Jason Parsons is an experienced musician eager to help established and emerging artists develop their live performances.
“The moment you take your music from your rehearsal space onto the stage,” says Parsons, “it’s no longer about you — it’s about the audience. You only have one chance to impress that audience, and I’m the guy [you] call when [you] want to look good in the live venue.”
Stage presence divides “good” musicians from “great” musicians, claims Parsons.
“So many artists spend money printing posters, but so few take even a percentage of that money and invest it in their live show.” Given “80 to 90 per cent” of an artist’s revenue is generated by live performances, artists can no longer get away with being good musicians — they must also be good performers, Parsons explains.
The music industry has changed drastically in recent years; CD sales are slumping in an era where listeners can easily and inexpensively download tracks online, he continues. Musicians make their living on tour, delivering the concerts for which no digital substitute exists.
With over 20 years of experience in the music industry, Parsons has “been in the trenches” and seen firsthand the importance of delivering a first-class live performance.
He has enjoyed membership with a handful of bands — most notably Surrender, a Christian rock group whose debut EP reached the No. 4 spot on the U.S. Christian Indie Top 40 in the ‘90s. His work with the band confirmed Jason’s belief that delivering a good live show is essential to a successful career in music.
Surrender went from opening act to headliner at a 1997 music conference in Nashville when Tom Jackson (who has trained the likes of Taylor Swift and The Band Perry) taught Parsons the basic elements of a strong live performance.
Parsons says the band improved “1,000 per cent” under “the king of live performance‘s” guidance, and he hopes to share the art of performing with local artists.
With roots in the Maritimes and a wealth of experience travelling, Parsons has encountered a rich assortment of musical “flavours”; yet he’s known since his first visit that our local scene is special.
“The thing that’s unique about the Island music scene,” says Parsons, who moved to the Valley last August from Saskatchewan, “is it’s incredibly artistic.”
Parsons suspects their exceptional creativity makes Comox Valley musicians the ideal candidates for performance coaching.
“I don’t mean to offend anyone – it’s actually a compliment — but because we’re so unique and artistic here, we feel that people automatically love us. But that’s not the case.
“Just because we love what we do, doesn’t mean everybody else does. So we have to sell what we do.”
Parsons wants to help musicians sell themselves as unique individuals.
“I’m not there to change who they are,” he clarifies, “I’m there to bring out who they are.”
Parsons partnered as a sponsor for this year’s Vancouver Island Music Awards, and will help select nominees and winners develop their live performances.
He welcomes artists of all genres to make use of his expertise, and conducts his training sessions in person and over Skype. He is offering his services at a 45-per-cent discount until June 30; live sessions are $40 per hour, and he will happily negotiate Skype prices.
To contact Parsons, set up a lesson, or learn more about his work, check out his website at www.jason-parsons.com.