When I heard U2’s songs ‘Bad’ and ‘Unforgettable Fire’, that changed my life. That was the moment I decided singing is what I wanted to do” – this according to Jason Shand, is what ignited the musical torchlight in him.
Jason Shand, a New York City-born and raised singer, songwriter, and recording artist. Although he started music after college, Jason has done so much for himself in developing himself that he auditioned for a band in Boston and later became their frontman.
He admits the band really helped in perfecting his craft, but after some time the artistic dream in him was heightening, and as a result, he had to go solo, he began to write his own song since then, he took inspiration from for his personal life and his surroundings.
More of this was shared in a recent interview with Mister Styx of Musicarenagh, in the interview Jason Shand shed more light on his latest single ‘Selfish Bitch”
“Selfish Bitch’ is about an individual who has trouble fitting into the world around them and as a defense mechanism may come off as very selfish due to the hurt and heartache they experience… or perhaps they are simply just very selfish, but it’s hard to get a handle on where the one possibility delineates from the other.
Listen to Selfish Bitch
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What is your stage name?
Is there a story behind your stage name?
No, that’s my name. 🙂
Where do you find inspiration?
I’m generally a slice of life songwriter. I write about what’s going on around me, what’s going on in my life, or the lives of others that I observe, much to my family and friends chagrin.
What was the role of music in the early years of your life?
Always loved music and loved all kinds. If it’s a good song, I love it, no matter the genre.
Are you from a musical or artistic family?
Kind of but not really? Growing up, my mother played piano in the house and she was very good… but it was more of a hobby as she was a United Nations diplomat. I was a United Nations kid. I wasn’t surrounded by musicians/artists.
Although I do recall a United Nations colleague of my mom was a singer on the side – he played a recording he had done – he was actually pretty good – and I remember being fascinated by that… but too shy to inquire further. I must have been 8 – 10 years old.
Who inspired you to be a part of the music industry?
When I heard U2’s songs ‘Bad’ and ‘Unforgettable Fire’, that changed my life. That was the moment I decided singing is what I wanted to do. Peter Gabriel and Seal would also inspire me. Perhaps I should back track and say my older cousin inspired me as it’s her record collection that I listened to. Throw in Queen and the Eagles as well.
How did you learn to sing/write/to play?
I didn’t pursue music until after college. That’s when I gathered up the courage to go and try an audition. It was an unknown world to me. My first audition was for a rock band in New York City, and I practiced so hard for this audition and by the time it came about, I had no voice left.
My voice would break whenever I would try to reach a high note, and it should’ve been very embarrassing for me. I didn’t know how to sing back then. I didn’t know how to sing from my diaphragm, etc. But the weird thing is, I left the audition feeling fantastic that I had put myself through that. That I had garnered the courage.
A year later, I would audition for a band in Boston. These guys were consummate musicians and the principle songwriter was fantastic. They all went to either Oberlin or Berkeley. They were a headlining band, and they took me with the condition that I get voice lessons.
So with my first band and only band that I was ever in, I crammed learning how to sing, and learning how to be a front man, and unknown to me at the time, I was soaking up how to write songs as well… good songs. I lucked out finding these guys. They taught me work ethic.
I had written only one song during my five years with this band. But it’s only after I left that band when I tapped into songwriting big time. I had no choice. I left the band because the artist in me was beginning to assert itself, and I wanted different things in the way the music was arranged. But having not written many songs at that time, no one would really listen to me. I had to go off on my own and it was a hard thing to do but I’m happy I did.
What was the first concert that you ever went to and who did you see perform?
Tina Turner. Simply incredible.
How could you describe your music?
Art rock? Adult alternative? Thinking man’s pop? Obviously, I’m under the umbrella of pop music. And there are many influences: rock, electronic, singer songwriter… I do my own thing I guess?
Describe your creative process.
As mentioned before, I write about things that are going on in my life. And it just hits me when it does. I go through creative spurts. Sometimes I’m dry like the Sahara desert idea wise, other times it’s very fertile ground. Depends if I’m inspired. But I may have a melody or a lyric that will hit me which would be the tree trunk of the song, and then the branches would write themselves, sometimes very fast, or sometimes painfully slow.
‘Selfish Bitch’ was mostly written fast, but it waited probably eight or nine months for the second chorus lyrics to finally come to me.
What is your main inspiration?
Interpersonal relationships whether they be romantic, platonic, familial. They are so complex.
What musician do you admire most and why?
Peter Gabriel? He’s just so cool.
Did your style evolve since the beginning of your career?
For sure. After leaving the rock band in Boston, it took me quite some time to find myself as I was on the sidelines for a while, just soaking it all in. I would record things but not release them. I was always tinkering. Glad that is behind me.
I’m proud to have come to a place where I write my own music and lyrics and produce my own tracks. And I release them lol! It’s a blessing. I’ve become what I’ve envisioned and I’m so thankful.
Who do you see as your main competitor?
Me. I don’t have a mentality of looking at other musicians as competitors.
What are your interests outside of music?
Tennis. I used to be very good. Wanted to be a professional tennis player. That did not work out but I’m still very passionate about the sport.
If it wasn’t a music career, what would you be doing?
Anything but a desk job. That would kill me.
What is the biggest problem you have encountered in the journey of music?
In this digital era, there’s so much noise and peoples attention spans are fleeting. I just put my head down and keep doing what I love.
If you could change one thing in the music industry, what would it be?
Artists getting paid what they deserve to be paid.
Why did you choose this as the title of this project?
‘Selfish Bitch’ organically evolved into the topic of not knowing what’s beneath the surface of someone in juxtaposition to how they come across.
‘Selfish Bitch’ is about an individual who has trouble fitting into the world around them and as a defense mechanism may come off as very selfish due to the hurt and heartache they experience… or perhaps they are simply just very selfish, but it’s hard to get a handle on where the one possibility delineates from the other.
The symbol of forgiveness is featured on the artwork for the single – the message being that one never knows what’s going on beneath the surface and that forgiveness and understanding may be in order… or maybe not.
What are your plans for the coming months?
I’ve done a lot of recording and will be releasing a few singles for the next few months. I plan to start playing out again in 2024 as I’ve been on a hiatus from the stage since February of this year.
Do you have any artistic collaboration plans?
Nothing defined. Working on it. 🙂
What message would you like to give to your fans?
Singles aplenty are coming, and see you on stage in ’24!!