Jake Owen introduced himself to country audiences way back in 2006 with the rowdy “Yee Haw” and the introspective “Startin’ With Me.” Since then, he has paved his own way in country music with six albums and many hit singles. Owen is a fairly open artist, often sharing details of his life on social media and in his music. Although the singer has been around for a long time, there still may be things fans don’t know about him. Here are 10 things you may not know about Jake Owen.
- His name isn’t Jake.
Like many people in the entertainment industry, Jake Owen’s first name “Jake” is just a stage name. His real name is Joshua Ryan Owen, but he changed it to Jake at the beginning of his career at the suggestion of his label, RCA Nashville. The label suggested the change so Owen wouldn’t be confused for two other artists, Josh Turner and Josh Gracin. Of course, if Jake had kept his original name, it wouldn’t be the only repetitive name in the genre, as there are now multiple artists named Chris, Luke, Morgan, Tenille and more on the radio waves.
2. He has a twin brother.
Owen was born in Winter Haven, Florida and grew up with his twin brother, Jerrod. While the two do look somewhat alike, they are fraternal, not identical, so you likely won’t confuse Owen’s brother for the singer if you see him out in public.
3. He wanted to be a professional golfer.
Although Owen has had a successful career in country music, being a country star wasn’t his first dream. Instead, Owen dreamed of being a professional golfer. Owen played golf growing up in Florida, and he won his first tournament at age 15. He was pursuing golf as a career until an unfortunate event put a stop to his dream.
4. He suffered a serious injury.
The unfortunate event that put a stop to Owen’s golfing career was a wakeboarding accident that occurred when he was young. The accident was serious and required Owen to have reconstructive surgery. After his injury, Owen experienced depression, so he borrowed a friend’s guitar to pass the time. He soon taught himself to play and began performing at local venues. This is when his new dream of being a singer was born.
5. He almost got a cut with a major artist early in his career.
Once Owen decided to pursue a career in country music, he moved to Nashville, Tennessee to make it happen. He began making contacts — the first of which came through a teller at his bank — and eventually he met songwriter Jimmy Ritchey. The two wrote a song called “Ghosts,” which they pitched to country superstar Kenny Chesney. While Chesney passed on the song, the two singers are now good friends. Owen posted a photo of his daughter Pearl and Chesney in December, referring to the singer as “Uncle Kenny.”
6. He had worries about his early music.
Owen’s early singles such as “Yee Haw” and “8 Second Ride” were undeniably country. But even so, the singer once worried that he didn’t have enough country cred.
“I used to always worry, ‘Was I was country enough?’ Because I come from Florida,” he told Rolling Stone. “And I didn’t want to let too much of my Florida roots come through, because what if it makes me lose my record deal?”
Over the years, Owen has let more of his Florida roots shine, and the country music community has still welcomed him with open arms.
7. He had a heated exchanged with a famous golfer.
Although Jake Owen didn’t end up becoming a professional golfer, he still golfs quite a bit and has befriended famous golfers. In 2019, Jake Owen paid $29.99 to watch a match between Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, and after neither golfer played a good game, he was frustrated about spending money on the game. The next day, Mickelson and Owen both happened to be at Jordan Spieth’s wedding, where Owen confronted Mickelson and asked for his money back. The golfer reportedly pulled $100 out of his pocket and told Owen to “f— yourself!’” Barstool Sports posted an interview with Owen where the singer told the story, and Mickelson responded to the tweet of the interview, writing “True story,” with a smiley face.
8. He has an important tattoo.
Owen has as tattoo on his forearm of a feather, and while it is an interesting design, Owen got the tattoo for a bigger reason. The ink is meant to honor Owen’s Native American ancestry as well as his individuality.
“I’ve floated to my own tempo and wherever it takes me,” he told Taste of Country. “It’s a symbol of peace and individuality and spirituality, and in my whole life in general I’ve always floated around in a way.”
9. He’s a proud “girl dad.”
Jake Owen is not just a country music star, but he’s also a dad to two girls. Owen had his first daughter, Pearl, with his first wife Lacey Buchanan on November 22, 2012. Owen is now engaged to Erica Hartlein and the couple welcomed their daughter, Paris Hartley Owen, on April 29, 2019.
10. He gives back.
Jake Owen always makes sure to give back to charity, and he often does this through his charitable foundation, the Jake Owen Foundation. The foundation seeks to help people “in the places they call home.” The foundation has been a longtime supporter of St. Jude Children’s hospital as well as organizations in Owen’s home state of Florida and more.