Jake Owen: Route 91 Shooting ‘Gave Me So Much Perspective’
Jake Owen is among the country artists who were onsite at the 2017 Route 91 Harvest Festival during the shooting on Oct. 1, and the singer says the experience has changed him, for the better, in a number of ways.
Owen had performed earlier in the day at Route 91 and was standing on the side of the stage, watching Jason Aldean's headlining set, when the shooting began. He tells Taste of Country that, seven months later, he's "a changed guy ... 100 percent."
"The whole Vegas thing gave me so much perspective, personally," Owen says. "Now I look out into the crowd of people coming out to enjoy a show differently: They are not only coming out to see an artist they like, but some of them are coming out to escape a little from everyday life. They are there to create memories with the people they love.
"It’s not that I didn’t understand that before — I did," Owen adds, "but now, more than ever before, my job is to go out there and entertain."
Remembering the Route 91 Harvest Festival Shooting Victims
Fifty-eight people died during the Route 91 shooting, and hundreds more were injured. Owen tells ToC that he's gotten to meet some of the victims, and that those experiences leave him questioning "Why not me?"
"They are just innocent people who came out to see a show and hear music that night, and now they are in a wheelchair and can’t walk," Owen reflects. "I was there with those people. Why wasn't it me?"
In the days following the Route 91 tragedy, Owen told CBS that he didn't want to live in fear because of the shooting. As he prepares to begin his Life's Whatcha Make It Tour in mid-May, the country star says he's ready to give the fans that come to see him an experience that will last a lifetime and make the most of his time onstage each night.
"I'm really approaching every show like it was my last. It's not that I think something is going to happen, but I’m never going to take it for granted again that I’m going to do this show tonight and do another one tomorrow," Owen says. "I just appreciate what I do now more than ever before. I consciously think about it each and every time."
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