Jake Miller on ‘First Flight Home,’ What He’s Working on
Jake Miller was all smiles when he stopped by the PopCrush office this week.
The singer had every reason to be excited. He was gearing up for the debut of his 'First Flight Home' music video, was clocking serious hours in the recording studio working on his upcoming project and couldn't be more excited to share it all with his fans.
Before Jake answered fan questions via the PopCrush Twitter, we asked him a few of our own. Check out what he had to say about the 'First Flight Home' video, how his Millertary fanbase inspires him -- and one surprising thing people don't know about him!
The ‘First Flight Home’ video drops this week. What can you tell us about the concept behind the video?
Actually, when I was writing the song in L.A., I had the music video in mind while I was writing it, so that kind of helped me write it. When I was writing it, that’s when I was envisioning what the music video would be about, so when the director Eric White came to me with his treatment that he thought would be best, it was exactly what I was thinking. It doesn’t only capture my story coming home to the one that I love, but other people’s stories. It shows someone in the Army, which is cool because of my Millertary fanbase. It shows someone in the Army coming back to their family, it shows someone in college coming back to their family. It just shows a lot of different people’s stories of their reunitements. It’s very relatable, and it’s going to be very cool. I can’t wait for everyone to see it.
Is that something that happens to you a lot, where you’re writing a song and you can visualize the music video?
Yeah, the writing process is always different. Sometimes just like that. I remember when I wrote the bridge of the song, it’s basically about pulling up to a driveway, I see you running down the stairs. I literally thought of those lyrics because I saw the music video in my head. When it comes to me like that, it makes the songwriting part very easy and even more emotional because I see it. And it was cool to sit there and watch the actors play out what I thought, what happened in my head. It was pretty spot-on.
Listening to your music, each song tells such a strong story. Is there anybody who really inspires you to have that kind of narrative songwriting style?
I think when I put out my first kind of deep, inspirational song called ‘A Million Lives’ two years ago, I started getting the most inspirational and crazy feedback from my fans. The song is basically modeled after fan mail, so the first verse in the song is about a girl who has cancer and my music helps her get through it. The second verse is about a kid who gets bullied and he kind of tunes out the haters by listening to my music. The third verse is about a girl who lost her brother, who always used to listen to my music with her brother. Listening to my music makes it feel like he’s back, so these are all the different fan letters that I actually have received and I receive them even more now that I started writing that song and putting it out.
I have one called ‘Like Me’ that’s anti-bullying. I have a suicide awareness song called ‘Steven.’ Every single time I have a show or something like that, people pull me aside at meet and greets and say “Your song ... really helped me and got me through this tough time.” That’s awesome.
Is there one specific fan interaction that really stuck with you?
I mean, whenever people say what I just said, “You’ve saved my life” or “You’ve helped me stop cutting myself” or stuff like that, that’s just mind-blowing to me, that me and my music can make a difference like that. It’s really cool to put yourself out there and be “famous,” but to be able to make that kind of difference is 10 times more important. Sometimes fans come up to me with my lyrics tattooed on them which I think is just awesome.
You’ve mentioned that you’re in the studio. Are you working on anything you can talk about?
I just signed with Warner Bros. in December of last year, so ever since then we’ve just been in the studio, working like crazy with all of these difference writers and producers. I made over 50 songs in the last few months. ‘First Flight Home’ is the new single, obviously, off of the upcoming project. We don’t really know if it’s going to be an EP or an album that comes next, but all I know is I’m very proud of the new music and really excited for everyone to hear the transformation from my old music.
Watch Jake Miller Perform 'First Flight Home' (Acoustic)
Can you give any hint about the new sound?
I’m doing a lot of yodeling now … Nah, I’m just joking. It’s a more mature sound. I’m singing a lot more. I still rap, but I’m singing a lot more. Just being in with so many people, writers and producers, they’ve kind of pushed my limits and taught me new things. We’ve used instruments that I’ve never used in my old music, like horns or ukuleles, stuff like that. It’s just a very cool transformation. It’s a grownup version of my old music.
What’s the vibe of the studio when you’re recording?
You really have to be into it when you’re in the studio. It’s like an art, I always say. When you start to feel like it’s homework, then you have to leave the studio. It’s not something you can force. It has to just feel natural. If I’m tired of something late at night, you’ve just got to leave the studio, take a trip to the local convenience store or something. Just get your mind off of it because sometimes you’re just really feeling it, sometimes not. Sometimes we’ll be in the studio for 10 hours and come up with nothing. Another day we’ll be in there for one hour and come up with a whole song. It really just depends on the vibe in the room, who I’m working with, if I work well with them, what I’m feeling that day.
Is there anything you have to have in the studio to set the mood?
Not really, no. I always order Subway to my sessions to give me some brain fuel when I’m a little stuck.
You’re music’s really positive, and you have a really positive attitude. How do you pick yourself up when you’re having a bad day?
The fans are actually – whenever I tweet something like “I’m a little sad” or “I wish I was doing this” – they’re always there to bring me back up. I’m surrounded by a great group of people. The people I tour with, the people I travel with, my friends and family. I just have a really great support group, and so I think that’s definitely helpful, to have people who are just always in your corner. I always count my blessings and know what’s important and look around sometimes and stop and smell the roses and that gets me back on track.
Is there one thing that your fans don’t know about you that would surprise them?
I do these things called “Random Jake Miller Facts,” like #JakeMillerFacts so often, that they know everything about me at this point. I mean, I’ve told them all the little things, from I can solve a Rubik’s Cube to I’ve memorized the first 100 digits of pi. If I had to think of something right now that I’ve never told them … OK, when I was born, my family already had a dog. They named it Nicky. They were going to name me Nick, but my grandpa didn’t like that name, so instead, they named my dog Nicky and gave me the name Jake. So it was either Nicky or Jake for the dog or me, so I could have been a Nick.
Watch Jake Miller's 'First Flight Home' Official Music Video