's an amazing thing that you could be so widely accepted in this space nowadays and I'm very thankful for the opportunities I've had and for the opportunities that are forthcoming as well. This whole thing is a blessing, being an artist is wild enough to be able to do this for a living.
EI: With that being said, do you have a favorite part about being an artist? Is there anything specifically that you enjoy the most that are really the fruits of your labor that you're most grateful about?
BabyJake: Yeah, I mean it's the whole reason I got into it is, you know, I like writing and I like making the music. That's my bread and butter, the rest of it kind of worked for me to do the whole social aspect of networking and talking to fans after shows and stuff, it's not so easy for me. I kind of have to push myself out of my own comfort zone because innately I'm a pretty introverted and shy person, but I'd say my favorite part about it, it's still just the roots of it, which is just making the music.
EI: To go along with that, you mentioned about the collaboration process for you is still kind of something that’s not something that's easy for you. For this album though, you were based out in Los Angeles with a bunch of creative minds to work with from Bipolar Sunshine, Lizzie McAlpine, Linda Perry, and Danny Shyman among others. To be in that space and to work and collaborate what was it like then when making music with those people?
BabyJake: To answer that question it goes back to what I said about Linda Perry, I had tried to work with her artist Jesse Jo Stark before but It didn't end up working out. We didn't end up using the verse that she recorded and the records aren’t even out yet, but we're still looking for the right feature for maybe the next album that we put out. But Linda Perry and I, The 1st four or five times we hung out, we didn't work we just hung out. I just came by her place and we talked, played a couple of instruments or whatever, but we weren't really working, we were just feeling each other out. So now I feel now that Linda and I are still working on a relationship, it's not like I can just go in the studio with Linda and say, hey let's make a whole bunch of hits because she works her way and I work a certain way. So I think we're still trying to figure out our working relationship. So it's really full circle and a lot of people like Bipolar Sunshine and Danny Shyman I see those guys every day, those are my best friends so it doesn't feel none of that feels press. But Linda Perry is somebody that I'd like to get to know better and It's a slow process, I can't say that Linda Perry and I are not going to go record a 12 track album and I can't say that we will it's just about comfortability for me.
EI: Based on how you have such a large range of genres and people you work within your music itself. It’s hard to label your sound into any specific genre. Were there any specific artists that really influenced you on why you wanted to make music?
BabyJake: People need to understand this, my music is so diverse because he was trying to find himself. That's the truth. I didn't pop out in the music scene and I wanted to make every genre. My mind was in the space of I don't necessarily even know who I am. And I think the biggest thing about the diversity of my music that needs to be understood by viewers, listeners, and fans, and even anonymous people is that I didn't come into this space with this idea of being this diverse artist. I just wanted to figure myself out, I didn't know what I wanted to be. If you were to ask me again relaying back to me being 24 years old my influences two years ago or three years ago. I’d tell you fucking everybody under the sun. I grew up on Kanye West, Drake, and Lil Wayne, and people like that. But I also listened to a lot of James, Taylor and Norah Jones, and Bonnie Raitt and people that our generation might not necessarily listen to that often because I grew up with parents that we're both very much music lovers and music listeners. But, I feel like this album was kind of pushing my viewers and listeners into this space of rock music, I hope at least all pumped because the next project, I think “Daddy's Coming Home” is the closest thing to my inspirations and where the next sound is heading as I'm taking it to pure rock and roll sound.
EI: When exactly was it when you had that epiphany where you thought to yourself, I don't need to fall into limitations or anybody's subjects or anybody's labels. To then approach it as f**k all the ideas of being labeled, boxed, or set as a specific kind of artist?
BabyJake: It was a slow process, to begin with, but I'd say the most pivotal moment was when I got diagnosed with my autoimmune disease, and I got really sick and I was bedridden for about 23 months. I literally would have the thoughts of I'm gonna die, I'm gonna die in this bed, this is the end of my life, that's really how I felt and was the most immense pain I've ever been in my life. So I was re-evaluating not only music, I was re-evaluating myself, how I looked at myself how I acted the people I had around me, whether I wanted to be in the position I was in. So I'd say that was a huge pivotal moment just for you know, Jacob Herring as an individual, not only BabyJake as an artist but Jacob Herring. So I think that the change might have started happening two years ago, but the pivotal change was the last 6-9 months.
EI: At this point in your career, Do you feel that your pace is right now going too fast or too slow? Or do you feel like you're going at a specific great time for you to be at with how you're evolving and growing musically in the way your career is going?
BabyJake: You know, it's a good question. I'm always gonna say too slow because for me music's not only my career, it’s my escape point, and also that friend that I confide in. But, I'm always going to say to slow because for me, I just write so naturally that it’s always going to continue to work. I write fully organic so for me the way that I look at it is when you look at Rolling Stones, Prince, The Eagles, and anybody from that era, They were releasing so much music, It wasn't like these dudes were doing three albums and then, peace, I'm out you know, these dudes were doing 12, 15, 20 studio albums. And they might not do that well in the beginning and that's okay because, in my mind, I said, okay, well look, these guys were having one or two singles that were hitting every two or three albums, you know, they're putting out 40 songs and one or 2 of them were doing well. It's not to say that the other music wasn't good, It's just it was a different listening experience. And I hope that now when I put out the rock and roll stuff, that people will be very receptive and be like, “oh wow” right off the rip, you know, it goes really well. So I want to put the music out there for the world because not only is that my career, but I just want people to hear it. So for me, I'm always gonna say too slow, I'm never going to stay balanced.
EI: So you mentioned that your goal for yourself is to bring real music back and regain music in its genuine and traditional form. A point where it doesn’t feel like something that’s so commercialized and extremely mainstream-based. With that being said, what is the message you want to send in the impact that you want to have when you're in just your overall career?
BabyJake: The overall impact and there are two goals, make whatever the fuck I want to make, which I mean anything from reggae, folk, salsa, anything with live instruments really is my definition of rock and roll. The second goal for me, and the way that I think I could break out into the scene in this space is by going on tour with somebody who did have a big fan base in the boomer era with a classic band like the Black Keys or The Rolling Stones. But regardless, I think that that's gonna be a huge goal of mine is touring with somebody of that caliber because I feel like I can pick up a lot of fans from their fan bases and I think that where this music is going to resonate with people the most is when I perform it live. I've always said my mission statement throughout my career is that my music is about having fun, and I still agree with that, but even capitalizing on that point, I want people to feel and a lot of the music coming out for the past five years has been about f**king feelings particularly not addressing them.