WindanSea resident Jake Stephens, when describing his debut album “How the Water Feels,” called it a “rollingly groovy acoustic vibe album about the water ... It’s a boards-on-the-back-of-the-car- rolling-towards-the-ocean album.”
Recorded largely from his apartment, the Florida native said, “This album is really dedicated to anyone with a connection to the water. Whether that’s from surfing or just being near the ocean or whatever water form affects them. We have a very primal relationship with the water, especially the sea. There is just something about being in its presence that connects us all on a very primal level.”
Having grown up in Jacksonville Beach with two surfer parents, Stephens said he has always lived near the ocean. During some rare years away from the coast — going to grad school in Arizona — he committed free time to writing lyrics and melodies.
With a catalogue of 70-80 songs, he took a break from his entrepreneurial efforts in solar and renewable energy to bring these songs to fruition. “(The desire to record the album) was something I’d been repressing for a long time while I pursued other interests, but it never went away. I wanted to give the songs a chance to be their full selves,” he said.
So he picked out the songs that focus on the water and his relationship with the ocean to record the album. Responsible for writing all the songs, playing half of the guitar heard on the record and singing, he brought on other San Diego musicians to complete the sound.
Stephens said his musical influences include Tom Petty, Indigo Girls, Randy Newman, Lyle Lovett and Paul Simon. But his true inspiration came from his immediate surroundings.
“About half of the album was recorded in my apartment at WindanSea, so a lot of songs were recorded looking out the window, watching pelicans fly by,” he said. “There were a few recording days when I was experiencing exactly what I was singing about. To be immersed in the magic of the beach at WindanSea while I was recording and expressing these ideas about the ocean, really inspired me.”
Taking advantage of the musicians at his disposal and the liberated motivation to make music, he recorded some of the other songs he had written with more of a rock ‘n’ roll sound. His rock-inspired album is set for release in mid-2015.
“How the Water Feels” was released in November, and is available on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and locally at Bird Rock Surf Shop, 5509 La Jolla Blvd. Samples of his work can be found on Facebook by searching for Jake Stephens music or visiting soundcloud.com and searching “How the Water Feels.”