A great pop song is easy to spot, but hard to create. That’s why singer/songwriter Jason Poe is obsessed with creating cleverly crafted hooks, relying on a piano and leaving his acoustic guitar behind. His catchy choruses and thoughtful lyrics leave listeners wanting more. Taking cues from musical greats like Paul McCartney and Brian Wilson, Jason has positioned himself somewhere in the musical spectrum between Aqualung and The Fray.
In April of 2010, Jason embarked on a songwriting exercise of writing, recording and producing 7 songs in 7 days, and releasing them immediately to his fans. The results were 7 inspiring, well-structured pop gems. This nose to the grindstone exercise proved Jason’s dedication to arranging a genuine original song, and allowing his fans access to a true and fresh songwriting experience.
Two of Jason’s “7 in 7″ songs are featured on the new album “Now is the Winter,” which takes it’s title from the opening line of Shakespeare’s “Richard III” – “Now is the winter of our discontent.” The title alludes to the themes of discontent and hope which weave themselves through each track on the album.
Jason’s songwriting abilities have won him loyal fans ranging from his roots in the Midwest to Austin, Texas, the live music capitol of the world. Producer CJ Eiriksson (U2, Matchbox Twenty, Jack’s Mannequin, The Rocket Summer) helped Jason fine tune his first solo album which was released in September 2010.
How do you describe your music to people, Jason?
I call it "atmospheric piano pop." I love bands like U2, and Radiohead, so the "atmospheric" side comes from those influences. I also have a lot of admiration for great songwriters like Paul McCartney and Brian Wilson, so that's where the "pop" comes in. You can probably guess why the "piano" is there.
Tell me about how you originally got into your craft.
When I was in kindergarten, my parents had me start taking piano lessons. I continued taking lessons until I was 16. At that time I decided piano wasn't cool, but guitar was, so I started learning how to play guitar. I also started trying to write songs at that point. A few years ago I decided that piano was cool again, so I started back on the piano.
What is your favorite thing to do in the whole wide world?
This isn't the most rock-n-roll answer in the world, but spending time with my wife is my favorite thing. There are always a ton of tasks when trying to pursue music and hold down a full-time job. So when I am able to set aside time to spend with my wife, it makes my day a lot better.
What is your biggest challenge when it comes to running your business?
Probably balance between my personal life and the business. My nature is to focus on one thing and to continue to work on it until the task is complete. Sometimes this is good, but it can often be bad. I have to stop myself from working, and from being consumed with the next task.
When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
Up until I was about 15, I was pretty certain I would be playing in the NBA. I guess I didn't understand that most NBA franchises don't have a need for a 5'10'' point guard with average to below average skills.
In what way has your community impacted your development as a musician?
Growing up in Missouri, there weren't a lot of bands, so those of us that were in bands kind of stuck together and fed off each other. All the bands we knew were in a friendly unspoken competition to outdo each other. Honestly, it really elevated everyone's abilities, both as promoters and songwriters. At the same time, we were always at each others' shows wanting to see what the others had come up with, and why we hadn't thought of it first.
What other artists out there do you love?
I'm a child of the 90's, so I have an unhealthy love of The Smashing Pumpkins. I also gobble up Radiohead, and pretty much anything from the brit-pop era of the 90's.
What does your future hold?
I'll be working on a new music video over the next month, and will be gearing up for SXSW again. I'll also be going through another 7-in-7 project soon, where I write and record 7 songs in 7 days. I'll be giving each song away on my website during that week. Beyond that, I just hope to continue churning out better and better songs.