I am very pleased to announce I have brought you another very talented musician that I happened upon here in Virginia. As you should well know, I crave good music like I crave chocolate and that is to say I would gladly have it injected into my veins. So without further ado, let's get on with today's artist: Jason Masi.
A bit of background first, I do love to set the stage: I was having a glass of wine one Friday evening with my boyfriend at this simply posh winery--The Winery at Bull Run if anyone's interested, I highly recommend it and not just because it houses barrels of wine--that I discovered nearby and we specifically were in attendance because I had gotten wind of live music every Friday. We walked in to see Jason Masi already strumming on his guitar, smiling and crooning. When he walked over to our table a little later to ask us if there was anything he could play because we looked like people who appreciated music, I knew I liked him. When he did the best cover of Cecilia by Simon and Garfunkel that I have heard to date, I liked him even more. And when he played some wonderfully soul-stirring originals, I knew I had to interview him.
For Jason, music started as a hobby in middle school. His older brother played in several bands, while his time was occupied with sports. By high school, he had become considerably more interested in music, starting to play in garage bands and getting obsessed with it, he said. He called himself a little bit of a late bloomer in music, while still focusing on sports on the side, but by college his obsession reached its peak. Jason focused on writing music, playing the guitar and got a group together called Jubeus, a band he played with for six years. Currently he is a solo singer/songwriter, and that's where I happened upon him.
Here are some of the questions I had for Jason
AD: Do you play any other instruments besides guitar?
JM: I think a lot of singer songwriters have another instrument that they fiddle with. It's good to challenge your brain with a different instrument. I write a little on keys and on guitar.
AD: How do you come up with your songs?
JM: I’m kind of ADD when it comes to listening to music, and I’m like that with my writing too... I try to write as much as possible, some comes out in a couple minutes, or weeks, or months at a time. The way I come up with writing stuff is sitting down with my instrument. It's kind of a primitive process; it's really just making noise, then I do the same thing with my voice, then I try to make sense of it, kind of like a puzzle, and if I’m lucky it kind of falls into place. When you do it hundreds of times that process becomes less painstaking, then when you get to the end, part of the reward is having something you can show to people. Everybody has a focus they keep coming back to, they come back to what they’re all about. What I write about it is keeping it simple, balancing your life, your passion and your needs.
We don’t necessarily need to have a lot of things, sometimes we just have enough and that’s okay.
I think that’s how art should be, it can take all of the elements of what you listen to and create something that’s kind of cohesive; that’s what’s really impressive.
AD: What artists inspire you?
JM: Most recently I’ve been inspired by older soulful musicians: the Wizards, Marvin Gaye, Van Morrison, a lot of eclectic artists, Paul Simon, Sam Cooke, Will Hoge, Bob Schneider, Ben Harper, those types of artists I kind of aspire to be, they aren’t restricted by some major label telling them what they need to create.
AD: What are some of your favorite songs, either you've written or you love to perform?
JM: Balance & Pull, Life is Wonderful, The Power of a Woman... I have some go-to songs, that I just love, like, Golden Sun; it’s a very sexy song, but I cant play it everywhere for obvious reasons, but I’m a lover I’m not gonna hold that back. My songs are like my children, you’re supposed to love them all the same, but you love them all for different reasons.
AD: What do you hope to accomplish with your music?
JM: I’m really happy to be able to play music as a full time artist, that’s an accomplishment in itself. I would like to maybe write songs for TV shows and movies, get the music out to a greater, wider audience. I’ve got many, many records in the making, I look forward to growing and getting inspired by other music that comes out. It also kind of measures different periods in my life, during those years that I wrote those songs. At the end, if I look back on my life, whether its tomorrow or at 105, I am proud having these records that map out what I’ve done and accomplished; creating measures of where I’ve been in my life is very rewarding. I've dedicated myself to music for better or for worse. It's all about the music and being able to create something.
AD: Let's talk adventure, (duh!) What has been your biggest adventure to date?
JM: My biggest adventure to date... I was in Costa Rica with my wife, my biggest jump into an adventure. I was camping through Costa Rica and our tour guide suggested zip lining. I’m not super scared of heights, but I am kind of a wimp. I’ve never experienced being upside down like that on a rope, I felt like I was going to fall out of my harness, but I thought to myself, I’m having a really good time, being flipped upside down and flying through the jungle... When you’re scared of something and you just jump and go ahead and do it... that's really liberating.
AD: And of course, one of my favorite questions to ask artists I admire: What advice do you have for those pursuing the arts?
JM: Learn about the business you’re getting into and try to find where you fit in. A lot of kids growing up want to be an artist and only look at one aspect of it, but there might be a lot of other avenues to thrive in or fit their personality better. You need to look for your meaning and figure out what it is you want to do. Don’t restrict your dreams to one aspect of artistic vision, keep an open mind about what your skills and talents are to fill the gaps in the artistic world.
Well that about wraps it, folks. Do yourself a solid and check out Jason on iTunes, Facebook: www.facebook.com/jasonmasimusic, his website www.jasonmasi.com, pandora: http://www.pandora.com/jason-masi. I don't care where, just check him out.
Ease your worried mind
And honestly, Jason was such a fun guy to interview and had amazing insight! So Jason, thank you! It was an absolute pleasure getting a larger glimpse into your art and I look forward to seeing you perform again!