Taylor Hill, WireImage
"When people come up to me and say, 'Man, that song you wrote' -- whatever song it is -- 'is the story of my life,' it just puts a smile on my face," Jake admits. "When I sit down to write a song, I don't ever write it thinking, 'Okay, this so-and-so is going to walk up to me and tell me that.' I just write it because I think it feels good to me. When I get that compliment, it really makes me feel like I'm just like everybody else. I live the same things, feel the same feelings, I get excited and happy about a lot of the same things that other people do, and it's just nice to feel like just another one of the crowd."
The singer-songwriter acknowledges that you can start to feel disconnected in his line of work. "Sometimes this business tends to make you feel like you're somehow a little different than someone else, and I've never felt any different than anyone," he continues. "I'm just the guy with the guitar and the microphone singing. Otherwise, if I didn't have that, I'd be out in the crowd, too, drinking beer."
Another thing that keeps the singer grounded is the impending birth of his first child, a girl whom Jake and his wife plan on naming Pearl. "I'll definitely be the guy that babies his little girl," says the country star. "You only grow up once, and I want my little girl to look back and think how great a dad I was."
Luckily, the performer has two "great" mentors to help him with the adjustment: his own father, as well as his wife Lacey's dad.
"When I first met her father, I was a bit intimidated by him," the singer reveals. "I wanted him to be more friendly to me and buddy-buddy, and he was trying to prove a point: 'I'm not your buddy. I'm the father of this girl you're about to marry. I need to know that you're gonna respect her, love her and take care of her the way that I have loved her and taken care of her, her entire life.' Once I understood where he was coming from, and he understood where I was coming from, we hit it off. He has become one of the great, great additions to my life that I really needed. He does a lot of things different than my dad. I have two dads now. I have my father, and I have my father-in-law. And I get to learn from both of them in order for me to be the best father I can be."
Pearl is expected to make her debut any day now.