His intensely soulful voice sounds like he jumped out of an old episode of Soul Train and into the present. Jason Walker, however, didn’t come from an era of Afros and flamingo pink vests. Walker is a young, gay white man with soul, trying to make it as an artist in a time when most people with dreams like his play guitar for coins on the street.
Because of the Out Music Award winner’s impressive vocal range, which gives the singer/songwriter's disco musical style a deep emotional edge, Walker manages to recall the 70s, but keep his music current, allowing him to stand out amongst his peers.
On Aug. 10, this youngblood will bring his heartfelt sound and passion to The Manor in Fort Lauderdale. His set will include his new reimagining of the Taylor Dayne classic “Tell It To My Heart.”
As he prepares for his SoFla appearance, the uber-sexy and talented Walker chatted with SFGN about his life and his music.
SFGN: Tell us more about who Jason Walker is. Can you share your coming out story?
Walker: I'm originally from Pittsburgh, Pa., but for the past twelve years I've lived in Brooklyn, N.Y. As far as a coming out story, I was going through a tough time trying to conceal who I was and just coming to terms with who I was. So I wrote a letter to myself, just to write, to feel better. Since I really couldn't talk to anyone this was the only way to feel better.
After I wrote it, I hid it. My mother, being the snoop that she was, lol, was naturally concerned about her child and did what any mother would try to do to figure out what was wrong. Since her child wouldn't let her in, she rifled through my things until she found something: the letter.
So when I was faced with the question of whether I was gay, I just told the truth; I felt so much better.
SFGN: How did your family react to this? Were you bullied?
Walker: It was rocky for a minute, but when the dust settled, everything was fine. As far as being bullied, that's hard for me to discuss. I was bullied from the time I was in the fourth grade until the day I graduated high school. It was, at times, hell on earth. Like I said, its tough to discuss, and if I did, it would have to be far more than a paragraph, lol. But the point is that I survived, and it wasn't easy, but I got through it because of music.
SFGN: Do you face any prejudice/problems as an out music artist today?
Walker: Of course. It really sucks at times, but at the end of the day, I'm just a musician and a writer. I feel that we are making great headway as far as moving past the issue, but we still have a way to go. The prejudices aren't always from the straight community; it also comes from our community.
Gay men can act catty towards other male performers; I'm not sure why, but it does happen, that's when I have to just go out there and let them have it, lol.
SFGN: What drew you to music and who are your musical influences?
Walker: I'm not sure what drew me to music, it just happened. It's like asking someone why they breathe—It's innate; they just do. As for inspirations, it's the soul divas: Aretha, Patti, Whitney, Rachelle Ferrell and Kristine W.
SFGN: What can people expect from your Ft Lauderdale show?
Walker: VOCALS, BABY! I have never been this excited about a record. Taylor Dayne is one of my favorite singers of all time and “Tell It To My Heart” is a classic.
SFGN: What's next for Jason Walker?
Walker: Well, aside from live shows, I have a couple of songs coming out with Tony Moran, a record with Temporary Hero, and I am wrapping up the recording of my next soul album, which is turning out to be really awesome!
Look for Jason Walker, live in the flesh, bringing back soul, at The Manor in Ft Lauderdale on Aug. 10.
More info: http://www.themanorcomplex.com