“It’s the only thing that makes sense in the world,” says Jake McMullen about music; the quiet and contemplative singer/songwriter began his musical journey at the age of 10, but at 19, began to take seriously the idea of making it his life’s pursuit. “Before that, I never realized what it could do,” he adds. “And what I could do.”

Born and raised in Southern California, McMullen grew up an athlete and went to a small college in Illinois to play baseball; however, when it became time to make a choice between music and the Great American Pastime,  he chose music, and moved to Los Angeles. “Living in L.A. was a weird time for me; I was doing a lot of stupid stuff,” he admits. “I didn’t know who I was then. Everyone is in their own self-absorbed bubble, it wasn’t the best place for me as a 19 year old kid living on my own. I wrote music and went to school, but I didn’t really talk to many people,” he continues. “It was really lonely.”

Three years ago, McMullen decided to relocate to Nashville to be near friends and to gain new perspective. “As a place, Nashville is still figuring itself out because it’s growing so rapidly. I love the people here. Playing shows here can be tough though, it seems like people aren’t quick to get into the pool until everyone else says it’s cool,” he laughs. “You get analyzed a lot as an artist, but that’s not just Nashville though. Streaming culture has caused people not to listen to whole albums anymore, really. People are interested in the next big thing, the flavor of the month, they want more and now. I’m guilty of it too, going to a show and crossing my arms and being like, ‘Ok, what have you got?’ I consciously try to get into what I’m listening to,” he continues. “I want to put on shows an encourage people to enjoy the music and the purpose of music, and to try to get something out of it.”

McMullen recently released Giving Up, a mostly synth-infused poptastic four-song EP housing three originals and a funky cover of Robyn’s “Dancing On My Own.” “I make music that sounds good to me in the moment, it’s not very premeditated,” he says. “Before the EP, I bought some synthesizers and started letting more sounds in. I was listening to 80s songwriters like Bruce Hornsby and Lionel Richie, and that’s what came out in my writing.” McMullen worked with producer and friend Micah Tawlks, along with Dabney Morris, and Kevin Dailey on Giving Up, which features backing vocals from the angelic-voiced Molly Parden. “We recorded in the dead of winter in Micah’s basement studio, and it was stupid cold down there,” he laughs. “You can hear the space heater clicking on and off in the songs.”

Currently working on a full-length album, McMullen is in his element, and shows no signs of stopping. “Music is this intangible thing, but it communicates things that no one can really convey, or that most people are afraid to convey—loneliness, regret, the spectrum of human emotions,” he says. “I know what music does for me, and the fun is learning what it does for others. It can make you feel so many things,” he adds. “At the risk of sounding like a Hallmark card, it can change the world.”

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