It's been an exciting run for Jason Owen since his successful performances on Australia's X-Factor which lead him to runner up position in 2012.
Jason has since released four albums proving he is an artist here to stay. With chart-topping success with a #1 on the ARIA Country Albums Chart and #5 on the Australian National Chart with his debut album, 'Life Is A Highway', followed by his original hits, from 'Friday Night' and 'Proud' Album which also celebrates his First Nations background, and features Australia's most iconic female Indigenous entertainer, Christine Anu with the title track, Proud.
His most recent album, 'Jason Owen Sings John Denver: The 20th Anniversary', is a labour of love which pays tribute to his Pop and the legendary American singer-songwriter, John Denver.
Jason has continued to grow into a genuine country artist following his success on X Factor.
He has entertained audiences around the country for album tours and at popular events, including the Tamworth Country Music Festival, CMC Rocks the Hunter, the ACE Awards and the Sony Foundation’s Wharf4Ward event, which raises funds for youth cancer care.
He also has a Golden Guitar and three Country Music Channel (CMC) Award nominations to his name in categories including New Oz Artist of the Year and Male Artist of the Year.
More recently, Jason popped the question to long-time girlfriend and now fiancee, Becy Harvey, and is now back in the studio and working on new material.
I had a chat with Jason to find out more about what he's been up to since X-Factor and what's a head for this talented young man.
MT/Tracey: Hey Jason, great to meet you. Firstly, at what age did you begin your music career?
Jason: I’ve been singing pretty much all my life. I started singing professionally when I was lucky enough to get my break on X Factor. I had just turned 18 when I was on X Factor.
MT: Since your TV appearance on Australia’s X-Factor, how much impact did the show have on working in the music industry?
Jason: It had a huge impact!
It was a great experience to get mentally ready for an industry that throws a lot of challenges. As they say on the show - the whole experience was to teach us what it would be like working as a true music artist. It wasn’t so much about teaching us about the music industry, but it did mentally prepare me for performing live to an audience, how to manage nerves, and how to be quick off the mark and be ready for absolutely anything.
MT: Did your family listen to much music? Who did you listen to while growing up?
Jason: I grew up in a small town that is 140 kms west of Dubbo. It’s called Albert, and it comprises of 12 people. My family own the pub out there and as a result I grew up around a lot of jukebox music. John Denver was a huge inspiration for me as a kid because my Pop absolutely loves John Denver’s music. My latest album, Jason Owen Sings John Denver: The 20th Anniversary, actually pays homage to the legendary John Denver and my Pop.
I listen to a lot of different music - music from artists like Willie Nelson and John Denver, through to Celine Dion. I grew up around a huge variety of music - music far different to what people my age [when I was a teenager] were listening to at the time. Great music and music that is well and truly alive today.
I’m blessed to be able to perform theses songs - the songs that people love.
MT: Coming from a small town and before performing on the X-Factor, did you perform for your home town audience at all?
Jason: Yes, I did. My family are very musically oriented. I grew up surrounded by music in my family and many of them gigged at the local pub. My uncle actually played guitar for Brian Cadd many, many years ago. And my aunty Michelle, she is doing a lot pub gigs in Albert and surrounding areas. When I was 13-years-old, I would go and do shows with her. That’s how I really got my start in music and from those performances, it made me really think about pursuing a career in music.
MT: Are you from a farming family?
Jason: No, I’m not from a farming family. I am from a small town. My dad owns the local service station and the pub. I did however, grow up doing some work on the land and spending a lot of time with my friends on their properties.
It’s heartbreaking at the moment to see how much they are struggling with the drought. To see your best friends and their families struggling through difficult times, it just breaks your heart completely.
Last year, I released a song in aid of the farmers and it was used to raise money for the Burrumbuttock Hay Runners. It’s called These Are The Times. I worked it out with the Burrumbuttock Hay Runners, that $1000 would get a truck of hay on the road. It’s just a matter of finding the feed.
I’m doing my best to raise between $10,000 - $15,000 so essential feed can be donated to those farmers who need it the most during this terrible drought. If your readers want to donate, the Burrumbuttock Hay Runners have their own website. I’ve donated show profits and money raised from the single to them over the years.
MT: I’ve noticed that you now have a HUGE following. How did you find interacting with a town from 12 people to then over 215K between Twitter, Facebook & Instagram? That’s a very big difference!
Jason: It’s huge. I still haven’t comprehended it yet. I love what I do and I’m so honoured by all the support.
Social media is definitely a different kettle of fish to growing up in a town of 12 people. There is so many people watching what I do. It’s very different, but I’m incredibly humbled by all the well wishes and support that I receive from my followers.
However, I do have days where I struggle and get a bit anxious about what I’ve posted because almost a quarter of million people are watching what I post. But on the other hand, I have the opportunity to share my experiences with others - something that would not normally happen if social media wasn’t around.
