Jake Miller: I'm Trying to Get the Justin Bieber Audience

At first glance, rapper Jake Miller's look resembles an American Eagle catalog model or the lead singer

of an up-and-coming boy band. And, as a matter of fact, 'NSync was once

his favorite band. 


"I only listened to them when I was 9 or 10," says the Weston resident. "I

remember sitting in front of the TV and learning all their dance moves and

trying to learn all the words to their songs."


But this 19-year-old rising local talent who

won the Samsung/T-Mobile Sidekick 4G Battle of

the Bands contest worth $35,000 earlier this year and has snagged spots opening for Snoop Dogg and Mac

Miller

, initially called himself J. Killa.



A simple class assignment from his English teacher turned into a passion for writing and rapping. It was then that J. Killa, a nickname given to him by his friends, was born.

"When I started putting out videos and songs and stuff and started getting recognition, the only thing I kept on hearing from everybody, the only negative feed back is, 'You need to change your name,'" he says. "A little, white Jewish kid can't be going by the name J. Killa."

Within the past few years, white rappers such as Yelawolf, Machine Gun Kelly, Mac Miller, and Asher Roth, the latter two Jewish as well, have become abundant and gained recognition in a genre where they are the minority. And Jake Miller himself has been rapping for a little more than a year. In that time, he's received offers from various labels, including Universal Republic, based upon his laid-back style and winning looks.

Jake released a seven-song mixtape named Summer Session in August, with some songs turned into music videos posted on his YouTube channel, which has gained more than 620,000 views.

 Jake

is the first to admit his music is more pop with a little bit of hip-hop, and unlike his white rapper counterparts, Jake has been taking a

route toward success more familiar to pop acts than hip-hop acts by

performing at high schools and middle schools in Florida.

"They're

not the biggest shows, but most of the kids know who I am, so that's

pretty cool," said Jake. "That's kinda the audience that I'm trying to

get, the Justin Bieber audience." Knowing

his key demographic, songs such as "On My Way," "On the Move," and "Hey

You!" talk about the fantasy of becoming rich and famous minus the

drugs, loose women, and swearing. Instead, Jake made a conscious decision

to keep a clean image.

Before

his recent performance for the Think Pink Rocks concert in Boca Raton,

Jake Miller received advice from fellow performer Asher Roth.

"He

basically just told me nowadays the music industry is so hard to break into," Miller says. "Every

song should be something interesting, something creative. Just try not to be

what everybody else is doing."

Easier

said than done, but as a testament to his determination, Jake took his

freshman year from Florida State University off to focus on his music

career. And in a market in which Justin Bieber has been seen to freestyle here and there, listeners should be prepared to see more.


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