Shanghai-born, 626-raised emerging pop artist JAKE $ING, who signed to Sony Music in just a year after his debut, continues to position himself as a new voice for Asian-American Gen Z with the release of his very first EP ups & downs. ups & downs follows the success of his three most recent previous singles, “You’re So Ugly,” “Turn It Up,” and “Fresh Off The Boat,” the latter which was dubbed “an empowering summer anthem” in Flaunt Magazine. In a three-track review by Joseph Maltese, the trio of singles earned an overall 7.8 score in Music Connection, where his songs were described as “tunes that sooth, but lyrics that sting […] blunt-force language, but with a tender sensual tone.”
The singer-songwriter’s latest EP is comprised of four tracks (“MAKEUP,” “TILL IT HURTS,” “LET DOWN,” “TOO MUCH”) and is a testament to the last three years of his life, which he says, “made me realize that part of what it means to be a human is to go through those ups and downs” and that “these moments of ups and downs is what make us who we are.” It portrays the nature of all the relationships in his life, being a mix of wonderful ups and heart-breaking downs. Each track serves as a phase of a good relationship turning sour. Faced with the inevitability of losing loved ones, “all we can do is learn from the love, and heal from the loss.”
ups & downs starts with “MAKEUP,” an up-beat track that depicts the “puppy love” stage of a relationship, when you’re so head-over-heels for someone that nothing matters other than spending time with that person. The EP takes a quick, but realistic turn with the second song “TILL IT HURTS” which addresses the inevitability of facing a problem in a relationship, eventually falling apart even though you’re not ready to let the other person go. The third track “LET DOWN” is a beachy, surf-tune and exhibits the second stage of grief, which is anger, and is about that cathartic feeling of finally telling the other person all of the emotions you’ve bottled up for so long. ups & downs concludes with the final song “TOO MUCH” which represents the final stage of grief — acceptance. The messaging behind “TOO MUCH” is described as, “Just like in a bad breakup, first you try to convince each other you can make things work, but then the anger comes in, and you continue to argue, until you both realize that it’s too much. Sometimes things just don’t work out the way you expect, and you have to come to accept that.”
With a record that resonates with not only today’s youth, but anyone of any age navigating the throes of life and love, JAKE says he sees himself as the “Spiderman of the music universe” as he continues to try to grow into an “Avenger” artistically, by doing things the way he knows best and making differences where he can, big or small.
JAKE $ING’s last single “Fresh Off The Boat” was featured in respected media such as Rolling Stone India, Flaunt Magazine, Ones To Watch, and AsAm News, and was included in 15 Spotify playlists alone after its release. Through this particular track, which was released during the height of the movement against AAPI hate, he championed Asian-American cultural identity and spoke on personal experiences growing up in America as a Chinese immigrant. The song “Fresh Off The Boat” gained media recognition as a reflection on ethnic diversity in the United States as well as an anthem for unity in the face of discrimination. Prior to the release of “Fresh Off The Boat,” JAKE $ING made headway with his single “Turn It Up” which hit #1 on the FM 102.7 Urban Pop Music Chart in Hong Kong earlier this year — a notable and telling career achievement for the young up-and-comer.
JAKE hopes to emulate artists like Keshi and Post Malone, the latter being whom fans have compared the artist to, going so far as calling him the “Asian Post Malone” for his infectious tone. In response to the incredibly humbling fan-given title, JAKE speaks on the inspiration he’s drawn from the artist and explains his journey in finding his own voice, sharing, “I never thought that I would have a chance in music as an Asian, and even though Posty isn’t Asian, I guess he kind of made me feel like anything was possible. As a result, my earlier songs were either straight homages to his songs, or I would try to sound really similar to him vocally. Now that I’ve grown as an artist, I’ve definitely found my own sound, but the fanboy in me still comes out sometimes in a few tracks.”
As a fan of K-pop as well, JAKE cites Stray Kids, BTS, and MAMAMOO as K-Pop artists who inspire him and whose passion, performances, and dedication to their craft and artistry motivate him to continue to improve in his own music.
JAKE describes his artistry as “honest” as he is hands-on with every aspect of his work. He showcases unlimited potential with his participation in all components of his brand, including composing, directing, producing, and video editing. With such a personalized and ambitious approach to his music, as well as his authenticity and relatability, JAKE has garnered a growing, loyal following. Illustrating the countless hours of work and commitment he personally pours into his music to ensure its ingenuity, he states, “When you hear a song from me, it will always be from me, the videos will be from me, and the promos will be from me.” With the constant emergence of new talent, JAKE $ING aims to stand out by going against the grain and making it his mission to create music that touches people’s souls, push boundaries, promote unity, and be an empowering figure to the Asian-American community.
Check out the music video and stream the new EP below!