Singer, songwriter and original founding member of the iconic Australian Band Taxiride, Jason Singh has been entertaining audiences for over 20 years. With Taxiride came countless accolades, nine top 40 hit singles including the top five hits "Get Set", "Everywhere You Go", and the most played song on Australian radio in 2002 "Creepin' Up Slowly". As a solo artist, Jason has had two Top 10 ARIA club hits with "The World As You Know It" and "One World". In 2013, he released his debut solo album "Humannequin", and set a new benchmark of excellence.
Following the success of his solo album he has embarked on challenges and goals he has set himself, from writing six singles in twelve months; a solo support to John Farnham; getting up on stage with multi-Grammy nominated pop-rock trio Hanson; had a supporting cast role in Season 4 of The Real Housewives of Melbourne and released his second solo album Vale in Sep 2018, to name a few.
Fast forward to 2021 and Jason is continuing the ride his way and planning on taking us on an acoustic journey of stories, influences and insights from over 20 years of touring as the original Taxiride in his brand new show Jason Singh Plays Taxiride: Hits, Bits and Beyond. You'll see him perform Taxiride hits, some of his solo songs and some favourite covers.
Touring in four states for starters, the tour kicks off in Victoria on Friday 19 March 2021 at Arcobar, Heatherton, and continues till the end of July 2021 with more dates and venues to be added closer to date. See Jason live doing what he does best and get yourtickets here ASAP so as not to be disappointed. Stay in touch with Jason on social media (Facebook; Instagram; website) for updates and the personal moments of his life he shares with you.
The wonderful world wide web has all you need to know about Jason's journey, along with all the information he has on his social media. However, nothing beats an intimate moment with the man himself, so let me share that moment with you, thanks to the interview he granted me on Tues 2 Mar 2021. If you're a fan of the man, lap it up and come along for a ride with me.
1) CAN YOU DESCRIBE FOR ME THE MOMENT YOU KNEW YOU WANTED TO BE A SINGER? I actually remember that exact moment. I was at a bus stop and I had my headphones on. There was a young boy from my school behind the bus stop who was obviously gay and knew it at a young age and copped a lot of bullying at school, even more so than me obviously. He popped his head around the corner and said to me 'you've got a great voice, you should be a singer'. From that moment on, I just went 'yeah, I'm going to be a singer'. Simon was his name and he now lives in Ibiza, is a yoga guru, and we still keep in touch to this day.
2) DID YOU KNOW YOU HAD A GOOD VOICE? DID ANYONE IN THE FAMILY TELL YOU? My family owns restaurants and they would have loved me to go into the family business, so I sort of kept it to myself a little bit when I was younger, and that moment was the first time someone actually acknowledged .... (voice trails off in thought) - I'd always loved music but I'd never really made the connection between listening and playing the songs, you know, until I was a bit older. Yeah, that was the first moment and a beautiful sliding doors moment in my life where I went, yeah.
There's another fond memory I had when I was 7 years old. My family went around and did like a world trip... right around to see all our family and that, and when I was in San Francisco, my cousins that lived there had a radio that you could record onto a cassette and Indian family ... everyone was there, and they wanted me to record a song - Fame (and Jason breaks into song and sings Fame) .... and that was the first time I guess. I've always sung but never really looked back to see that I'd always been a singer, but I guess I have.
3) WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO PICK UP A GUITAR AT THE AGE OF 21? It was a little bit of a comfort thing but it was also a tool for songwriting - melodies I'd heard, and when I started getting into the business, I surrounded myself with really good musicians, so that sort of inspired me to want to try that as well. (I injected WERE YOU A QUICK LEARNER?) - Oh I had to be because by the time I was 24, we were touring the world.
4) WHERE'S THE STRANGEST PLACE YOU'VE SUNG OFF STAGE? Most of the places I sing are strange. With Taxiride, when we were comfortable with the music we had and were trying to shop it to record companies and things, people like Michael Gudinski (who was a leading figure in the Australian music industry and recently, suddenly passed on 1 Mar 2021 at the age of 68), he was integral in the early days of Taxiride. We would go into their offices - we'd just attack their offices and we'd stand around their desk and sort of sing to them in a quadrophonic sort of vocal, with just a couple of acoustic guitars and it was an integral part of us in becoming so successful so quickly. So that was pretty strange you know, like, we always had the ability to just turn up anywhere and play. They were nerve-racking ones and a little bit uncomfortable, so that was strange.
