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  • Annette Dawm

A Brighter Day with JoJo Mason

Just a few days prior to the announcement that he would be going on tour with Meghan Patrick and the James Barker Band, JoJo Mason headlined London, Ontario’s first ever Feast Fest on September 22, 2017. When asked what he was most looking forward to that night, he enthusiastically replied:

“Eating! No, I’m excited to be on that stage! You know, we go through these phases and it’s almost like seasons of performances. So, all summer you’ll perform and then there will be like, a solid break in between and then you get back on the stage. I’m just so lucky and so blessed to be able to continue to be on the stage so it’s cool for me. That’s what I’m looking forward to most, getting back on that stage!”

2017 has been a year of “firsts” for JoJo which included his first arena tour with Chad Brownlee and Tim Hicks, the release of his first album, Both Sides of the Bar and his first CCMA Award nomination for Rising Star. That being said, if someone was just discovering JoJo Mason’s music for the first time, he would laugh and tell them,

“That I’m not the worst! I want people to know how much I love doing what I do!” Regardless of the crowd size, JoJo explained, “You just go and have the best time and put all of you into it. That’s one thing I love to do, being on stage. I love to just do what I do and put a show on for everybody-- no matter how big, no matter how small the venue, no matter how many people show up! Five people, five hundred people, five thousand people, it doesn’t matter! I just love putting on a good show!”

When Mason was asked about his greatest musical influences, he happened to be sitting on a park bench facing Centennial Hall, where an ad for Kenny G’s Christmas show popped up on the screen. This was both an exciting and disappointing moment for JoJo:

“Oh my God! I was just about to say, ‘Mr. Kenny G is one of my favourites’ and I just saw he’s coming to Centennial and I’m not even going to be here! This is killing me!” He also named Boyz II Men as one of his favourite groups “because vocally, I’ve always wanted to be able to do some of the crazy acrobatics that these guys can do. I love my soul music. I love country music. I love mixing them together, so that’s what I’m going to be doing and that’s what I want to bring to the country world, ‘Soul Country’”.

While taking his Soul Country out on the road with Tim Hicks and Chad Brownlee, Mason claimed that he experienced “one of the coolest moments” he’s ever had. “I showed up to the venue and I sat. I had to take a minute. People have been saying to me, ‘if you’re playing these big shows and you’re going through all these things, it’s so easy to get lost in it. It’s so easy to forget to just take a minute’. So what I did was, I went into the very back, into the top of the bleachers and I stared down before anybody had got there. It was an empty stage and I sat there and I just [took a] deep breath in/deep breath out and it was incredible!”

Prior to becoming a part of the country music scene, JoJo suffered an injury which concluded his hockey career. Luckily, from an early age, his father taught him to appreciate every situation he encountered while becoming familiar with the phrase, “When one door closes, another one opens”. However, this way of thinking wasn’t always easy for him to accept:

“I will tell you right now, my dad always taught me since I was really, really little—we’re not a super religious family but—he always taught me to just believe in the process. Right? Believe in the process, know that there’s always a brighter day. Literally, if you’re going through Hell, you’ve just got to believe that it’s going to be okay. So, you know, it was hard for me. It’s easier said than done, of course. When I was going through my stuff, I didn’t see the end—the light at the end of the tunnel, but, you keep trucking along and you keep ‘doing you’, and just know that if it’s not okay now, it will be.”

Recently, with the release of his new album, Both Sides of the Bar, JoJo Mason discovered that his own music has been a comfort to others during their tough times as well, which has been a shock to him. “It’s been crazy! It’s really cool to see the impact that we’ve been having on some people. I got a message the other day from somebody saying that they’re going through a really hard time and my music is helping them! So that’s why we do it! As a musician, that’s what you want. You want to have an impact on somebody’s life through your music. So that’s been the biggest surprise is how receptive everybody is, and has been, and hopefully continues to be!”

JoJo admitted that he goes through phases as to which songs on the CD are his favourite, but there are many more to come, hopefully in 2018! “We demoed so many songs that we are so in love with that we wanted to release, but there’s not enough room on the disc! So now we’re hanging onto them and we might be putting out another one. We’ve got a lot of stuff in the works too, so stick with me!”

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Photo by Annette Dawm

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