7 Questions With Jake Miller: “First Flight Home,” Upcoming Music & Loving Sam Smith’s Album

Jake Miller‘s career is about to go sky high, quite literally. When Idolator first premiered his “Day Without Your Love” video two years ago, he was still an independently-signed teenager from Florida hitting the road hard to make a name for himself. Now on the Warner Bros. roster, 21-year-old Jake just premiered the video for his heart-tugging new single “First Flight Home” and drew a crowd of over 4,000 screaming fans — that would be his Millertary — in Times Square during a meet and greet earlier this week.

Since he was here in the Big Apple, we took the opportunity to invite Jake by for a chat about his upcoming music. He also filled out a couple postcards for an Idolator giveaway, so enter here to get some authentic Miller mail in your inbox.

How did “First Flight Home” come about and who produced the song? JAKE MILLER: I wrote it in LA in the beginning of 2014 with Brandyn Burnett, who is also on Warner Bros. It was produced by Cutfather, and it was the first time we ever worked with him, and everyone had a great vibe in the room. It’s basically about being on the road all the time. As an artist, I’m always on the road. I’m always on tour. Whether it’s on my tour bus or in my hotel room, sometimes I just get homesick. It’s very relatable to anybody who listens to it because everybody has missed something in their lives, which is why in the music video, it’s not only telling my story, but stories of other people coming home like in the army coming home or someone in college coming home.

You signed with Warner Bros. after releasing your debut album Us Against Them last year. How is the recording going for your first full major label release? JM: Yeah — that album was with my old label. So I signed with Warner Bros. in December 2013, and ever since, we’ve just been in the studio getting the music ready for the next project, whether it’s for an EP or an album. “First Flight Home” is the first single off of it, and it’s just kind of like my new introduction into the world as Jake Miller and as a Warner Bros. recording artist. The music is a lot different; it’s a lot more mature. The fans are going to love it. It’s still rapping and singing, but it just sounds older. I’m super proud of it, and I just cant wait for people to hear it.

We premiered your “Day Without Your Love” video two years ago here on Idolator, and now here you are with “First Flight Home.” What was that shoot like? JM: I mean, throughout the whole process, there was a lot of like “I made it” moments. And showing up to that video shoot was one of those moments, because I’ve never really had a big video shoot before. It’s all been just kind of done independently. I showed up in LA to this broken-down airport, and there were 200 people who I never met all working, with roles, to make my music video as good as it was. So, it was just mind-blowing to see that many people working on it, and so many extras and costumes and makeup and stuff. We actually shot one scene on the same fake plane that they shot the Bridesmaids scene on — which was like the funniest scene in the movie, so that was cool.

Speaking of flying, what’s one thing you personally can’t leave home without when you have a flight to catch? JM: I need one of those neck pillows! I don’t even put it around my neck, actually. I just unfold the tray and put the pillow down and plop my head right down in the hole, and that’s how I fall asleep! That’s my comfiest position on a plane. Now I can sleep like that for hours. What’s been your own favorite song of the summer this year? JM: It’s not very summery-sounding, but my favorite song right now is probably [the acoustic version of] “Latch” by Sam Smith. I can’t stop listening to his album. I rarely buy physical copies, but when I really love an album, I feel like I should support the artist. I bought Sam Smith’s album. I love “2 On,” the Drake [and Tinashe] song. Nico and Vinz’s “Am I Wrong,” that’s a really nice song. “Rude” by MAGIC!

Let’s put you on the spot. Who’s your favorite rapper at the moment? JM: Drake, he’s always been my favorite. Growing up, Eminem was kind of the reason I started rapping, but Drake is just like my favorite rapper.

Last one: Can you talk about some of the material you’ve been recording, aside from “First Flight Home”? JM: Yeah! I’ve been in with some great producers that I’ve been listening to the music that they’ve produced for years now: JR Rotem; RedOne; Wallpaper., who did “Talk Dirty”; obviously Cutfather. So, when I was in LA for like four months, I was basically with a different producer every day. Different writers, different producers that were just very different from one another, who helped me push my limits and experiment with new sounds and new things. It was like the greatest learning experience as a musician because they all know something that you don’t know, or they’re good at something that you’re not as good at. I just learned so much from all these people, and it really shows in the new music.

Thanks, Jake!

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