5) OUTSIDE OF MUSIC WHERE DO YOUR CREATIVE TALENTS LIE? I'm actually quite handy with power tools and building and stuff. During COVID last year, I pretty much put my guitars down and bought nail guns and tools and renovated my house, did the bathroom, the plumbing, electrical, all the carpentry, all the tiling, yeah. I actually quite enjoy it you know, it's very rewarding work because you can see what you've done. You renovate your bathroom and when you go to use it, you can look around and say I did that, but when you do a gig or whatever, it sort of like, disappears. Like I can answer your question about what the best bathroom I ever renovated was pretty quickly coz I remember it, but gigs, I may have deleted that from my memory - chuckles.
6) OUTSIDE OF WORK DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT NIGHT? Ahhh - look, it depends really, I've always sort of um, I like to try everything you know. The perfect night would be a night at the movies, kids, some takeaway food, and yeah, I love my family and I love hanging with my family.
7) WHAT'S THE DISH THAT REMINDS YOU OF HOME? It has to be prawn curry at my mum's house. Pork vindaloo would have been the answer but I don't eat meat anymore. I mean, I'll occasionally have some fish and some chicken, but for quite a while there I was a vegan and just trying that kind of lifestyle with a lot of vegetable curries, so now every now and again I'll have some prawn and my mum does a mean crab or prawn curry.
8) DESCRIBE ONE OF YOUR UNIQUE TALENTS THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH MUSIC ?
(He had already answered this in question 5, though they're 2 different questions that ended up with the same answer, but he good-heartedly continued to answer the question. ...) I've got every tool under the sun now, and there's nothing I couldn't do. Like where I'm talking to you from is a studio I built at home and Bunnings is very happy because I used to go there like six times a day as I'd always forget one thing and have to go back so I've built a beautiful studio here and I'm quite proud of the achievement you know. And, I can cook very well. My parents taught me. My parents owned restaurants in the city and one of them was called Kashmir and that's where I got my son's name from (the other son being Zeppelin)... and there was one on Exhibition street. After my father passed away it was just too hard. Mum did all of the work you know, and dad did all the business stuff and yeah it's a very hard thing and in the end, it was like a factory, industrial-size cooking you know.
9) WHAT'S YOUR NUMBER 2 IF YOU WEREN'T A MUSO? Look, I've always been fascinated by the stars, astronomy and you know, space. I probably would have gone down the astronomy road. I just love the thought of... I just love to look up you know, it's just so beautiful to look at on a clear night. I'd love to do something like.. literally an out of this world experience.
10) WHO WAS YOUR MENTOR ..WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU'VE EVER BEEN GIVEN? Ahhhh...look.. I have a few people that mentored me along the way. Some of them are in the music business, some are business people, some of them are just people I can relate to, listen to my friends you know, you've got to listen to more than one, you have to listen to - even your children, they can mentor you a little bit. Some of the best advice I ever had was, 'you meet the same people on the way up as you do on the way down' and it's so true.
11) HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE MUSIC YOU TYPICALLY CREATE? I would describe it as melodic, pop, feel-good music. I can write a ballad but I'm really a glass half full guy and I'm trying to be positive all the time, and so yeah, I'd say positive and a lot of pop.
12) WHAT IS YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS WHEN YOU WRITE AN ORIGINAL - YOUR CREATIVE JOURNEY WHEN YOU PUT TOGETHER AN ALBUM? For me creating the song always comes from the melody, and I can be in some strange places when I hear them, whether it's in a local shopping centre or ... once I wrote a track called 'Your Love' in a Chinese restaurant and because I record it into my phone when I get the idea, I have to hide under my t-shirt and sing into my phone. But in this particular one, you can actually hear them cooking and the woks smashing in the background. But always my songs come from melody first, music second and lyrics last, which is kind of backwards I think for most people. Most people would go lyrics first, music second and melody last. A whole album becomes a collection of time, the songs I've done this year, or a couple of years ago combined into one body of work and I try, and you can actually hear on some of my albums, the growth within the year as well, like stylistically and what's inspiring me and stuff - there's sometimes a cycle in there, but always it comes back to punk and pop music, but I like too many types of music to be able to understand my process I guess.
