Our brand-new East Coast Spotlight – Jason Benoit. Jason is coming off a recent ECMA win for Fan’s Choice Video of the Year and releasing a new video for the track Two Wrongs. We caught up with Jason to chat about his music and the new shift with the current COVID situation. Check out what he has to say below.
Hi Jason, first off congratulations on your recent win! How does it feel to be the 2020 winner of the “Fans’ Choice Video of the Year”?
It feels incredible, thank you! The fact that this is my first ECMA award is so amazing in itself but having it be a Fans Choice award makes it so much more incredible. Fans choice is what every artist dreams of. The fans are why we do this so I’m incredibly honored to get this award.
The video was of course for your song “Slow Hand”, feat Leah Daniels. Tell us a bit more about that track. You are following in the footsteps of the Pointer Sisters and Conway Twitty, but took it in your own direction.
Over the last few years I’ve had the song “Slow Hand” in my live show and it’s always had a great response with the fans so we decided to record it. When we were recording it, it sounded great but thought how could we go above and beyond to make it better for the fans. We decided to ask our friend Leah Daniels and luckily she was on board with it, which brought the track to a whole new level. To my knowledge we are the first to release this song as a duet and it works really well as such.
The video was directed by Leah’s partner, former MuchMusic VJ Tim Deegan. How did that all get started? What was it like working with such a heavy hitting Canadian power couple?
Tim was known to produce some amazing videos and content for Leah and others, so it was an easy decision to go with him on this video. They are both so down to earth and easy to work with. It truly was a pleasure and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
That song is off your most recent album Revolution Pt 1. Revolution Pt 1 is a 7-song album, in which, I have to say, has no weak tracks. I think personally, my favorite track is ‘Endless Love’ you wrote that when you were quite young, what made you come back and revisit it?
That means a lot, thank you. The album choices got made between me, my management, and my record label. I was down in Nashville and was looking at some old tracks I had written when I was younger to see if I could rework something to make it sound more modern. “Endless Love” was a favorite of mine which I’m glad I decided to rework and bring back to life. It was one of the first added to the EP.
You are relatively new on the scene, breaking out in 2013, but your first album “Waves” really put you on the map in 2015. What were some of the inspirations and influences that went into that album?
“Waves” is a mix of the best songs I wrote over a 3-year period. There were many influences that made these songs come to life but I think the biggest influence was the style and quality of country that was being produced at the time. The sounds of Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, and Eric Church were a huge inspiration. For so long I only listened to Classic and 90s country, that style with what was being produced in the 2010s, brought an amazing new country style that really resonated with me. The “Waves” album is the result.
“Gone Long Gone” off that album just shot to the top of the Canadian music charts. Peaking at 7, how does it feel being just a small-town family man from Stephenville to having a top 10 hit?
It was (and still is) an absolute dream come true. It actually has since been Canadian Gold certified. The success of the song is beyond anything I ever could have asked for coming from such a small town. I hope this will show small town kids that, if it’s meant to be, anything truly is possible.
That album also won you a 2015 CCMA (Canadian Country Music Award). Compared to now, how do you feel you have grown as an artist/performer?
This business is always changing and evolving and as an artist the same thing is expected. One thing I have learned is there is no perfect formula. Just keep listening to what’s new, take inspiration from what resonates, and just keep on writing and releasing what you think the fans will love. In regards to performing, in the beginning I had a lot of anxiety about performing live and it actually was what I enjoyed least about this business. Now live is what I love best. I’m learning and growing right along with my career. It’s a journey and I’m truly loving it.
Speaking of your family, you have 3 children, is its difficult touring and being separate from them? How do you balance that work-family balance?
I’ve been travelling and touring since they were born so they are definitely used to me being gone for parts of the year. I’m so blessed to have a supportive wife who is amazing with the kids so I can focus on work when I’m working. I couldn’t do this without her. The hardest part is sometimes missing a birthday or the first day of school. But it’s a price we pay as a family. We are all aware of how lucky I truly am to be a professional singer/songwriter.
Now you‘re not just a country fan, I read that you are a huge fan of the iconic Beach Boys. Tell us a bit about how and why you got into them?
When I was a kid, my parents listened to mainly country and classic Rock & Roll. I remember as a kid listening to my mom’s “Beach Boys Greatest Hits” cassette and falling in love with the phenomenal harmonies and melodies. I remember how their music made me feel so much and this began my love affair with music from then onwards.
You have played a wide assortment of shows from Cavendish Beach music fest to Boots and Hearts. What has been some of your favorite memories of the road, or a specific show you have played?
It may sound funny but when I look back on it, it’s always the fans that I remember. Hearing the fans sing along with songs that I wrote and having people line up for a picture or an autograph is so humbling and touching. The more energetic they are the better I perform. It’s a beautiful thing.
Since we have all been isolating during Covid, you have undertaken a huge project in the form of your weekly Friday night Lockdown. What made you decide to use this time to interact with fans, the format?
I’ve never actually done a live stream show before the covid situation, I didn’t really know what to expect. As there were so many people affected, I thought, well, if nobody can get out on a Friday night to see a show, I’ll do my best to bring the show to them. I was very lucky to have people tuning in from all over the world to listen to a few songs and have a drink with me on a Friday night. Even though I have stopped doing these live streams on a weekly basis, I definitely will keep doing live stream shows from now on. It’s entertaining for the fans and also for me. It’s something I truly have fun doing.
You recently released your latest track “Two Wrongs”. I have to say, it has all the markings of a hit. Can we expect any more secret tracks coming out this year? What else does 2020 have is store from Jason Benoit?
Well, if I tell you it wouldn’t be a secret, would it? Hahaha. We still have a surprise or two in the works, yes.
Thank you for your time, I think this will be a great spotlight. Last question: any local artists, restaurants, that you want to highlight or are excited to get back to? And what do you want to say to your fans?
I’d just like to thank the fans for their incredible support after all these years. I wouldn’t have the level of success I have today without them.
I’d also like to thank media outlets like you for shining the spotlight on us artists. You help get the word out to new fans and it’s truly appreciated. Thank you.
The East Coast Spotlight – Jason Benoit is a wrap. We want to say thanks to Jason for taking the time to chat with us and give us a little more insight into who he is.
Take a look and the video for the single Two Wrongs here
Keep up with anything Jason right here and keep updated.
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