Review and Interview by Indie Music Digest
MD How would you classify your music? JM A blend of Acoustic Rock/Folk & R&B with a hint of blue eyed soul. I tend to get a little A.D.D when writing music, so a jump around with genres, but it tends to not come out too heavy or too soft, mostly music you could bob your head to and tap your foot with and perhaps sing along with the catchy parts. IMD Who are some of your top 5 musical influences? JM There are so many more than five, but a few a big influences are: Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye, James Taylor, Bill Withers, Bob Schneider. IMD What do you want fans to take from your music? JM My goal has always been to add something positive to the world and music is a great universal language for accomplishing that. Since music started for me as a way to unwind after a long day, I want it to be the same for the folks that hear my tunes. Without music, I think I'd be a wound up mess. Music certainly has the potential to unwind a lot of tensions many people hold, so if I can do my part make people feel something positive, I think that's the most I can hope for. IMD How’s the music scene in your locale? JM The DC/Metro area is pretty broken up by genre. I'm most familiar with the current state of the solo artists here and the singer/songwriter community. I know we've certainly had our legends in Motown, Soul, Go-Go, Folk and jazz over many decades, but I've only been here for a few years. From my experience and observation, it's a place where musicians can make a go at playing for a living if they hustle for a fan base and use it as a good launch pad for touring. There is a hodgepodge of various sorts living throughout DC, so you may have to search for where you fit among the varying local communities. For solo singer/songwriters like myself, we have a pretty dedicated group of enthusiasts working on growing the scene and offering venue showcases, blogs, podcasts and local tv programming to support the arts. You can also find lots of places that host solo artists nightly in the surrounding area. The population is definitely here and in the cities around DC, which continues to grow. With that being said, there still aren't a ton of music industry insider folks like you would find in Nashville, NYC, LA, etc. A lot of my musician peers have moved away in hopes of a better chance of rubbing shoulders elsewhere. I think we're sometimes looked over on the musical map, but I'm constantly amazed by the amount of talent I come across living here. I do see some very talented local artists being overlooked here and never being recognized on a national or international stage. One famous example of that is Eva Cassidy, who finally gained international status after she passed away in 1996 at the age of 33. I think we have talents like that here in DC today playing small clubs that could potentially reach a wider audience. ______________________________________________________ "Music certainly has the potential to unwind a lot of tensions many people hold, so if I can do my part make people feel something positive, I think that's the most I can hope for.' - Jason Masi - ______________________________________________________ IMD What is the best concert you have been to? What do you like most about playing live? JM I've seen Bob Schneider play on multiple occasions and every time he puts on an amazing show, solo and with his band. I'd say he's one of those artists you go see and then you go home inspired, but also a little bruised because you realize how much work you still have to do to get to where he is. He has such a huge, varied, arsenal of music to pull from, so his shows are all unique, but also theatrical in a way and just full of great energy. The best part about a live performance is the honesty of it. Each performance of a song and each show for me has it's own personality, and way of coming across. The show itself has a ebb and flow that hopefully leaves everyone feeling like they've taken a journey with you and transcended in some way. It's not necessarily about perfection when it's live as much as the energy and flow between the songs, the artist and the audience. That's something that can't be duplicated in the studio. IMD Is there a single song on your latest CD release here that stands out as your personal favorite, and why? JM Well, I get this question a lot and I always say my songs are like my children. They all have a special place in my heart and they all have unique things that make them different that I love. That being said, some songs have a certain energy when I sing them where I can just get a bit carried away. Golden Sun is one of those that's just fun to play and sing. I'm a sucker for a good baby-making song too, admittedly. IMD How have you evolved as an artist over the last year? JM I base my growth on my quality control valve. Songwriters have to come up with lots of not-so-great ideas and weed them down to good ideas and then shape them into songs, at least that's how I've worked. I hope that my quality control valve has become more refined in the last year. You can let me know how I'm doing with that on my next release. 9. If you could meet, play a gig, co-write a song, have dinner, get drunk with any band or artist (dead or alive) who would it be? To answer that question, I have to consider the type of person I generally enjoy the company of now. Mostly, down to earth, unassuming types, so that would probably limit my options of rock stars. I've heard B.B. KIng, Alice Cooper and Tom Petty are nice guys, but I'd probably go ahead and bring Otis Redding back to life. I've read that he was a sweet man and Lord knows I'd love to hear that voice in person. IMD What’s next for Jason Masi? JM I'm happy to be able to make music and play it for people as my living right now. My goal continues to be to make honest music that I can stand behind. As I continue to do that, I'm open to expanding the sphere of influence this music has through touring and media. At some point, I'd like to help some of the other musicians I'm finding who have great songs that need to be heard.