It's fitting that Jake Scott's debut album Lavender has arrived just around the changing of seasons, as clocks are falling back and nights are getting longer.
The Fayetteville, Arkansas-born singer is on the cusp of his own changing of seasons, and the timing of the newly released record, which arrived on Oct. 20, couldn't have been better. Scott, who has written and produced for the likes of Jason Mraz and Morgan Wallen, in some ways is closing a chapter of releasing just one-off singles and taking the plunge into releasing a full body of work, something of a gamble in the streaming age.
"It was hard coming from the mindset of singles," says Scott, speaking with Variance ahead of the album's release. "But I learned during that time not to overthink things and not get in my own way. I think there's diminishing returns for a lot of artists because we're perfectionists and we're super insecure underneath everything. So it's like, 'Oh, it has to be the greatest thing I've ever done or I'm not gonna put it out,' which is just not gonna happen."
He adds: "I'm not Taylor Swift; the world is not clamoring for my next song. I'm just gonna put it out and some people will like it. Some people will hate it. Most people won't even know. And that was also the really tough pill to swallow, but it was an important step for me."
Scott says once he got over that hump, it was actually liberating. He didn't have a deadline. And he spent much of 2021 and into early 2022 working on new music. And just as he felt he was approaching the finish line, he went to dinner with his wife on his birthday and as they reflected on the past year and the future, she nudged him about his album, saying: "I don't think this is your best work."
The singer, who has also previously opened for LANY and co-wrote for names like Aloe Blacc, was stunned and admittedly offended. "At first, I was like, 'You don't know what you're talking about,'" he recalls with a laugh. "But after about 10 minutes, I calmed down and was like, 'You know what, I think I've been really afraid to admit that to myself, but you're totally right.' I was operating in a sense of, 'This will do,' rather than, 'This is gonna be my first album!' I want it to be something I'm proud of. And I am."
Notably, it's that relationship with his wife Rachel which has been a central part of Scott's musical trajectory. His love for his wife has influenced multiple tracks on the album and over the course of his career. In fact, his song "Married Young" on the new album celebrates the fact that they married young despite the advice of others in the industry and in Hollywood, a place where young love doesn't usually last long, especially in a music industry in which young pop singers' private lives are usually carefully coordinated leaving ambiguity for fans.
"It wouldn't make sense to be trying to be like, alluding to the fact of, 'Oh, is he in a relationship?'" explains Scott. "Especially when literally 99% of my life is just, I'm hanging out with my wife and my kids. Like that's what I do, that's who I am, and it would feel very false if I didn't."
Scott says the lyrics in "Married Young" as well as the songs "Forever 22" and "Come Close" were his way of "just owning my story." He continues: "I met my wife when I was 22 and yeah, I know that's really young to some people and that was certainly not my plan. I thought I was gonna move to L.A. and get a tour bus and just be that guy. But I met my wife the week I moved here and it was just like, 'Oh, this is what I'm doing now.'"
He adds: "So it was a change of plans. But in the best way. And that's kind of been my story, learning and growing and accepting what I can and can't change. And that's what this album is about. That's what I have to offer the world—my honest and my life and my story."■