Goodbye Windsor, hello Music City. Jake Diab, who’s achieved significant success as lead guitarist, co-vocalist, and co-songwriter for the Windsor-based rock band Autumn Kings, recently took the major step of re-locating to Nashville.
“The main reason for moving here is to get closer to the industry,” says Diab. “Record labels, management companies, and booking agencies are mostly based in L.A., Nashville, or New York. Nashville is a hot spot, and my objective here is to go out four or five nights a week and foster relationships that will prove to be prosperous, long-term.”
Now 24, Diab helped found Autumn Kings in 2015, and he notes with pride that the band’s impressive results to date have all come from a strictly DIY approach. “We have over 10 million streams of our material now [a full-length album, an EP, and multiple singles], and over 130,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, all without a manager, agent, [music] publisher or record label. SOCAN has been a great ally through all this.”
As well as furnishing industry connections, Nashville has already had a major impact on Diab’s songwriting. “In the short few months I’ve been living here, I’ve improved tremendously as a songwriter because of all the talent I’ve been exposed to,” he says. “I’ve booked countless co-writing sessions already, and some excellent songs have come out of it, that’ll most likely be cut by Autumn Kings for our next album, due out by the second quarter of 2022.”
The move isn’t bringing a dramatic shift in musical style, for the time being. “I’m sticking to the pop-rock lane, and I haven’t gotten my cowboy boots yet,” he laughs. “I’m taking in the fruitful collection of diverse music you find in Nashville, though.”
In Autumn Kings, Diab shares the songwriting and vocal duties with singer and fellow SOCAN member Joseph Coccimiglio. While that band remains his top priority, Diab has added some new skills to his creative tool kit in recent years, including writing and producing with and for other artists.
“I haven’t gotten my cowboy boots yet”
In 2019, he and Windsor-based producer/songwriter and fellow SOCAN member Martin Bak (who’s also a longtime Autumn Kings producer) co-wrote and co-produced The Divide EP for U.S. rock band No Resolve. “They’ve had a couple of Billboard No. 1s, and have millions of streams. I’m grateful to have had a small hand in their success,” he says.
Diab also co-wrote and played guitar on the “Blow,” the recent single by Michigan-based rock outfit Eva Under Fire that will be featured in the upcoming horror film The Retaliators.
He is also finding success in a new avenue, writing for film and TV. “Those March 2020 lockdown weeks were hard on me,” says Diab. “Sitting in my basement, I made a conscious decision to keep making a living through music. Film and TV didn’t shut down nearly as much as the music industry, so it made sense to pursue that path. It has proved to be a great way to keep my chops up, and make some money during COVID [times].”
A synch licensing deal with CBS Sports, for College Football Today, is one notable recent credit. An earlier, invaluable sports music connection for Diab came when an Autumn Kings track, “Devil In Disguise,” was chosen as the “goal song” for the full 2018-19 season of Detroit Red Wings games.
“That was a great sign of validation for us,” he says. “That was a team I grew up dreaming of playing for, and now they’re blasting our song over speakers to 20,000 people! That was our equivalent of winning the Stanley Cup!”
Diab is facing the future of Autumn Kings with real confidence. “’I started the band right after my first year of University. From day one, I told myself, ‘This is all or nothing. We’re going to sell out arenas.’ I believe we’re on our way to making that happen.”