Bayfront Country Jam was officially back this year and it was a ton of fun! The lineup was amazing, especially opener Jake Rose.

I had the chance to talk to him for a few minutes before his set and learned that the show was a full circle moment for him. He is from Minnesota, born and raised, and now lives in Nashville writing and performing country music.

We caught up again recently so I could ask him more questions about being from a pumpkin farm in Minnesota, how he got to Nashville and all of the big artists he has written for and now calls a friend.

If you missed the interview, which aired on The Breakfast Club, you can read it in full below.

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I was really excited when you were at Bayfront Country Jam to learn that you are from Minnesota and I was doing some research. You are from a pumpkin farm in Minnesota. Am I right about that?

That is correct. Yup, Pumpkins-R-Us. [laughs]

That is very Minnesotan. So as somebody from Minnesota, how did you make it to Nashville? How did you get to that point?

Well, I started off, I had a rock band in Minneapolis called New Medicine. I was writing songs for my band and we ended up getting a record deal and the first place they sent me to make my record was Nashville. I grew up, like you said, I grew up on a pumpkin farm and so listening to Lynyrd Skynyrd and country was just kind of all I ever knew. I remember when I first started turning songs into my record label, they said "man, this kind of sounds country" and that's kind of what got me to Nashville. Once I got here, I was like, this is where I want to be. I didn't realize there were so many songwriters here and so many artists and you know, the whole country music scene was kind of changing. It was like Florida Georgia Line was all of a sudden blowing up and I thought "wow, these guys have rocking songs" and kind of the best of both worlds - kind of rock and country so that's kind of how I got here. I think it was about eight or nine years ago now.

Well speaking of Florida Georgia Line, they are humongous artists in the country music world. You've written songs for them, for Brian Kelley, for Jimmie Allen. How do you get to the point where you are writing songs in Nashville for some of the biggest country music acts that there is?

It is hard to say my exact path. I guess, it's just been, writing probably thousands of songs, honestly. It is hard, when you are in it, you don't know if it is ever gonna happen but then all of a sudden little stepping stones start happening and it's just kind of believing. I remember watching Florida Georgia Line. Actually, it was in Minnesota. I was at Target Field down in Minneapolis. I had known some people in their camp at their publishing company but it was kind of like, "hey, can I write with those guys?" and it was like "well, not yet, you're not quite there yet" and I remember watching them at Target Field playing the stadium and thinking man, I would love to write a song with these guys. I swear it was like a few months later, I got a call one day that said Brian Kelley wants you to come over to his house and write. "He heard something that you wrote" and it kind of started there and the rest is kind of history. Then something like a Jimmie Allen song, that's just like, once in awhile you get lucky. Somebody from my publishing company sent it to him and he loved it. I would say 999 out of 1,000 times those songs don't get recorded but that one came through. It is a little bit of luck and a lot of hard work and determination and never giving up.

So that is obviously a huge full circle moment to see Florida Georgia Line then Brian Kelley calls you up. Do you remember what it felt like when you got that call. What does that feel like? That is the Nashville dream. 

It is totally the Nashville dream. It was really crazy too because it is a small world. My publisher from Sony, I am signed to Sony, he is from Minnesota too. It's so funny. He called me and said "dude, we are gonna cancel your day tomorrow; Brian Kelley wants to write with you tomorrow." It was all of a sudden like, woah, I didn't have time to prepare. It was just like, you're going there tomorrow. I remember going to his house and I forgot one thing, my charger or something for my computer and I was freaking out. I'm like, oh no, because I write my lyrics on there. I had ideas saved on there. Then I got there and he was like "dude, don't worry about it. We will get my assistant to go get one and just chill man. We're great. Let's have some beers!" All of a sudden we were fast friends and I got to become friends with Brian. Now we work together all the time.

So you formed a friendship with Brian Kelley and you're actually part of his latest album Sunshine State Of Mind, his solo album which has a lot of people talking. What was that like?

Yeah, I wrote five songs on there and produced Beach Cowboy as well. It was just a blast. We actually have already started working on more music, we've been writing. I don't know when it's gonna come out but we've written a bunch more songs too, some more, he is going to do another project. It has been great too going down to his house in Grayton Beach and we kind of lived out the songs as we wrote them. We got to just hang on the beach, we drank beer. If we were bored we would go on a bike ride or do whatever. We just got to write right at his house. We wrote at his pool house. We wrote on the beach. We wrote on his boat. It was just so fun.

You are an artist yourself. You've opened for some big names. What is he difference between writing for a big artist and then opening for one?

I always say there is two sides to the business for me. Writing is one. I really need to have that creative outlet but playing songs live is when the songs come to life. Being an artist myself, I write songs that I just think no one else can tell this story but me. I am very careful about what songs I give away and which songs I keep for myself. My songs like Sleeves and Tractor Town, those are songs that are real stories of mine. I have a song called Family. I have a song called Kinda I just put out that I wrote by myself. I remember being with BK and he said "are you gonna use this song? It was kind of like, are you willing to give this song up?" I was like "no, I think this one is for me." I would say playing live is just the other end of the passion for me, seeing the songs come to life. Opening up for your favorite acts is killer and it is so fun to kind of know a lot of them now because I get to hang out with a lot of them backstage or write songs with them so it is fun to be able to watch them and be inspired by what they are doing and then take that and put it in my live show.

Like you said, you have music of your own. I want to talk about Bayfront Country Jam now. I learned at that show you were from Minnesota. Were you nervous to come back to your home state and perform in front of all of these people you grew up with?

Yeah, it always adds a layer of pressure. I mean, before I was supposed to go on stage, it was like "hey, your brother is not in the VIP section. He is stuck outside with the gate." I had to run and give him a ticket. I had fans there. There was this whole group of people on the left side of the stage that had signs up and stuff for me. I was like "wow, this is awesome" and it just felt great after the last year and a half to just be back on stage playing music. It was really cool and it just felt great to be back out.

I speak for all of us when I say you make Minnesota very proud. Where can we find you over the next year? What is in the cards now that the pandemic is getting better and you can actually go out on tour?

I'm going to be putting out a bunch of new music. I have an EP of my own that is coming out with a bunch of new songs on it. I'm going to be going on tour. I can't say exactly with who or when but there's a lot of stuff I am cooking up. I am definitely going to be out there! I am hoping to come back to Minnesota before the end of the year, maybe before Christmas. But I got big plans for this year and next year so I am hoping to get back up there to Duluth.

You can keep up with all things Jake Rose on social media, including on his official Twitter account and his official Instagram account. I can't wait to see what he has up his sleeve for the next year!

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