Brisbane musician Jake Whittaker releases his debut E.P., “Hit The Ground Running” this month.

At the ripe age of 18, Jake Whittaker has established a name for himself in the music industry and his E.P. is the result of the hard work he has put in this year. He chats with us about the inspirations behind his music and the sites he’s set for the future.

How long have you been performing music for?

I began playing the guitar when I was about 11-years-old and then singing a little later.  My first public performance (other than school) was an open mic night at a local pub when I was 13-years-old.  I remember at the time it was pretty overwhelming, standing in front of a group of locals in the bar.

When did you realise you wanted to pursue a career in music?

It was definitely very early on.  I can’t really remember any defining moment; it’s just always been there.  I grew up surrounded by music in my home, it filled every aspect of our daily life.  Playing guitar and singing was a family pastime, so it just sort of evolved.  I never really entertained any other aspirations for my career.  (Oh, maybe except for being a professional rugby player!)

How would you describe your music style/genre?

To be honest it’s hard to completely define.  I guess my debut EP “Hit the Ground Running” is a collection of Pop/Rock with undertones of surf rock and lounge pop. But even since the EP’s recording I find my musical direction is constantly evolving. This is evident in my live performances, where you will find stirrings of soul and funk. I believe this is the direction my new work will eventually evolve to, as I love the intense grooves found in the sounds of the old 60’s soul and funk.

Are you excited for the launch of Hit the Ground Running?

SO excited! It’s been such a great time for me, maturing musically, as I worked through the processes of creating this debut EP.  The launch event, this Saturday night, is going to be a huge night, and I am so stoked to be joined on stage by my awesome backing band, The Sly Mavericks.  I am then touring with these guys throughout the month of November.  We are heading out to promote the EP, first stop being The Blues in the Barossa music festival in South Australia, then more venues around the south and east coast of Australia.  It’s going to be such a blast to share my songs with a wider audience.  I can’t wait!

What is your favourite song in the EP and why?

Wow, that’s a hard one!  I really have a strong connection with every song on the EP, for different reasons.  “Time Can Only Tell” is one I love to perform, it is probably one of the more emotionally intense songs, but at the same time, is a very simple song.  “I Hope You Know” is another favourite.  Between first writing the song, to now, it has evolved and changed. It has a cool groove that I love to play.  “Soul to Soul” is another one of my favs.  It’s a very lyrical song, with a great story.  But really all seven tracks are favourites, which is why I decided to include them on the EP.  I hope some will become favourites of my audience!

Why did you choose to follow this career path?

It’s something I have always loved.  Playing and creating music is something you can really get addicted to!  I find I am never alone or bored if I have music.  I can pick up the guitar and play a few tunes and entertain myself for hours.  I also love to entertain others; connecting with my audience is such a huge buzz for me.

Did you ever imagine you would have your very own EP so early in your musical career?

No!  Well not if you had asked me this before starting Uni.  But when I made a conscious and serious decision to make music my career, I knew that I would need to work hard and creating and recording this EP is just the beginning of many plans I have in mind.  I’m really happy that I have this first EP created and am able to introduce myself to listeners out there.

Who has been the greatest influence on your career?

There are so many.  I am very fortunate to have a lot of people around me who believe in me and my dreams, and support me along my way.  Musical inspirations and influences for me are varied.  I love the soulful sound of surf rockers like Jack Johnson and Donavon Frankenreiter, the amazing lyrics and vocals of John Mayer and Jason Mraz, and I also love the old time soul singers like Marvin Gaye, and Stevie Wonder.

Do you have any projects coming up in the near future?

My November tour is my next big project after the launch.  This will be such a cool way to share my music with a larger audience.  I have already begun work on my first full album and plan to release this in 2014.  I am excited about this new undertaking and hope to tour overseas to promote the album if it all comes together as planned.  I have to say though, that live performances are my greatest love.  I strongly believe in the qualities of live performance and my desire is for this generation to experience and embrace awesome LIVE original music.

Where do you hope to see yourself in the future?

Who knows what will eventuate, but my hopes and dreams are to one day have my music enjoyed by an international audience.  But to be honest, if I can continue to write, perform and share with my audience, I’m sure I will live a very happy life!

Hit the Ground Running will be available for download on iTunes and Jake’s site from 2 November 2013.