Growing up in Kansas, Jake Gill has fond memories of spending time with his grandfather on the family farm. Listening to music was a huge part of that upbringing – particularly on 1070 AM, the legendary frequency of radio powerhouse KFDI.
“My grandpa was the one that really exposed me to country music,” Gill recalls. “I remember when I was a sixth grader, and he would let me drive the tractor around the farm. We’d hear all the old-time greats like Hank and Willie.”
But, music had already taken a hold in Gill’s imagination long before that. “My dad was a music teacher when I was young. I have photos of me in a bean bag chair while listening to whatever he had playing on the record player. My mom tells the story of my dad directing a band concert, and I was standing on her lap directing right along.”
Later in his formative musical years came a man who would become one of his biggest musical influences – Garth Brooks. Gill says that changed everything. “Garth was on the edge. There was a bit of controversy with him, because he was so new and so different. He brought the honky tonk bar scene to a larger audience. That was something I had never seen before. He wasn’t just a singer, he was and is a performer.”
Gill brings that raw energy and charisma to his brand new single, “Tailgate Tradition.” Connecting with both radio listeners and fans that come to see him in concert is important to him – regardless of what era or walk of life they come from.
“You can connect with someone and not even know it. It might be through one of your songs, and they may relate to it in a way you never imagined. I like to make a physical connection, through eye contact or pulling them out of the audience and sharing a dance with them – whether it be an 80 year old or a 2-year old. I think that’s what really drives me as a performer.”
Though Gill admits there is no place he would rather be today, his road to a musical career began relatively later than most. He focused on studies in college, obtaining his degree, and establishing his own chiropractic office in Hutchinson, Kansas. Jake had done some performing around the area – namely at local Churches – but it wasn’t until his early 30s that he considered giving music his all as a career.
Then, an audition for one of America’s biggest television shows cemented his career goals. He recalls that he was still a little unsure of music as a vocation, but trying out for “The Voice” gave him clear focus on his music. “After that, I started to think ‘You know what? I can do this.”
Hard at work on his debut album, Gill had a hand in either writing or co-writing every song on his debut album. He says that as a songwriter, he loves telling a story – especially if it is his. “I like to write from experience – something I have lived through myself.
As a performer, Gill qualifies as a “road warrior,” with a full slate of dates on his schedule. He has also worked the stage with such musical heavyweights as Jake Owen, Easton Corbin, and Chris Cagle. But, there’s one performer and stage that stands head and shoulders above them all.
“I won a songwriting contest, and that got me on the main stage at Country Stampede, and I opened up for Jason Aldean,” he recalls, claiming that night made him more confident than ever in his approach to entertaining a crowd. “By far, that was my greatest experience musically. It was very surreal. I still remember being up there in front of 50,000 people, and I wasn’t nervous,” he recalls with a smile.
Make no mistake about it, Jake Gill is doing what he is meant to do, and he’s going to take it as far as he can. “People tell me sometimes that I must be running with the angels, because everything seems to just work out. A lot of that is true. I think I am doing what God wants me to do. I also know that I work really hard. I’m a believer in hard work. I think it pays off.”