From the March issue of CHARGED magazine…
Everyone has a friend or ten who graduated from business school to go on to practical, yet perhaps unglamorous careers in finance, or accounting. Taiwanese-American singer Jason Chen started down that path, but quickly realized he had a greater talent to share with the world.
Jason studied business economics while attending UCLA (he graduated in 2010), and while in college his roommates saw his singing potential and encouraged him to sing cover songs and upload them to YouTube. It’s a good thing he did — he’s tackled everything from Bruno Mars (“Grenade”, “Just The Way You Are”), Nelly (“Just A Dream”) and even Beyonce (“If I Were A Boy”) to slightly less R&B and more eastern grooves like Wang Leehom (“Still In Love With You”) and David Tao (“Regular Friends”) netting him millions of views. He’s even caught the eye of celebs like Ryan Seacrest who posted his collabocover of Eminem’s Lighters on his website.
Although gaining fame from creating unique renditions of other artists’ songs, Jason says he wants to focus on his own music. “Long-term-wise, I want to get more into writing and also producing. I really want to stay away from ‘the guy who does covers,’ says Jason. “Because I think everyone out there doing music would want to create original songs and not always get stuck with covers – so as soon as I felt like I got my own little following that cared about original music, I started doing them.”
Perusing the list of tracks that appear when you Google Jason Chen’s name, it’s clear he draws inspiration from urban and pop genres. He cites Bruno Mars, Ne-Yo and Chris Brown as influences, and even a familiar boy band from the 90s. “I really like [the] Backstreet Boys. I kind of denied it when I was younger, but I did like them.”
On the other side of the spectrum, Jason says he would love the opportunity one day to work with Asian artists like his favorites Leehom, JJ Lin and Khalil Fong. The humble singer recently threw a concert in China in December and is looking forward to expanding more into that industry.
“The only thing holding me back is I don’t really understand the way things work [there] in the entertainment industry. I know it’s a lot different compared to here so I am a little hesitant. But I would love to.”
When asked what gets him CHARGED, Jason says it is to one day to bump into a stranger who is playing his music in their car or on their iPod and truly enjoying it.
“It’s a great feeling for me to make a song and have a lot of people listening to it. That’s what keeps me going.”