The musical influences that sound tracked Jacob Davis’ upbringing in Shreveport, Louisiana are essential to the creation of his sound. With his debut single “What I Wanna Be” going to country radio this spring, Davis is coming out with a fresh sound, and a road-tested live show having already opened for artists including Lady Antebellum, Hunter Hayes, Sam Hunt, Billy Currington, and Kelsea Ballerini.
Written by Davis with producer/songwriter Forest Glen Whitehead and Adam Hambrick, “What I Wanna Be” is a song that calls out the mundane dating expectations like, “I know what you’re thinking, here comes another pick up line you’ll shoot down…” and gives an enticing look into a romantic future, “Wanna wake in the morning and feel that sunshine on your face. When I lay a kiss on you and put some pancakes on your plate.”
The “feel good” vibe found throughout “What I Wanna Be” comes naturally. “Music has always been a part of my life,” said Davis. “One of my favorite live music memories growing up was attending Jazzfest in New Orleans and seeing John Prine with my Dad and brother.”
It was his father that influenced Davis’ love for lyrics which rooted into his character, a passion for songwriting.
“I remember my Dad playing John Prine and me being in the back seat of his truck,” recalled Davis. “I leaned up front and asked, ‘what does that line mean, Dad?’ He would just laugh and say, ‘listen to the lyrics, son! Every song is telling you a story, just listen!’ I probably drove him crazy, but I started listening.”
Other musical influences in Davis’ early years came from life at home. “Around the house, we’d listen to songwriting legends like Otis Redding, James Taylor and the 90s Country greats including Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw, and Alan Jackson.”
On Sundays, the Davis family sought inspiration outside of the home and in front of the pulpit. “My mom played the piano at church, and it was there that I had my first public performance.” Davis laughs. “I think I was 5 and my brother and I sat on either side of my mom at the piano, it was cool.”
It wasn’t until Davis’ college years at LSU that he, to his surprise, had his first solo performance and took up songwriting.
“My first performance was an open mic night at a bar in Baton Rouge. I remember nervously waiting to go on stage and seeing more and more of my buddies walk through the door,” said Davis. “I was only supposed to play three songs that night, but the bar owner told me to keep playing. I don’t know if he thought I was any good…or just saw that I brought in a crowd, but I didn’t ask questions, I just kept playing.”
After graduating with an Environmental Science degree and spending a year working for an oil company, Davis decided it was time to create new future for himself in Nashville.
“I knew with everything in me that it was what I had to do,” said Davis “And there was no fighting it.”
His decision paid off quickly after catching the attention of a passionate advocate at ASCAP, and he ended up signing his first publishing deal within six months of moving to Music City.