Most of us have grown up with the mindset that you go to school to get an education, graduate and then begin your career. But, as no stranger to going off the beaten path, musician Jace Crawford has other plans for himself.
With graduation in sight, the 24-year old left Florida Atlantic University, where he was pursuing a Bachelor’s degree, and set his sights solely on becoming a country singer – something unexpected from a Cuban Miami native. But not before laying the tracks down for his future.
He began singing when he was in the third grade, taking a note from his mom who was in a music ministry group. “Just seeing [my mom] singing from a young age; I think that’s what sparked my initial interest in music,” says Crawford.
Later on, he picked up the guitar, and with his mom’s musical influence, as well as his dad’s preference for classic rock, Crawford’s musical identity started to form.
“I actually only started listening to country music at the end of high school. And when that happened and I started listening to my first few country songs, I noticed some similarities to the rock genre. And, I liked it,” says Crawford.
“I’m shooting for the stars. I know it’s hard, as everyone says. But, I don’t care because I don’t plan on doing anything else in my life.”
At the time, he was less interested in the message most country music has, but in the elements of what makes a song. He explains, “From the guitars to the violins to the mandolins, I think I love that raw acoustic sounds. Between that and the harmonies in the vocals, those are the two main things that drew me to country music.”
The significance of the message came later, when songwriting became more of a priority. “[My first song] started out as a poem and over the next couple of weeks, I created a kind of melody for it.” He laughs, “That never went anywhere, but I think that was the beginning of my songwriting.”
Since then, he’s only grown as an artist. And upon his arrival at FAU in 2013, he was given the opportunity to be a part of Hoot/Wisdom Recordings, a student-run label, where he would later record his first single, “Take A Chance On Me”.
In 2015, under the label, he went through a three-semester cycle of recruitment, recording and releasing a “Compowlation” album while taking classes that aid in the production process.
“It was a slow start, just being thrown in,” he says about working with the label. “I’ve been through the full cycle twice now. I definitely learned the most and got the most out of it in this last cycle.”
Inspired by a girl who was hesitant to take a chance on him, Crawford wrote “Take A Chance On Me”, featured on “Compowlation Vol. 5”, in just a week with the help of then Hoot/Wisdom president, Alexa Ehrlich. Recording, however, was completely new to him.
“It’s very different than performing live. I think I’d rather perform live than record,” he admits. “At moments, it’s a little stressful because there’s times you’re rerecording over and over and over certain parts. Then again, I’m a very new artist and I don’t have much recording experience.”
Crawford is expecting that to change though. After switching his major from commercial music with a focus on music business to interdisciplinary studies, he decided that school wasn’t what he really wanted.
“Halfway through the semester, I dropped my classes. I was sick of school and I decided that I was going to work, make and save money and work on my music,” he says. And as for now, he doesn’t foresee himself going back.
“As a musician, an artist, I want to go all the way, big time, become a country music superstar.” He’s begun getting more local gigs at places like Funky Buddha in Boca Raton and Subculture in Delray Beach to really get his name out there, and plans on releasing an EP by the end of the year.
“The biggest high as a performer on stage is performing in front of a crowd of people,” he explains. “And one of the most special moments in that situation is when an audience sings along with you. That’s what we live for.”
And as he moves on with this exciting part of his life, he says, “I’m shooting for the stars. I know it’s hard, as everyone says. But, I don’t care because I don’t plan on doing anything else in my life. I don’t have any interest in having a plan B. I’m all in for my plan A.”
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