23rd May 2022
Interview: Amy Bell
“I spent two years of my life documenting what I felt and what I did about it in real-time. From this came a story of introspection - one where I realized that often when we’re so obsessed with control and defining ourselves at a young age, we lose sight of being grateful for the many things already present.”
Jake Brewer is a 23-year-old singer/songwriter based in New York, NY, whose latest album "objects in mirror are closer than they appear" launched the young creator into a new era of indie, bedroom pop. The Seattle-native is a recent TedX speaker, founder of FRNDLY Media, and host of the Groundbreaking podcast, all while selling out shows across the US since 2018, touring with bands like PREP, and Jenny Kern, and Fox Royale. With tens of thousands following on social media, supported by collaborations with brands like HBO Max and Tommy Hilfiger, Jake is quickly gathering attention around the world as your new favourite "boy next door."
The new album embraces the new indie/bedroom-pop sound of Brewer while embodying a maturity and transparency inspired by your early 20s and experimenting with the crossroads of masculinity and emotional vulnerability. With new tracks accumulating over 150,000 streams, a recent TedTalk speaker title, and sold-out shows in Boston and New York, the 23-year-old singer/songwriter is gearing up for an exhilarating summer ahead.
Thanks so much for talking to ReVamp, can you talk to us about your musical journey and who inspired you growing up?
I’ve always really loved being creative and imagining what I could do next. I think that’s how my ambition comes to life, and as I got older I found the best outlet for that through music. It can be really strange to call yourself a “musician,” especially when I was teaching myself through trial and error and just trying to write, sing, and perform as much as I could. When I went to school in Boston that was when I felt most inspired by the people around me. I found people who dared to dream bigger than themselves, and that can be such a healthy, contagious environment to be in. It takes a while to find your footing, though. I wrote many, many bad songs and even if I didn’t always make the right decisions, it led me to where I am right now as a songwriter and musician and I couldn’t be more proud of that.
I love the new single ‘Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear', what inspired you to create this song?
This album is essentially a documentation of my early 20s. Almost two years ago I realised I had a lot more of myself to pour into art, so I reached out to a friend of a friend, Al Riordan, and met my producer. From there, we really clicked and spent many hours on the phone talking about the sound I wanted to create and mainly how to show people listening that my music is maturing as I am, too. We released “pilot,” the lead single, at the start of last summer and since then I’ve been obsessed with this indie-pop sound that’s becoming more and more appreciated. The album overall encapsulates this idea and lesson I learned of surrendering control, and recognizing how when we stop obsessing over being at the steering wheel in life, we won’t ever go off the road, and we’re able to enjoy the drive. I wrote a lot about what relationships, the good and the bad, romantic and friendly, all taught me, and found this project as an end result to be the best definition of the way I create and think.
When you start recording and writing your songs, what is the process for this?
When recording I usually start with the most basic demo, maybe just a track or two, with the basic lyrical structure of the song. For this album, I’d send that to my producer with some example tracks that I was aiming for a similar vibe and we’d essentially work back-and-forth on our versions until one of them was perfect (her producing and myself re-doing vocals, harmonies, etc.) Each song looked very different in its timeline - some took only a week while others took months.
How is this different from any of the other releases?
This project is the most transparent I’ve ever been, and truly more than I ever thought I’d be. There were stories and songs I knew I would at one point want to release, but they found their place within this project, and even though I thought I’d be terrified or even regret releasing them, I’ve never been so at peace and calm. Putting your song out there can be really strange because you never experience it being consumed by listeners, but I’ve been super fortunate to be able to tour and play live recently where I’ve felt like I could almost hand-deliver this new music in the way that I feel it deserves.
What do you want listeners to feel when listening to objects in the mirror are closer than they appear?’
I really want listeners to feel represented and recognize that even if we don’t have too much in common personally, maybe there’s a line, a thought, or a song that resonates with them in some way. Music is powerful and the only tool I know that can connect people like that. To be able to give someone that feeling I think is the greatest award as a musician, but also hopefully inspiring people to recognize their own creativity and feelings through an outlet. For me, mine was music, and I learned a lot about myself through writing this album, and listeners will learn more about me than they ever wanted to know.
I also recognize a lot of media fails to represent the emotional vulnerability of men. I hope by writing and releasing an entire album that doesn’t exist in fear of being less than the stereotypical, stoic male in media that I can contribute towards a point where more men feel comfortable not only expressing themselves but putting that into a positive outlet that allows them to discover those feelings.
What can we expect from you next?
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t already writing and thinking about what to create next, but I’m definitely going to give this album its time to breathe and connect with people. I’m looking to tour this album more and visit new places to connect with new audiences. I invested so much personally into this project, it’s always the best feeling when I can make it a personal experience for others, too.