To hear Jake Walden tell it, the singer/songwriter spent the first half of his life as some-kind of Alex P. Keaton-style would-be capitalist, rebelling against his "very hippie" Northern California upbringing by making big plans to earn, as he says, "lots of money.”
"I was a child of the 1980's," he explains, laughing. "I was strong-willed and gregarious, and that was what I thought I wanted.” By his 17th birthday, drenched in youthful discovery and freshly home from a year abroad, he immersed himself in friendship, philosophy, music, the search for self, connection and relationships undefined...following in the footsteps of his parents journey.
Several years would pass. Los Angeles would attempt to consume another. SAG cards acquired, glimpses of possible meaning and fleeting creativity came and went as quickly as the T.V. and indie film sets they accompanied. But this path would end in a single night. "I lost somebody, in a way that shattered me. And one night I had a dream. A vivid, life changing image of who I was, of whom I had to be. I could see myself, clear and alive. I knew my meaning, if only for that moment." He hesitates to reveal any details; “I basically opened the windows of my apartment and sat with a hazy gaze in the midnight black and, for two years, with my bare feet sliding on the cold wood floor I curled over the piano and sang into an old microphone trying to make sense of everything.” Now, having just finished recording his debut album, Alive & Screaming, at Hollywood's Engine Room Studios, Jake says, with quiet confidence, "I think the world was conspiring for me to go in this direction."
Indeed Jake began performing in earnest only a couple years back, but his regular gigs at L.A.'s celebrated Hotel Café quickly became legendary among his legions of devoted fans. Jake displays an unusual interest in – and aptitude for – forging a meaningful connection with his audience. “I don’t just sit up there and sing,” he says. “I tell stories. I play my piano with every ounce of emotion that I possibly can.” Jake's soaring, melodic, heartfelt music, coupled with his distinctively emotive velvet gravel voice- which is aesthetically informed by a steady childhood diet of Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Cat Stevens, Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young – is both intensely personal and universal. " I want to be as raw and truthful as I can. When I'm playing a show, I try and engage myself fully with every person, as if it were just our time. If I haven't made half of the audience cry, not out of sadness, but out of hope, then I haven't done my job, or lived up to my dream. I am trying to inspire them to remember what it is they are seeking." He pauses and smiles with a look of heartache, “For hope is so easily swept away by the storms of our lives."