Updated: May 13
Hi, this is Jason; how are you? I'm doing great.
Oh, wonderful. It's good to speak with you. Where are you calling from? I'm from New York City.
How's life in the South Bronx? Although I didn't grow up here, I ended up here because of a series of circumstances. Nevertheless, it was one of the best moves you ever made. Even though I came here kicking and screaming, moving here was one of the best things I've done. Another thing is that the neighborhood is completely gentrified now.
That's awesome! Where are you initially from? I grew up in Manhattan and Midtown Manhattan, as well as in Jamaica, Queens. A mix of both. So, I'm a native New Yorker. I left New York for a bit of a while to live in Boston for eight years. However, I am now back and have been back for some time. My home is here. I love it! New York is unlike anywhere else.
Jason, tell me, how long have you been performing, and how did you become an independent artist? Yes, that's the question; I've been singing for about 20 years. I used to be in a rock band but left because I wanted to be a solo artist. Leaving all my music connections behind in Boston, I ended up in New York and had to start over.
A part of the starting over process included looking for new musicians and becoming a better musician and a better singer myself. For me, it was an organic process. My priority was to hone my craft and meet the right musicians with great chemistry. And, although I write all my music and lyrics, it takes a village.
As an independent artist, what challenges and benefits do you experience? Oh, that's easy. The perks are a complete dictatorship. It's what I want, and what I say goes. I couldn't do it any other way. The negatives are that creating music and all that comes with it is expensive. Regardless I wouldn't change it because It's what I enjoy doing. At the same time, look, when I have a high-profile paying gig, I get paid the most. Although I love the musicians I work with, they're my hired hands at the end of the day.
Absolutely. What would you like to see change about the music industry? I'd like to see artists get paid what they deserve. Because we don’t. I think Spotify is a travesty.
How can someone get millions of spins and make you only X amount of money? After all, people are enjoying your craft. Do they realize how much blood, sweat, and tears you put into creating that project? How can you have billions of spins and only make $1,000,000 off that? And I'm being kind with that figure. (laughs)
Yes, you're being very generous today. (laughs) You know, that's crazy!
Yes, it is crazy. Things are going at a snail's pace, but who knows what's in store for the future.
If you were able to solve the problem of illegal downloading, what would be the solution? You got me there. There would have to be a whole bunch of laws passed that would safeguard the artist's music so that it would prevent illegal downloading. Currently, there is no technology for that, but something must be in place to stop it. The sad part is that our society today it's a culture that has been created with the mindset of not wanting to pay for music. For example, you pay $10 a month with Apple and can listen to whatever you want, right?
Yes. And Spotify too. So, as I said, it’s a culture. One thing for sure is that everything needs to be turned upside down, whereas the artist gets to make a whole lot more than they do now. For that to happen, places like apple music and islands would have to be revamped.
Yes definitely. So, Jason, can you tell me about any projects you have out now or pending release in the upcoming year, 2023? Yes, my album, “The Petty Narcissist.” I also have a few singles out. In fact, my last single hit #1 in the Indie charts in Europe and the world charts.
What was the name of that single? The self-titled track, The Petty Narcissist.
OK. Yes, and the last single, Money In The Bank," hit #2, and the first single hit #5. I think that's pretty good! So, I just took a little break, but I'm coming out with a new single called X Factor. That's coming out soon, and it will be on the deluxe edition of "The Petty Narcissist" I don't have a tour planned now, but I have many high-profile things coming up. I will be playing Good Morning America, Jimmy Kimmel, the CBS morning show, and Austin City Limits in the coming days. Hopefully, they'll stand up, but you know how this business goes. It will be a lot of work, but I'm waiting to see what happens.
Petty Little Narcissist is an interesting name for a song. Can you explain the inspiration behind it? Yes, the album is mostly about my life, the people I met, and one person I had a relationship with who was a petty narcissist. Dealing with a narcissist is just on another level. So, the song is just about my experience with this person. They were very judgmental and selfish, and when dealing with someone narcissistic, you get swallowed into their vortex. Although they're charming and the party's life, they have a dark side, and dealing with them can be extremely difficult. So, we became estranged. It was written from a source of a lot of pain and anguish, but since then, we made it up, so the song for me isn't a song of despair anymore, now just a good song for me and like.
Yes, there are a lot of videos about narcissism. Many people who suffer from narcissistic abuse didn't have a name for it until many of these videos surfaced with an explanation of their character traits. And then, once the name surfaced, people could understand it more and get the courage to distance themselves from those behaviors—great job shining a light on that topic. Yeah.
Finally, what type of advice would you give to up incoming artists? Go with their gut because I think that's the only way to be authentic. If you're like a singer-songwriter or artist, have substance, and don't be artificial. Go with your gut.
Thank you so much! Great advice, and personally, I'm so proud of you and proud of your achievements. I pray that God will bless the works of your hands, be it done according to His will for you. I also pray that God will keep you safe and protected throughout your journey. Ah, thanks, Gina.
Thanks so much, Jason.
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All photos of Jason Shand are courtesy of Jason Shand