Every now and again country music reinvents itself, taking the roots of the past and planting them in new, fertile soil. It’s an approach that Jacob Davis, one of the genre’s fastest-rising sensations, takes to heart, melding the soul of his hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana and a childhood soaking in everything from John Prine to bayou blues with the spirit of a new Nashville ready to morph, change and groove. With a debut single, “What I Wanna Be,” that shows just how seamlessly he blends his lyrical chops with an unmistakable knack for melody, Davis is ready to make his audiences think, smile and, most importantly, dance.
Black River Entertainment’s newest artist, Davis is a rare talent with a keen grasp on all angles of the musical spectrum, melding a unique songwriting pen with a desire to make his own authentic incarnation of modern country music. Touching on everything from James Brown to Garth Brooks, his point of view – smooth, catchy, even funky at times – is clear across “What I Wanna Be.” Honed from time on the road supporting some of country music’s biggest stars, it’s an electric track with hints of R&B (written with Forest Glen Whitehead and Adam Hambrick) that shows both Davis’ sensitivity and ability to conjure a sensual, soulful palate that’s rare yet completely of the moment. And who knew a plate of pancakes could be so sexy?
“The song is about more than just the regular pick up line,” says Davis. “I wanted to go deeper than that, to class it up and see what happens. So much of country music is what a guy would say to a girl – this is what he ought to.”
Davis’ love for songs began during his teenage years in Shreveport, where the spirit of the state’s musical legacy is almost impossible to escape. “I know it’s a cliché to feel like music is in your blood,” he says, “but it’s in mine.” Indeed, writing and performing felt natural to a young Davis, who grew up with a musical father who taught him how to play the guitar – the “three chords and the truth,” as he puts it – and a mother who could often be found at the piano. Davis’ father loved the art of songwriting itself, and schooled his son on the how words form lyrics and lyrics make poetry; studying everyone from James Taylor to Jim Croce.
As time went on, Davis kept absorbing music, testing out his lyrical and performance chops during his junior year of college. He mustered up a few songs and took them to an open mic night at a local bar called Sangria – and they went over so well the owner had him stick around far longer than the three-song cap. The success of that one evening lead to a summer-long gig where he tirelessly honed his stage skills and love of live performance.
His time away at college – Louisiana State University, with a focus on environmental science – also led to his development as a songwriter. He was only eighteen when he recognized the catharsis that came from crafting a song, after being inspired to write by the pain and tumult of his parent’s divorce. That experience unlocked, for him, the doors of how music is made, and he discovered that he could combine strong, sensitive songwriting with the energy of performers like Brooks and Brown and come out with something both intelligent and downright fun. “If I can infuse that energy on stage with strong lyrics, you can’t lose,” he says.
After graduating, Davis resisted the urge to move straight to Nashville, working for an oil and gas company for a spin, but the pull of country music’s capitol was too strong to deny. Not long after his journey to Tennessee he snagged a publishing deal and, four years later, was signed to Black River Entertainment. “I was pretty much sold from the second I walked in there,” he recalls. “Just the energy of the building, it felt like home.” Like labelmate Kelsea Ballerini (who Davis not only names as a source of inspiration but a close friend), he offers a new spin on a genre that is irresistible, and takes his fans to a soulful, funky place that is both completely heartfelt and genuine, as Tennessee as it is Motown – with a born-on-the-bayou point of view.
“These songs are all me, in a three-minute story,” says Davis. “There’s not one that doesn’t
make me happy. After all, I just want to get people shaking it.”
Those who have caught him on the road with Sam Hunt, Kelsea Ballerini, Lady Antebellum or Hunter Hayes have seen how he seizes the stage and turns it into a full-on party, blanketing the crowd with his electric personality and love of making people dance. He’s sought to capture that energy on songs like “What I Wanna Be,” and it will be even more apparent across his forthcoming debut EP, produced by Forest Glen Whitehead. It’s a sound set to appeal to anyone who loves the southern charm of country and the soul of Justin Timberlake, with Davis’ own unforgettable groove.
Davis may seek to be “second to none” to the girl that stole his heart on “What I Wanna Be,” but it doesn’t just stop there. He blends a keen lyrical style, love of southern soul and appreciation for country’s diverse offerings into something thrilling, new and – yes – second to none.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Black River Entertainment’s Jacob Davis achieved a career dream Friday night as he made his debut on the most revered stage in country music, The Grand Ole…Read More