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Jake Owen Fun Facts: 10 Things You May Not Know

Jake Owen
Mark Davis, Getty Images

While it may seem we already know plenty about the Florida native — he’s newly-married, about to be a first-time father, getting ready to kick off his first headlining trek with CMT on Tour: The Summer Never Ends 2012 — there’s plenty left to discover about the platinum-selling singer. In honor of his big day, The Boot reveals 10 of our favorite things you may not know about the country star.

10. He has a fraternal twin brother named Jarrod.

When Jarrod needs help with the ladies, Jake admits he’s quick to lend a hand, even when it means talking to random strangers in the middle of the night. Jake toldChelsea Lately” host Chelsea Handler his brother often asks him to get on the phone to talk with girls he wants to impress.”‘Dude, dude, dude, just say, ‘Hey,’ to this chick real quick,” Jake says his brother will ask. “And the girl will be like, ‘I don’t even give a s— who you are, but your brother says that you’re his brother or what not.’ That’s how I help Jarrod, I hook him up with some ladies.”

9. He originally planned to be a professional golfer.

Jake was 15 years old when he won his first golf tournament, which helped him score a golf scholarship to Florida State University after high school.

8. Depression led him to a career in music.

Jake might have been known as the next Tiger Woods, had he not injured his shoulder in a wakeboarding accident while in college, effectively ending his professional golf aspirations. Sidelined by his injury and dealing with depression, Jake borrowed his neighbor’s guitar — and the rest is history. “To pass the time I just started teaching myself to play” he explains. “I had always loved music. I grew up listening to classic country, Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard. My dad loved Vern Gosdin and Keith Whitley. So I kept going to class and started getting totally into playing guitar and teaching myself these songs.”

7. His first band’s name was Yee Haw Junction.

The band, formed while he was still in college, did mostly covers, except for two originals Jake wrote, “It’s Been a While” and “8 Second Ride,” the latter becoming his first gold-selling single after he got his record deal. The band performed regularly at a bar called Potbelly in Tallahassee. Jake returned to the club to film the video for his debut single, “Yee Haw.”

6. He’s just nine credits away from a degree in English and Political Science.

Jake was close to graduating from college with a double major when he realized he wanted to pursue music full-time. With his parent’s blessing, he dropped out of college, packed up his car and headed to Nashville instead.

5. He almost got a song on one of Kenny Chesney‘s albums.

When Jake first moved to Music City, he became friends with veteran producer and songwriter Jimmy Ritchey. Together, along with Jimmy’s friend, songwriter Chuck Jones (“Your Love Amazes Me,” “Love a Little Stronger”), the three wrote a song called “Ghost,” which Kenny expressed interest in recording. While Kenny ultimately decided not to cut the song, he made sure the aspiring star knew how much he liked the tune. “Suddenly, he starts singing it back us,” Jake recalls of his first encounter with his idol. “Word for word. It didn’t even seem real to me. I was stunned. He said it was a great song but it just didn’t work for the album he was working on. [He] told me I had to put it on my record. So we did!”

4. His real name is Joshua.

When Jake was first making waves in the music community, another artist, Josh Turner, had already scored a few hits, including his Top 20 single, “Long Black Train.” In an effort not to confuse the two, Jake’s label suggested a different name. They settled on Jake. (Even though another country-music celebrity shares the name).

3. Jake wrote all the songs on his debut album, Startin’ With Me, and all but two tunes on his sophomore CD, Easy Does It.

It wasn’t until his third project, Barefoot Blue Jean Night, that he looked to other songwriters to provide tunes. “I put aside a lot of my own songs that I had written and started recording some outside songs that I thought were better,” he told CMT. “That’s kind of risky when it comes to your own. Most people think in order to validate yourself as an artist, you have to write your own songs. I commend the guys that do. I’ve done it. But I also think that you can pick great songs outside that you didn’t write that can help your career.”

2. Jake’s constant travel companion is his English bulldog, Merle.

“I like to take my dog on the road,” he told People magazine. “He stays up front; he likes it there.” He also has another English bulldog, Vern, who retired from touring a few years ago.

1. The tattoo on his arm is of wife’s lips.

The newlywed, who married Lacey Buchanan in May, got her kiss permanently inked on his arm before he even proposed. “The lips on my upper right bicep are my girlfriend’s lips,” he told Country Countdown USA. “She has the most amazing lips, and I wanted to carry them around with me everywhere I go, considering I can’t carry her lips physically with me. So I decided to place them in a discreet location, such as the inside part of my bicep.”

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