'I'm edgier than my brother Nathan Carter'
Eighteen year-old Jake Carter, who offers a rockier version of country music than his older brother Nathan, is sure to melt hearts. Jenny Lee chats to the latest Carter brother to hit the musical headlines
HIS brother may be the hottest country music star in Ireland, with gigs in Belfast's SSE Arena and Dublin's 3Arena coming up in the next few weeks. But Nathan Carter better watch out as there is a new kid in town – his younger brother Jake.
He not only shares his brother's musical talent, but also his good looks. However, the 18-year-old Liverpudlian describes himself as "edgier" than his brother.
Since leaving school last June, having completed A-Levels in music, maths and IT, Jake has been gigging relentlessly in the UK developing his own fanbase with his blend of country/pop/rock inspired by artists such as McFly, Busted and American country acts like Rascal Flatts and Hunter Hayes.
There are no accordians in-sight with Jake, who plays guitar. However, like his brother, traditional music played its part in his musical upbringing.
His 'nanna' was from Warrenpoint and both boys competed in fleadhanna cheoil at a young age and performed gigs in Irish Centres across Ireland.
"I used to play fiddle and sing traditional," says Jake.
"Unlike Nathan I never won the All-Ireland, but I got through the regional's. I really enjoyed it, it was a holiday each year."
Jake has performed at his Nathan's gigs in the past, including last June at The Country Comes to City Festival in Derry's Ebrington Square, but this October he will make his first solo Irish tour with his own band.
Before then, he will be popping up at a number of Irish festivals, most noticeably the brand new two-day Harvest Festival in August in Enniskillen and Westport, featuring 30 artists including American stars Miranda Lambert and Kip Moore and of course Jake's brother Nathan.
In July he is planning on following in his brother's footsteps in re-locating across the Irish sea, basing himself in the Co Fermanagh town of Enniskillen.
"I will be sharing with Nathan for the first few months, but he's a bit messy so I couldn't share with him for too long," laughs Jake.
The performer is very supportive of his 26-year-old brother, who was catapulted into stardom following the success of his 2012 album Wagon Wheel.
"There are videos on Youtube of me getting up with Nathan when he was about 10 or 11, playing the fiddle. But music has always been in me and I wasn't interested in going onto university.
"I've been gigging by myself since I was 15 or 16, with my first proper gig being at Leeds Irish Centre."
Do the comparisons with his big brother add pressure on him to succeed?
"People are always going to compare you, but it keeps me on my toes and it's great to have that. But I'm a bit more modern and edgier than Nathan."
One thing he won't be asking his brother for is fashion advice. "I try to stay away from the waistcoats and jackets and keep it as modern as possible," laughs Jake, who admits to being a bit of a health and fitness fanatic.
"I'm very conscious about my fitness and try to keep in shape. I try to hit the gym three or four times a week trying to shed what I put on whilst touring."
Having released his debut single Trouble, Jake is currently in the studio working on his debut EP, which he hopes to release at the end of May.
Jake has penned a lot of original material and is currently co-writing with Belfast singer-songwriter Triona Carville and Ballina native Liam Geddes.
"I find it easier to write with someone else as you can bounce ideas of each other. It just flows a lot more," he says.
Fans will be delighted to learn that Jake is "free and single and looking for love" and finds inspiration for his music through his experiences with life – and chat-up lines.
"I've got a song at the minute I'm working on called Trouble With a Smile, which I hope to release in the future. I was out one night at a club and was trying to chat up this woman and we were chatting and she finished the conversation with 'you just look like trouble with a smile'," he recalls.
As for the rest of his sets, audiences can expect "rocky, country sing-along" material, including covers from the Eagles, Kid Rock and classics such as Sweet Home Alabama and Heartache Tonight.
When it comes to long-term musical ambitions, Jake hopes to emulate his brother's success with sell-out gigs in the likes of 3Arena – but he also has his sights Stateside.
"The long-term goal to be over in Nashville and the Grand Ole Opry," admits Jake, who was over in Dublin for last weekend's Country 2 Country Festival.
Can we expect a duet with Nathan in the near future?
"We've never actually sat down and talked about doing a duet, but it's sort of inevitable. He would probably charge me too much at the minute, so maybe in the future."
And are there any more Carter's back home in Liverpool, ready to burst onto the musical scene?
"We've a sister, who is a couple of years older than me. She's a great singer, but doesn't do it publicly. She has a proper job," laughs Jake.
:: Jake Carter plays Belfast's Empire Music Hall on October 28. For tour information visit JakeCarterOfficial.com. Harvest 2017 is on August 26 and 27. All tickets on sale now from Ticketmaster.ie and usual outlets.