While most people pursue college to start their career, Jake McMullen began his career to get into college. The 17-year-old folk guitarist from Yorba Linda recorded his first EP, Wonder to
send to colleges as a demo. With the help of local producer Barrett
Slagle, a friend since childhood, McMullen went into the studio at
ArtiSans Label in late summer.
McMullen is no stranger to the recording process. He has his own studio in his garage, and he often records bands there. However, he did say that recording in a professional studio was a learning experience, and attributes some of the EP's success to Slagle. “I knew what I wanted to get out and I couldn't, but he helped be find the right feel or chords that I couldn't find,” McMullen said.
Wonder is named after a journal of the same name that McMullen has. “When I was writing songs and I knew I wanted to record them, I took a journal,” he said. He wrote about things he encountered in daily life through observations and poems. “We wonder about love, death, and life,” he said. Some of the wonderings found their way into his songs. “Once I started to write, I took ideas out of the journal and made songs,” he said.
“I'm very proud if it,” McMullen said. “It's music that means something to me.” He said that he thinks his music reaches across the age spectrum and is meaningful to others as well.
His age has not been an obstacle in his career at all. When he was recording he said the people at artisan treated him like a musician, not a high schooler. “I didn't think they felt, 'oh, this kid's 17, he doesn't know what he's doing.” He also said his band mates, who are all older than him, have been nothing but supportive. “At first, I was nervous. What are they going to think of me? But they've been uplifting. We gel well together.”
The EP will be released Friday at the Yost Theatre
in Santa Ana. This will be McMullen's first show with his solo project. He formerly played with The Earth Says Hello and has played at the Yost before with them, as well as the House of Blues Anaheim and Chain Reaction. Though he said he is excited about sharing his music, he's not nervous about the show.
“It doesn't matter how people react,” he said. “If I can relate to just one person in the audience, then that's what I was supposed to do that night.”
The Wonder EP did pay off–he was accepted to Belmont University in Nashville, but he's still shopping around for a school. Wherever he goes, he plans on studying commercial music and continuing to pursue his solo project by playing shows through college. “After, my plan is to do whatever I can to stay in the music business.”
Before he goes to college next fall, McMullen plans on recording a full-length album and play more shows.
Wonder's release party will be held at the Yost Theater in Santa Ana on Friday. Hindu PiratesElectronicmeat will also play. Tickets are $10 and the show starts at 8 p.m. All ages. and
When not running the OCWeekly.com and OC Weekly’s social media sites, Taylor “Hellcat” Hamby can be found partying like it’s 1899.