Jake Owen has learned a lot since the release of his freshman album, Startin' With Me, in 2006 -- and not just about the music business. The 35-year-old, who has released four more albums and 14 Top 20 hits in the 11 years since, has experienced his share of triumphs and heartaches, both personally and professionally, but Owen is able to appreciate the trajectory he is on.

"I’ve had my ups; I’ve had my downs. I’ve never felt like I’ve gone backwards, really. I’ve learned a lot about myself, that’s for sure, over the years," Owen concedes to The Boot. "I think when I was 25, 26 years old, when [I got] a record deal -- and you’re out there and you go from playing on a barstool to opening up for Brooks & Dunn and Alan Jackson -- there’s a lot of that that you can’t really comprehend. And then there’s this whole other side of it that gives you an inflated head.

"I don’t think I was ever wrong to anyone or anything like that," Owen clarifies, "but I think I learned over the years, it’s not just fun and games. It’s a business."

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Owen, a proud dad to 4-year-old Olive Pearl (she's Owen's daughter with his ex-wife, Lacey Buchanan), says that his success propels him to try harder. As he continues on in his career, he wants to record the best music he can find and draw in even more fans, not rest on his laurels.

"Where I am now, I’m really proud of the foundation I’ve built and the songs I’ve recorded and the fans I’ve made," Owen says. "Going from here, I’m just going to keep working as hard as I always have. I look forward to hopefully building more and more of a brand and following for what it is that I believe in. I’m pretty confident about that."

Owen is spending much of the next several months on the road. A list of all of his upcoming shows is available on his website.

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