2015 CMT Music Awards: Jake Owen’s “Real Life” Comes to Life

Reflections on a Decade of Music

It’s been almost 10 years since Jake Owen released his debut single “Yee Haw.” And on Wednesday night (June 10), he’ll be performing his brand new single “Real Life” at the 2015 CMT Music Awards airing live from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

Here’s what Owen has learned in the past decade of making country music.

“I feel like I’m getting older, and wiser, and can look back on all the things that I’ve learned from,” Owen told me backstage after his Tuesday rehearsal. “After 10 years of doing this, I’ve built an identity. You can put a bunch of stuff behind you when you perform, but you have to stay true to who you are.”

Thanks to social media, Owen has been able to get a sense of his fans’ reaction to the high-energy, catchy new single.

“Everyone loves this song. My last single was about as country as you could get, and this is a step outside the box,” he said. “I’m at the point in my life where I need to make music that I enjoy making. I’ve got to sing these songs for the rest of my life. I’ve got to go out and perform these songs every night.”

“At the end of the day,” Owen added, “I think I’m pretty good at knowing what my audience loves.”

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.