About a month ago, a Jake Owen fan posted on Instagram detailing all the reasons why he loved his music. It makes the hard days easier, he said, and the beers go down easier. And so on and so on.
And Owen told me posts like that give him the validation we all seek.
“I’m like anyone. All of us — artists included — are all affected by what people say about us,” Owen said when we caught up at his Life’s Whatcha Make It tour stop at the Naperville Ribfest outside of Chicago. “And in a world of social media, we can connect with our fans and see what they’re saying. So when we play a show, and then we walk off stage and read Twitter, we want to know what people are saying.”
The comments aren’t always positive, but it’s the positive ones that Owen likes to focus on.
“When Todd [Wages] wrote about what he liked, that was so flattering. And when I’m flattered, I say thanks,” he said. “He may not realize that we are all just looking for validation. Some artists may be too cool to tell you that.”
Owen’s way of saying thanks to Wages was to screenshot the original post, and then pour his heart out in a 269-word caption when he shared it with his own 980,000 followers.
Hey @todd_wages … I hope I can express to you how much your comment means to me. One of these days I hope I can drink some of those beers, at one of those cookouts you speak of. All I’ve ever wanted to do is just make people happy. Trust me, I’ve made people unhappy, and to be honest I’ve been unhappy before. I’ve chalked that up to being a human and living life. Learning from life. I’ve never had an absolute understanding as to why I am able to sings songs and travel around this beautiful country. I’ve chalked that up to God’s plan. Even still, It’s never made perfect sense to me. There are days when I wonder to myself if I’m doing enough. Am I working hard enough? Am I good Father? Am I a good friend? I do the self constructive criticism thing I think a lot of us do… then there are moments when someone gives you an incredible compliment.. like you just did Todd. I almost feel like you reached out and hugged me through this Insta message. I needed that! Todd you are always welcome at any show of mine. It’s people like you that make everything I do feel so surreal. So fulfilling. You say that I make your day a little better?!?! Buddy, you and so many others out there are the ones making my day better as well! Thanks for being so kind and taking the time to give me a compliment. I think if everyone gave someone a compliment each day, the world would be a happier place.
“But the reason we all got into this,” he said, “the reason we all want to walk out on stage and sing songs and hear people clap is that we want to know that people are appreciating what we’re doing.
“We’re all kind of like puppies. We just need to be patted on the head and told that we’re loved.”
By the end of Owen’s show on Friday night (July 7), I’m guessing he felt that love from the more than 12,000 people there to validate him in real life.