In a musical age where the beats are getting heavier, the production thicker, and the live performances more theatrical, Dustin Jake likes to keep things simple: Just him, an acoustic guitar, and a great song. With his smooth, soulful voice and groovy, Timberlake-esque falsetto, he blends elements of pop, hip-hop, soul, reggae, and jazz.
If there's one element that glues all those styles together, though, it's his acoustic guitar. Close your eyes, and you can hear kick drums, snares, hi-hats, and dynamic guitars. Open them, and you see a guy and his guitar. No pedals. No loops. No backtracks. Just a true solo artist.
And boy has this solo artist been making some noise lately. He is a two-time winner of the Radio 94.5 Rising Star Award, and has twice performed at the Temecula Balloon and Wine Festival, one of the largest music festivals in southern California. This past summer, he rocked the main stage at the Temecula 4th of July Extravaganza at Ronald Reagan Sports Park, a gathering that attracts around 20,000 people throughout the day. Dustin was also named the first ever Grand Prize Winner of the Wine Country Music Awards (WCMA's), not only beating out hundreds of entrants to win radio play, opening slots for national acts (more on that later), studio time, and more, but doing it in front of industry judges such as Terri Nunn (Berlin), Tommy Tutone, Vinny Appice (Black Sabbath), Joey Allen and Erik Turner (Warrant), and many more.
Dustin lives for the live music scene, regularly playing around 20 gigs per months, spanning from his home base in Temecula, to San Diego, and all throughout southern California. "I'd say I've played about 1,000 gigs over the past 5 years".
Says Hunter, a super-fan from California, "He's one of those rare artists who sound even better live than on the record." It's a sentiment that has become quite common during Dustin's post-show chats with fans: You have to hear him live to fully 'get it'. He's just that good.
Despite everything, Dustin's main satisfaction still comes from his ability to put a story onto a set of chords. He's spent countless days and many late nights pouring over the subtleties of his ever-expanding song collection. In 2020, he released five fully produced songs, including the much-needed feel-good jam "Quarantined With You", and in April of 2021, he released a brand new 9-song album titled "Sweet Little Symptoms". Now, with a slew of new grooves - such as fan-favorites "Mic Check", cheeky pop bop "Cheesy Love" and beach-side jam "Manhattan Beach Boulevard" - finally breaking out of the songbooks, he's ready to shed some new layers and tell some new tales.
And he only needs a guitar to do it. It's really that simple.