I had the wonderful experience of getting to chat with Canadian Country artist, Jason Blaine! He will be making his way back to Atlantic Canada next week as he opens for Rascal Flatts during the Halifax stop of their “Rhythm and Roots” tour. Here’s what he had to say when we chatted!
SM: I cannot wait to see your return to the Maritimes as an opener for Rascal Flatts! Are you excited about coming back to the East Coast?
JB: I love getting to come back to the Maritimes, and I love Halifax, and I imagine it’s going to be gorgeous in August. So you’ll be there!?
SM: Of course, I wouldn’t miss it!
JB: I am really looking forward to that show; I’ve been a huge Rascal Flatts fan since their first single, “Praying for Daylight” came out. It’s gonna be a huge thrill for me to play for, what I’m guessing, is a sold out audience in Halifax.
SM: You’ve been on the scene for a long time! This year, in particular has been pretty amazing with the award wins and nominations – What’s your perspective on the year, so far?
JB: Oh, my gosh! Everything kind of kicked off when we released the title track from the record, “Country Sides.” It actually came out at the top of 2015, but it just went on forever on Country Radio across Canada, it went on to become the most played song of the year. It was just crazy! I won some awards for it, and it really set up a whole tour that I did last year, which actually kicked off in Halifax, with my friends Tebey and James Otto at Casino NS. It was a great place to kick off that tour, a big success for us and so much fun! Then, the album came out in October when the tour kicked off and we had a couple more singles like, “Spotlight” which was a big hit for us. Then, I did this really special song called, “Dance with my Daughter”, that was just really inspired by going to father/daughter dances with my own daughters. It was a really sweet experience, so in true songwriter fashion, I wrote a song about it. We ended up shooting a whole music video inspired by the whole event. It was really fan-driven, because I didn’t ever expect to put it out to radio, but we did and it was well-received. It got 120,000+ views on YouTube. So many amazing fans have wrote to me about the song, or sent me footage of them dancing with their father at their wedding. So there was a balance of those fun songs, and just songs about life. That really sums up my career, and I think I have maintained that over the past decade.
SM: I find your writing, in particular resonates so much with fans. I’m so glad you decided to release “Dance with my Daughter.” Your music is good, and wholesome, and lately with a lot of the music that’s out you don’t hear a lot songs like that anymore. It’s such a thing to be valued, and I truly commend you on all of your heard work to produce the beautiful songs that you do. One question I love to ask artists, especially songwriters is, what do you love most about music?
JB: Well, I think that music comes from a very spiritual place; it comes straight from Heaven and really is in the fabric of humanity. Whether it’s background music, or in the scene of your favorite movie, like “Star Wars,”” Indiana Jones,”” Superman,” or any another Oscar winning picture. It could be a song you dance to at a wedding. It can be something that triggers a very powerful memory in your life. Music is all around us. I think that as people, we really just need music in our lives sometimes. There’s a lot of things going on in the world of music and music publishing and finding out how musicians and songwriters can be compensated for their work is very controversial, with some of the rules that come down, which is amazing to me as a songwriter, myself. I look around and I can see how much music really is a part of our daily lives. For me, music has been a part of my life since I was a little kid, and I love the feeling I get from starting from a blank sheet of paper, with a guitar and perhaps one of my co-writers and birthing a song into this world, and hopefully touch somebody’s heart and have it mean something, like so many have been for me.
SM: In terms of song writing, do have any favorite people you like to write with, or collaborate with, or perhaps a bucket list of people you’d like to work with down the road, so to speak?
JB: I’ll definitely mention my friend, Deric Ruttan. He’s probably one of the most gifted and hard-working songwriters that I know. We’ve had much success together, starting with “They Don’t Make Em’ Like That Anymore,” which started out as a tribute to my Grandparents, and their love story and eventually became my signature song, and it actually won me my first CCMA (Canadian Country Music Award) in 2012 for, “Single of the Year.” We’ve also written songs like, “Cool,” which was also a big success for us. We’ve also written some real fun song that really resonates with the live fans like, “Rock It Country Girl” and “Country Side.” Those two in particular are a big part of the live set. We collaborate often, and I am just so happy for him. He’s written a couple of Blake Shelton’s number one songs in recent years. He’s probably one of my favorite collaborators that I’ve had a lot of success with. I also had the chance to write with one of my all-time musical heroes two years back by the name of Steve Wariner. He’s a Grand Ole Opry Member, a Grammy Award Winner. He’s written countless songs for Garth Brooks like, “Longneck Bottle.” We wrote a song together on my “Sweet Sundown” record called, “Home is a Highway.” It’s a real kind of bluesy, guitar driven song, and it was a real surreal experience. Aside from that, I have so many wonderful co-writers to write with here in Nashville like four, or five days a week. Too many to even mention!
SM: As I stated before, your songs are very relatable. When you go to write a song, is that your initial intention when you sit down to write?
JB: I try to be intentional when I write, and of course it’s changed over the years from the time when I put my first record out. I was a really young man of 25 years old, and I only wrote about what I learned about life in that amount of time. This year I turned 36 and just became a father of four. I’ve lived a lot of life in the past decade, and I’ve said good bye to friends and to family. I’ve experienced the highest highs and the lowest lows. I’ve also been lucky enough to tour from coast to coast across Canada, and meet some incredible fans and get to hear their stories. So, some of my music might be true to just me, or it could just be a story I’ve heard that maybe a fan told me that I was inspired by.
SM: Country music seems to be the most type of relatable and honest genres in recent years.
JB: That’s how I look at it as well. Whenever I’m writing and recording music, I stop and look at it like, “What do I want this song to be used for?” Sometimes you just want to make somebody’s start playlist, or be the soundtrack to a good summer, or good time at a music festival. Then, you want to have something that becomes a part of somebody’s life on a more personal level, like with “Dance with my Daughter.” I can’t tell you how much it warmed my heard to learn that people would be dancing to this song at their wedding, and inviting me into their own personal stories. That’s probably the highest honour. I just want the songs I write to be true for somebody.
You can purchase Jason’s latest album, “Country Side” on his website and it’s also available for download on iTunes.
Be sure to catch Jason Blaine and Rascal Flatts on Thursday, August 18th at the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax.
**Doors are open at 7:00 PM, with the show starting at 8:00 PM
**Tickets will be available from the Ticket Atlantic box office, at all participating Atlantic Superstores, by phone at 902-451-1221 and online.
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