After his country chart-topping third album, 2011's "Barefoot Blue Jean Night," and an EP, "Endless Summer," that debuted at No. 2, Jake Owen  has set a high bar for what he does next.
The singer tells Billboard that he already has "two or three songs that could be game-changers" for his next full-length album, but he's not planning to rush things, either.
"I want an album full of game-changing songs and full of lifestyle hits like we had on 'Barefoot Blue Jean Night,' " Owen explains. "I think taking my time to do that is way more important than just trying to cram a year's worth of thought into a 10-day period and just kicking it out there. People know what I can give them now, and if I give them something a little different, I feel like they'll be cool with that and into it. The main thing is I finally have people's attention, where before I was the guy trying to get their attention. Now I have to hang on to it."
Owen predicts he'll come up with an eclectic mix, with "all kinds of songs from heartfelt, deep tunes to songs that ride the line of 'Barefoot Blue Jean Night' and songs that have depth and artistry. I listen to everything, from Chet Baker all the way to Snoop Dogg. I enjoy taking my influences and putting them in one little stew port and see what I can get out."
Owen is also hoping to do work with Joey Moi, who was one of the three producers on "Barefoot Blue Jean Night.
"That was something that changed my life," Owen says. "I took a chance; this guy had done nothing but make record records...but I loved the sound he was doing. I loved his thought process. Our first time in the studio I was like, 'Man, I'll be honest with you, this sounds a little different than what I've done before. This sampled drum you're using doesn't sound like an organic, real snare.' And he was like, 'I know. If you want the drum to sound like a snare drum, dude, you got the wrong guy' and then he came up with this amazing stuff that I'd like to keep exploring next time around."
Owen is continuing to sketch out ideas while he's headlining this year's CMT Tour. And he's also pleased with the reception for "Endless Summer," a four-song set Owen considers an kind of aural victory lap for his last album cycle -- and a vehicle to open the possibility for other out-of-the-box projects in the future.
"I wanted to bypass this antiquated system of waiting around a year to put out another album," explains Owen, who executive produced the project. "I'd like to just start putting out stuff when we have it and give it to the fans who have been supporting me for years. This is just a little bit of instant gratification for people."
- The 615