From a quiet life in the middle of rural New South Wales to the stage of one of the country’s biggest reality shows, a couple of albums and a swag of live shows… to say the last few years of Jason Owen’s life has been a bit of a whirlwind is quite the understatement.
The singer will tomorrow release album number two, ‘Friday Night’ and tonight heads out on tour in support of it.
Naturally, we couldn’t let the occasion pass without popping through a few questions on email. And here’s what Jason has to say.
Q. How did the music journey start for you?
A. Well, I actually started in a school rock band in year 5, plus my Aunty Michelle has always been in the music industry singing and playing guitar at pubs and clubs and all that, so probably from the age of around 10 or 11, I actually also started going into pubs and clubs out the Central West and travelling around with Michelle, singing with her.
Q. Your sound is predominantly country, but with a mainstream edge to it. How did you start to gravitate towards the country genre?
A. Obviously growing up in a little town like Albert, which is only a town of 12 people, I was surrounded in country music, so it’s something I’ve always enjoyed.
Q. And what is it that you most love about country music?
A. I love the loyal fans and that there’s meaning behind each song.
Q. What prompted you to enter ‘The X Factor’?
A. My Aunty Michelle. She was going to audition in Dubbo – she actually came up to me at work when she found out ‘X Factor’ was coming to town and she was like, “You need to audition,” and I was like, “No, you should audition, I don’t think I’d get anywhere”, but she insisted and said, “I think we should both have a go.” Anyway, one thing led to another and I did end up going with her.
Q. How far were you hoping to get on the show?
A. You know what, I didn’t think I was going to make it through auditions, bootcamp, or anything, to be honest. But my dream was to make the live shows, which I was lucky enough to have done. Obviously coming out as runner-up exceeded my expectations, which I was very grateful for.
Q. And what did you take from the competition?
A. It gave me a lot of experience on the stage and it also taught me a lot about song choice. It just helped me to evolve and gave me an amazing opportunity to have the career I’ve always dreamed of.
Q. How difficult has it been for you to keep the momentum up in the wake of ‘The X Factor’?
A. It’s been very hard work. Obviously everyone that comes out of a show like that has a lot of hard work ahead of themselves. For me, it’s been a lot of touring, recording, and joining a new label. It’s definitely been very hard work.
Q. How have you adapted to life on the roster of an indie label?
A. Social Family Records are great bunch of people – very friendly and very hard working, and that’s what an artist is after in a label. It’s been amazing to get the opportunity to work with these guys.
Q. Being an indie artist obviously comes with its freedoms, but would also throw up its own unique set of challenges, we presume?
A. Definitely, yeah, you know, I think being any artist, really, is very challenging. I don’t think it matters whether you’re indie or not, you still have to put in a lot of hard work, time and effort.
Q. Tell us everything there is to know about this new album of yours, please. Who have you worked with?
A. Well, I worked with Bryan Jones again. He’s an amazing producer here in Australia that I worked with on my first album and, luckily enough for me, I’ve also had the privilege of working with him again on this new album, which is fantastic. I was also fortunate to be able to work with Adam Reily, who wrote the two originals on the album, ‘Damn Right’ and ‘Tears On Fire’. He’s a brilliant songwriter, so that was really cool. The album, ‘Friday Night’, was mastered by Viking Lounge Mastering.
Q. The album contains a number of cover versions. Why did you choose the tracks that feature?
A. It does. To me, they’re fantastic old time great covers that I’m sure everyone will enjoy. They were chosen because I actually think cover songs really work for a lot of my fans. So I did a couple of originals, which connect with my younger audience, and old time favourites for my older fans. Something for everyone.
Q. Was there a particular reason that you decided not to go out with an album of originals on this occasion?
A. After the last album, we looked at the demographic of the people who bought it, and the success was just amazing when it came to older people. My fans enjoy great covers, young or old.
Q. You’re set to go out on tour from next month. Where are you headed and what can the audience expect from the shows?
A. At this stage, I’m headed to Bathurst, Dubbo, Mudgee, Yass, Young, Narrandera, Tumut, Sydney, Brisbane, Toowoomba and beyond. More dates will be announced as time goes on. The audience can expect a lot of energy on stage because I love to perform – I think that’s the most exciting part of being an artist, getting up there on stage and performing. I also love getting out on the road, meeting fans and people who have supported me on my journey. I’ll be singing songs from my albums, some other random covers, as well as my originals, of course.
Q. What happens from here on in? Are you continuing recording? And what do your plans beyond the tour entail?
A. Hopefully I get to jump in and record a new album for 2016. It’s still only very early because this second album is still very new, but definitely, I’d love to be back in the recording studio again hopefully at the end of this year and be ready to hit the road next year… and you never know, hopefully overseas at some stage.
Jason Owen’s new album ‘Friday Night’ is available in-stores and online tomorrow.
His national album tour kicks off tonight at the Bathurst RSL. Here’s where you’ll find him in the days ahead;
March 05 : Bathurst (RSL)
March 06 : Forbes (Forbes Services Club)
March 07 : Dubbo (RSL)
March 08 : Mudgee (Club Mudgee)
March 11 : Chatswood (RSL)
March 12 : Yass (Yass Soldiers Club)
March 13 : Young (Young Services Club)