MT: Since recording Your debut album, ‘Life Is A Highway’ which had huge success with it debuting at #1 on the ARIA Country Albums Chart as well as # 5 on the Australian National Chart, how easy or difficult was it to follow through with your subsequent albums keeping the same standard or Improve on that? And was that at all in your mind?
Jason: It’s never an easy thing to follow up on something like that! I came out from the show [X Factor] and recorded a strong album, with songs people loved. We wanted to keep the next album to that standard. But it’s never an easy task to maintain that success and we did our best to record an album that included people’s favourites once again. Lucky for me, it was an album people liked and it did place within the top 10 of the album charts. It was phenomenal and to do it two times in a row. It literally blew my mind!
MT: I’ve seen a recent video of your rendition of the great power ballad, ‘The Power Of Love’, (awesome btw) this is obviously not a country track, but you’ve made it into your own, as well as your most recent album paying tribute to the late great John Denver. Do have a personal preference to the style of music or genre?
Jason: Every artist has a genre, but for me, the thing is that I’ve sort of gone in and out of genres throughout my career, including POP to country to country POP. It’s sort of been borderline the last few years. I don’t specifically sit in one genre. I think my music is always blended between a couple of genres each and every time. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. If it’s music that people enjoy, that’s all I care about. I don’t care to be pigeonholed to one genre, as long as I am singing songs that people like.
MT: Do you write your own music? Or co-write with other people? If so, have you also written a song for your fiancé yet? (Congratulations btw…. thank you Tracey)
Jason: I wrote a song for the Burrumbuttock Hay Runners called These Are The Times and I also co-wrote the song Proud. I sang a duet with the beautiful Christine Anu on that song.
I do write and I do co-write. I’m not the strongest writer. I don’t have enough experience in the field just yet, but I’m working on improving my songwriting abilities. And, I am also working on a song for my fiancée, but I’m not quite ready to release it to the world.
I love to co-write. If I have someone to bounce off, then I can have a song written in just a few hours. When I’m on my own, I sometimes doubt my own song writing abilities and then things can just go pear-shaped from there.
MT: What’s it like touring this incredible country of ours and being able to connect with so many people while on the road?
Jason: Great question! Everywhere I play, I have the opportunity to meet new people. It’s really an honour to be able to travel around this big beautiful country of ours and thank the people who have supported me in my career, as well as make new friends along the way. Some days I feel like I’m in a dream. I honestly can’t believe that this is my life! I’m literally living my dreams.
MT: Where do you currently spend most of your time when you’re not on the road?
Jason: At the moment I’m spending a lot of time at home and working on new music.
I’ve got a brand new team of people working around me and I’m excited to be working with them on new ideas and projects.
Recently, I got engaged. So, wedding plans have also started to begin.
MT: What do you like doing in any spare time you may have apart from touring and recording music?
Jason: I love my golf and play a bit of golf - well I try to! I also shoot clay targets. I’ve been a clay target shooter since I was 12-years-old. And I enjoy going down to the beach when I can. But with my work, it’s a bit hard to do my hobbies because there is a lot of travelling involved.
MT: Where do you call home now?
Jason: I’m currently living on the Central Coast, but ‘home' will always be the bush for me. Seven years now, I’ve been travelling backwards and forwards - travelling through cities and travelling overseas. I’ve been everywhere, but there is nothing better than going back to the country and getting some fresh air.
MT: What’s the best piece of advice that’s been given to you?
Jason: Great question!
The one piece of advice that has remained with me is - ‘to be yourself and never change’. I think people respect you more as a person when you remain true to yourself. Another two pieces of advice that I follow is - ‘don’t back down’ and ‘be powerful and strong’. If you want to be your very best self, you have to put in the hard work to make it happen.
MT: Do you do anything weird, crazy or otherwise before you go on stage; like a ritual?
Jason: Actually, I don’t have a ritual. I’m usually cool as a cucumber right before I go out on stage, then I’m a mess. I’m not really a mess! I’m just super excited to get out there and perform. The boys and I might have some drinks before we head out on stage to calm the nerves, but I don’t have any weird rituals. Might need to get one!
MT: Where’s the next big event or concert can people see you perform?
Jason: Bluewater Country Music Festival is my next performance. I will be playing at Broughtons at the Bay on June 8. I’m really looking forward to being apart of the Festival, hearing new music and meeting people. But most of all, I’m looking forward to having a great time and I hope the people coming to my show enjoy themselves.
Other than that, we are working on future shows, future music and getting ready to just rock’n’roll.
MT: Awesome Jason, you know, I might even get there, I need to get away and have some good chill time listening to good music.
Is there anything else you would like to mention?
Jason: All good! Thank you for your time.
Thank you so much for your time Jason, I really appreciate it.
Take a break and grab yourself some tickets to see Jason Owen perform next Saturday June 8.
When: Saturday, June 8 at 6pm;
Where: Broughtons at the Bay;
Tickets: From $32.74;
LINKS TO JASON OWEN