Jake Ward, a longtime singer-songwriter, producer, performer, and multi-instrumentalist with years of experience writing original songs, performing, and contributing to a plethora of musical projects, this week officially released his first solo musical project, Sound With Intention, a 5-track E.P on Soundcloud produced entirely by himself and Nick Loiacono at Fang Studios in San Mateo.
Discovering his passion for music at a very young age and subsequently attempting to master a variety of musical instruments, Ward is a self-taught up-and-coming artist who writes all of his original songs from personal experiences and observations.
“I think creating your own music is somewhat inherent in teaching yourself to play – or at least that was the case for me,” said Ward. “I knew at a young age, particularly after listening to the Goo Goo Dolls, that I wanted music to be more than just a hobby for myself. So I set out to master playing, singing, writing, and producing – and here I am today with my first solo 5-track album now on Soundcloud.”
Ward attributes his musical awakening to listening to the Goo Goo Dolls when he was just 13 years old. Other musical influences on him include John Mayer, U2, The Script, and a ton of 2000s era pop punk, like Fall Out Boy, Panic at the Disco, All Time Low, and Yellowcard. In the beginning of his musical career, Ward played in a metalcore band where he was exposed to extremely technical and progressive music.
Today, his style can be described as acoustic-pop with singer-songwriter and folk influences. Every one of his songs was written with an acoustic guitar as the base instrument. On Sound With Intention, listeners can hear multiple layers of guitars setting the foundation for every song.
Ward kicked off his musical career at 11 years old, playing an acoustic cover of “Crash” by The Primitives at a school recital. Since then, he has played or filled in for local California artists, participated in summer camps, and continually finds various opportunities to get on the stage and play. In 2013, he recorded an EP titled “Boxes & Strings” for an acoustic project called “Fall Forward” with his younger brother, Carl. After graduating high school, he started a metal project with a classmate, releasing an EP called “Ignite” under the name Skypark.
Ward left Skypark 1.5 years ago to pursue his own musical career as a solo artist. He has played on big stages with the help of his friend Santa Cruz pop artist T3TRA.
We had a chance to interview Jake about the first single off his coming record called, ” Never Letting Go.”
Why did you select this song as your current single? 
Never Letting Go was the song I had written most recently before recording the EP, and for me it’s the most exciting and interesting track of the 5. I also think it gives the best sense of where my music is headed in the future.
How does this single relate to the rest of the Album, EP or Mix-tape? 
The other 4 songs were written at least a year or two ago, and I’d made at least 2 or 3 demos each over that time period, so I had a really clear, familiar idea of what I wanted to do with them in the studio. Never Letting Go was a really new song, and I hadn’t even finished the one rough demo I had thrown together for it. I was worried about this track in particular because it was so new and unperfected, but it was really important to me to get the song and the message across and it’s turned out to be the most popular song off of the album. The EP is called Sound With Intention and the idea behind that is essentially that music at it’s core is just making sound with some form of intention or statement behind it, so in my mind it’s really fitting that the song with the least preparation and practice ended up being my favorite, simply because of the intention and emotion behind it from the start.
What was the writing process for the song? 
I write everything on acoustic guitar, and since I’m self taught I usually use a number of different improvised non-standard tunings that allow me to play what I think sounds right despite having no clue what I’m actually playing. This song, like pretty much every other song, started with me finding some new interesting chords I liked and arranging them into something I could put words over. I always do music first, words second, and I typically start writing based on the feeling I get from the music. To me, the chords in Never Letting Go sounded sad, but hopeful somehow, and it grew from there.
What does this song’s lyric mean to you? 
I’m someone who has struggled a lot in my life with periods of depression and feeling alone, and as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized more and more how clouded your vision can be in those times, and how hard it is to go through it all by yourself. The lyrics in the chorus are “All alone, you could never know much everybody needs you, how hard it is to see through” and to me that’s really the core meaning of the song. It’s to hopefully remind people or help people to realize that you don’t have to battle your demons alone, and that often times it’s extremely hard to even recognize them when you keep it all to yourself, in your own bubble. It’s a song from personal experience that I hope can help people who need it.
What would it be like to see you in person performing this song? 
I’m not sure I’d know how to describe it, but I can tell you Never Letting Go means a lot to me and I hope everyone, everywhere gets a chance to come experience it with me.
Could your fans summarize who you are as an artist by this song?
I think so. It provides the biggest window into who I am as a human being, and what matters most to me. It’s also definitely the best representation of what I truly want to do with my music as an artist and writer, and what to expect more of on my next album…
Is there a video planned and or completed and if so, what was the idea behind the video? 
There’s a lyric video you can watch online
Basically the idea was just to create a setting and mood that fit the song. It’s a somewhat dark, mysterious cityscape, but I like the mix of rain and sunlight, light and dark. It fits the idea of the song well.
One last question, what is your motivation behind your music?
Part of it is I’m addicted to music and couldn’t quit if I tried, and part of it is that it’s ridiculously fun and exciting. But I also really want to give something meaningful to people. I’m not interested in making music that hits millions of ears to be forgotten a year later. I want to use my art to spread ideas and create change, and to change people’s lives if I can. It’s not easy to do, but no matter what the journey is worth it.
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