Interview: Jason Davis

Jun 07 2018

Jason Davis has spent his entire two decade career in the music industry and worked with many worldwide stars, including Boyz ll Men, Sugar Ray, P. Diddy, Alabama, Lonestar, Dolly Parton, among many others. Davis is an entertainment industry executive with a broad range of titles including award winning songwriter, award winning author, independent record label president, executive TV producer. LTTM spoke with him to get his views on the music industry.

How did you get your first 'big break' in the industry?

My career began as a songwriter. I was discovered when the VP of A&R for Sparrow Records (EMI) heard one of my songs. At 23 my life changed when I wrote a #1 Billboard hit, that received several ASCAP Songwriting awards, and was nominated for a Latin Music Award. After that, everything changed.

You've worked with an impressive list of artists over the years, tell us some that really stand out for you and why?

Working with Dolly Parton. Working in the same camp of such a legend is an incredible and rare opportunity; however, even more so with a legend who has unending work ethics, a great sense of humor along with the desire to help others.

What advice would you give a new artist or band hoping to kick off their career?

Always pursue excellence and keep your bar extremely high. Ideally, new artists should be performing 2-4 times a month in their area and working on their voice 5 days a week. They also should be thinking long and hard about who they are working with. Surround yourself with established songwriters and producers who are unusually talented at what they do in the business. They should always stay focused on their craft. Big companies always do market research and focus group testing before a launch; all the while most artists typically avoid asking for opinions because they want their song to be done already. The reality is artists should be asking people for their honest opinions to better their craft and songs.

You've written a couple of books about your experiences, can you give us a brief synopsis of them?

Business Backwards is about learning to grow and succeed doing business God’s way by using ten simple but powerful principles that transformed my life and career. After leading an International Corporation for over 20 years, I observed the ups and downs of the business world on a Global level. I’ve seen companies flourish and grow and succumb to defeat in the face of adversity. Business Backwards is about doing business according to God’s will. I believe that by putting others first, humility, serving, integrity and diligence that success will be the outcome. Business done God’s way may not always be the popular path, but it wins in the end.

Your Love Pursues is my autobiography I had a passion for music from the time I was old enough to hold a plastic guitar. As a teenager, Rock and roll was my escape from the abuse from my father. I always dreamed of being like Michael Jackson and Def Leppard. As I watched my family life deteriorate, I left home and soon was basically living in poverty. It was during a mountain hike one afternoon, I cried out to the skies, trying to make some kind of sense as to why everything had happened in my life. Later I picked up my guitar and wrote a song that changed my life forever. I soon found myself living a lifestyle I’d never dared to dream of -- dining with celebrities in Beverly Hills, representing top record producers and recording artists from around the globe, furnishing a million dollar mansion on the beach, and working closely with some of the world's most prominent stars. Nonetheless, as I stood on the balcony of a five-star hotel, I realized that despite all the fame and fortune, I still had a huge void inside. Finding the Bible came just at the right time and in the midst of it all, I found something far more valuable than anything on earth.

What has been the biggest change in the music industry during the time you've worked in it?

The most obvious change in music is how music is delivered. The purchase of physical products, such as CDs has changed the most. The distribution has gone from CD’s to a digital approach like streaming.

How would you define success in your career?

How I define success changed 11 years ago when I found the Bible. Before that change, I had been in the music industry for 9 years. I found myself not really being aware that I, along with some of the people around me, were putting the deal before people. When I found God, I learned to put people first and the deal after. I’m human so I’m not always perfect, but I have learned to make serving people my first priority over business. I now define success by who you are as a person, not just how many deals you’ve made. It's all about making a difference in the lives of others.

What is your favorite album of all time?

Def Leppard’s album Hysteria.

You're stuck on an island, it's hot, you only have enough battery life left to listen to one song on your mp3 player. What track is it?

Praise You in This Storm by Casting Crowns.

What does the next year hold for Jason Davis?

I plan to be continuing to work with artists and continue to work in my companies. As always, the focus will be to continue to help create great music that will hopefully change and save lives.

Jason is President of One One 7, Co-founder of Radar Label Group, Partner at Awaken Records, and President of Care For Kids, co-president and partner at Higher Level Agency and an artist manager with First Company Management.

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