"It doesn't feel any different," Jake tells the Boot. "I do think about things I've never thought of before. When you're 22 and 23 you don't think about where you want to settle down. I was just, 'Tell me where to go and where to be and I'll be there.' Now I'm starting more and more to tell my management people, 'Today's my day. I'm not doing this today.' I'm not trying to be a jerk when I say that, because I'm by no means anywhere in my life and career where I can make the kind of decisions that say, 'Well I'm gonna do this and forget what anyone else thinks.' You obviously have to have a business sense in mind. But I just think about my life more, and how to be happy, and how to wake up one day 20 years from now and be proud of the things I've done, as opposed to looking back and going, 'Wow that was a whirlwind.' Because the first few years of my career were a whirlwind. "
Although those first years were a blur, Jake admits they helped him gain wisdom, which will come in handy as he tackles the next decade of his life and career. He also feels a little more settled into who he is now than he did as a wild and eager 20-year-old with something to prove.
"I definitely feel like the business has aged me in good ways; I've learned a lot. I'm coming to know myself more, and I'm OK with who I am now. Whereas look at any artist -- look at Kenny Chesney back in the day before he cut his sleeves off and became Mr. Beach Guy. He was finding his identity too, and I think it takes time to find your way and find who it is that you are and what you do. More importantly, I'm just really happy with where I am right now. I'm very content with the way things are going. When you first get a record deal and you're putting your music out there, you just hope that people are going to buy into it. You hope that people aren't looking at you like you're just the new guy in town who got a record deal, who has just a little bit of hype on right now, and once that goes away what else is left? Hype only lasts for so long. But I feel very, very happy that some of the songwriters and folks around town seem to be pulling for me with this record."
'Barefoot Blue Jean Night' is in stores and at digital retailers now. For Jake's upcoming tour dates, check here.