13) AS AN EXPERIENCED PERFORMER - HAS YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS CHANGED OR EVOLVED? Definitely some parts have changed. There's a lot more distractions now I guess and also I'm probably a bit more polished now, so - back then I had no fear and I would just play people anything, but now I'm a bit more reserved .. is it good enough, maybe I question myself a bit more. I hold back a little more until I know I've got something really good and I just give them the good ones.
14) WHAT IS THE SONG THAT INVIGORATES YOU AND YOUR AUDIENCE WITH ENERGY, THAT YOU LOVE TO PERFORM? One of my songs yeah ... probably 'Creepin' Up Slowly', that's one of my favourites, 'Get Set' - two big TAXIRiDE singles - it's just still an amazing feeling to hear people singing it. It's generally in the last set or the encore. They're my two favourites. You've got to put them in because they're so familiar to people and you always just get a buzz out of playing them.
15) DO YOU LIKE COUNTRY MUSIC? I do. I do like some of it. I was raised on Dolly Parton - my mum had it blasting every Saturday while she was doing housework - 'Islands in the Stream' and 'Coat of Many Colours' and all those amazing songs. Yeah, country music, I can get it. I was in a real heavy rock band at one stage - my biggest hero was Prince, so I'm very very confused.
16) IF YOU COULD PICK ANY GENERATION...IF YOU WERE A MUSO ON THE RISE, WHICH GENERATION IS BEST TO BE DISCOVERED? That is such a good question. Obviously, for me, it would be the 70s, 80s, and then we were discovered in the 90s - go figure. Who knows. Back then there was a whole A&R development with artists. People would sing something, A&R people from record companies would see something in somebody and develop that for two years before anyone heard anything. Now it's like how many YouTube plays have you got? A million? Great, that's my job done, I'll just sign you up. Coz there's so many acts out there that has like a great thing - they just don't have a great everything yet. The music men have all kind of - and women I should say obviously - they're not around anymore. Everyone's in a rush. Have you heard of the 7 second skit? It's about the attention span people have on social media. So if you can't get them in the first 7 seconds, then they click on to the next thing. And it's so true. I do it as well. It's true because if you don't catch someone in that first couple of seconds, it's next! You have like seconds to impress.
17) IF YOU COULD CHANGE ANYTHING ABOUT THE INDUSTRY, WHAT WOULD IT BE? You know what, this is a crazy theory but I'd like the internet to not be a thing sometimes. It's kind of put everyone in a box and no one is looking up anymore. Everyone is looking down all the time, you know what I mean, including myself, which is disappointing. "What are you looking down at?" You're looking down at your device and stuff like that. Even when you're performing, people are holding up their cameras and I'm like, just enjoy it, watch and listen. Use your memory to remember it, not your apps.
18) WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO YOUR FANS ABOUT YOUR UPCOMING TOUR? WHAT ARE YOU OFFERING THEM - WHAT WILL THEY SEE THAT'S NEW, FRESH AND DIFFERENT? The different things I'm doing in this is that I'm stripping all the songs right back obviously, but the title of the tour is 'Hits, Bits and Beyond', and obviously I play all the hits, but the bits section of it is where the fans will, especially the Taxiride fans will enjoy, because there's a lot of the B-sides on the albums that we never played that really were important to the fans early on. When we came out with 'Imagine', we only had one album 42 mins long or something and we have to play an hour and a half or whatever, so we ended up playing all the B-sides. When you're selling like a hundred thousand singles, those B sides are really popular as well. And then after we brought out a couple more albums, we didn't really play them anymore, so it's really a throwback to the start in a way, and then the beyond section is everything I've done beyond Taxiride. I've had a couple of solo albums with some amazing people, producers and other artists, so showcasing some of those songs, as well as a few songs from bands that really influenced the band's journey, so for example, we ended up touring with Matchbox 20 in Australia, so there was a big thrust into a different direction there, so yeah, a few of those bands we toured with and inspired the bands a little bit, so we're playing a couple of those songs as well.
HOW DID YOU GO ABOUT MAKING THE SONG CHOICES? I've taken the social media angle a little bit on what to play and the response has been good and there's a lot of requests for the same songs that makes me feel like I'm on the right path for this tour. HOW MANY OF YOUR ORIGINALS WILL YOU BE PLAYING? I have a few of them ready from the 'Humannequin' album, 4 or 5 and a couple off 'Vale' which is an album I created a couple of years ago, so yeah, it's half and half. Half inside and half outside Taxiride.
I SAW THAT YOU HAD MERCHANDISE GOING ON TOUR WITH YOU. Yeah, I have a friend that runs this company and shes' like, you can put anything on anything, and I'm like, ok, great, what are we going to have an apron, and oven mitts - because I love to cook .. the Jason Singh screwdriver set .. (laughs). You know you get an opportunity to pick something up at the end of the show and you can always go OK, I'll have a t-shirt and a hat but I don't know, I wanted to do stuff that I would use, that I would wear.
20) WHEN WILL THE TICKETS FOR THE LATER MONTHS BE RELEASED? Going to 4 states, SA as well for the second half of the dates, and going to far out regional places as well. The first half of the tour was booked 9 months ago and as we spoke about it and stuff, it got more and more people interested and kept adding shows and now we're nearly at 30 shows and it's like crazy. I'm really happy. Everyone just wants to be taken back on a journey and that's what I love about music. It takes you back to a time when you heard that music. It's like let's get the hell out of here and go back to the 90s. It's going to be awesome. YOU ARE HAVING SPECIAL SURPRISES? Look, there's always a surprise at my show, and I don't know what they are until they happen as well.. (]chuckles).. but something funny usually happens and you never know. I'm not going to give that one away.
21) WHO'S GOING TO BE ON STAGE WITH YOU .. ON TOUR? I'm going out with a keyboard player and myself. But with the two of us, we've got .... he's playing, loops and left base and keys and guitar and vocals and it's all there and it just sounds mighty. I'll always have someone on the stage with me, yeah. It's hard to have a party by yourself. I've got two keyboard players that are doing the whole tour - Jason Dean and Daniel Agius. They're Melbourne musicians and we've worked together in the past, and they're fantastic.
22) WHAT'S NEXT AFTER THE TOUR? You know, the tour is going all the way through to the end of July now, so let me get through that and I'm planning on doing some recording this year and maybe putting something out at the end of the year, but just to stay busy and stay playing music. We've already had enough time off, so let's go! YOU HAVE YOUR OWN COMPANY AS WELL DON'T YOU? Yes, Umbrella Entertainment Group. My manager has just walked in and I'm like, this is the most researched interview ever. (Laughs). I've got another interview coming and they've rung twice now. Just hold for one second. (On that note, while waiting - Jason and his manager Clair do everything in regard to managing Umbrella Entertainment. He returns to the call). We've produced some shows and we've booked venues, we do all sorts of stuff, we're becoming a little like ... we're just the... just come to us! He laughs heartily. We've got you covered; Umbrella is the name of the group; BOOM! - laughs.
23) WHAT INTRINSIC / ARTISTIC SKILLS HAVE YOU PASSED ON TO YOUR CHILDREN? Not at all actually. Not at all. They can do whatever they want in their life, it's their life. ARE THEY IMPRESSED WITH DAD? Sometimes they are, yeah...
I thanked Jason for all his time, and I really look forward to seeing the man, the music and the magic - not to mention merchandise, at his show. Hope you are too! Spoil yourself with a night of entertainment, book in for a dinner before the show, grab some souvenirs and just sit back and enjoy and let Jason entertain you. Create memories while supporting our local talent. It's a win-win. If you need Umbrella Entertainment, you know who to call!