RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW LA ARTIST JAMESON TABOR
Hiya Jameson thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
What made you decide that music is a thing for you?
I’ve kind of always been doing music. I grew up performing a lot as a kid. I did a lot of theater and I always thought I was going to be an actor actually, for a long time. I even went to college for that. I mean I was doing music that whole time, I was singing in shows or I was playing piano, you know, at my church or something and so I learned a lot of different music skills through all that time, but I don’t think I’d ever really thought I could have a career in music. It wasn’t until after college and I was just trying to be an actor basically in Portland, and I was like, “Am I really loving this? Is this really what I love doing?” I even had a friend ask me that and I think I just had never thought about what I really liked to do. I had always been listening to what other people wanted me to do. When I had that epiphany, I was just like, “Ok. I am going to move to LA, even though I know nothing about the music industry, and this is what I’m going to do: I’m going to be a pop artist.”
Introduce us to you and your musical history.
Oh my gosh, there is so much to try to capture there! I mean, I started taking piano lessons by age five and expanded into singing and dancing. Dance actually has always been a big part of the reason I love music. Somehow I never had any official classes in it until college. Sidenote: boys should be encouraged to take dance classes too! When I was a kid we would always have dance parties in our living room and dance to Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston. So yeah, that’s definitely always in the back of my head when I think about my musical DNA. Of course, I grew up performing in, and even writing my own musicals. But yeah, piano led me to pick up other instruments, like I learned to play trombone in middle school when I joined the band. Then it was jazz band, marching band, a cappella groups, you name it, I was there. I was just super fascinated with music and wanted to be better at it. I’ve directed choirs and bands. I’ve dabbled with other instruments, like percussion and guitar. I’ve always been encouraged to keep doing what I love and never settle for anything less.
The music industry is the hardest industry in the world to progress in. How do you feel you are doing?
I mean, I feel like I’m doing good, haha, but you never know! It changes all the time. And there are lots of ways to look at it. Am I a top global artist on tour with thousands of fans and people waiting in line at my tour? Not yet. Am I happy with the music I am able to create and share with the world? Absolutely. Do I love my day-to-day life getting to sing and record/write new music every day? Yeah, for sure! And the truth is, I’m learning new things every day and with every song I release it gets better. Sometimes I have to stop and think about everything I’ve ever done in my lifetime and how it’s all led me to this. When I was a kid I would have never have dreamed I’d be doing this. It is truly amazing.
But yeah, it definitely is tough. Especially when these days it can feel like it’s your job to do literally everything. It can be easy to feel alone in that–you are the artist, and your also your own manager, and financing, oh, and you also need to be able to network, design your website, you know, create music videos–all on your own. That used to really make me overwhelmed, or make me feel obsessive and like I was getting nowhere. But I’ve slowly been able to break it down and make small progress on different pieces of puzzle. The only way I’ve been able to make it through is by having a lot of support from my family and friends. They remind me that I can do anything.
We set up RGM USA and many other countries in the world to share music with America and the UK, good idea?
Yes and thank you. I love it. You guys help us get our ideas out there and find new fans, and the world needs that, especially if you’re an independent artist like me.
Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories?
Nah, not really. I’m sure there is some truth to some of them though. In general, I try to focus on what I can control and how I can contribute to a better world.
Let’s share the love, what bands are doing really well in your City?
There are SO many here in LA. I love to go out to support my friends and other up and coming artists too. My favorite weekly showcase is through Grant Owens at We Found New Music. I just recently played a show with them too and they really work to find great music and support the acts that perform with them. Some of the favorites I’ve seen recently are Sean the Star Emperor, Tayler Green, Mystical Joyride, Matthew Grant, Glass Battles, BK Habermehl, and Alexi Paraschos.
What advice would you give other artists starting out?
Study your craft and get experience and coaching from the most professional people you can find to help you towards your goals, but also remember to have fun while doing it! Everything takes time, but it is so much faster and easier when you have friends by your side who really get you and just want to see you win.
Did you buy anything you don’t need during the pandemic?
Omg, yes. Mainly too many groceries… every time I would go to the store it was like I had to leave with 2 shopping carts and everyone was like, “whoa, this dude can eat!” I also did spend a lot of money on upgrading my home studio to make it easier to record and produce my music at home.
What was the worst experience on stage?
Hahaha… I’ve fallen off the stage many times which is like, it’s nothing to me now. I should probably start learning to parkour at this point. But it’s pretty hard to embarrass me. My dad used to try to do it all the time when we’d walk into the restaurant and he’d ask if there was a smoking section for me at age 7. I can just be in a crowd or anywhere and be like, “Hey yeah, don’t worry about me over here, I’m good.” I’ll spare you the story though of that time when I was playing stinky the skunk…
Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about.
I know I look and act “young” by a lot of people’s standards but I actually have a wife and a daughter, and I’m even about to have another kid too!… full-on adulting over here. lol. If I don’t say anything most people would never know it. I guess it’s the Swedish in me.
If you had to describe your band/music to an alien how would you describe it?
Delicious and smooth cherry-flavored popsicle meets one of those squishy stress balls with the goo inside.
What makes you stand out as an artist?
I think I’m not afraid to try new things, go too far and be weird or fail. Whatever! You only got one life, so!
I hear you have a new song out. What can you tell us about it?
Yesss! I’m really happy about this one because it’s a lot more fun and flirty than some of my older stuff. I really wanted to challenge myself to write stuff that makes you wanna smile, and hopefully dance too.
Talk me through the thought process of “Touch.”
If you can believe it, I started this song back in 2018! So it’s been a minute, and there has been a lot of time to incubate the ideas. I did the first draft of the production within an hour as a part of this song sketch series I was doing, and then I kind of let things sit for a couple of years. I had been wanting to get into writing music that was just happy, and that didn’t have to be about any sort of a struggle. I brought this one back up in a session with my friend Molly. She was like, “I love this!”, so we started messing around with some melodies, and lyrics–just freestyled a lot of it randomly. I think our initial idea was about driving in a Tesla. lol… I don’t know where that was going. Thankfully, after that session, I played it back for Jenna who had been listening through the door, and was like, I was thinking you should write a song about when we met and that feeling of love at first sight. I was like, “I love that idea!”
She goes, “I kind of had some ideas already and maybe you could call it ‘Touch.'” So I told her to lay down some ideas while I went to work bartending–I came back and she had almost single-handedly written the whole chorus and even the pre-chorus melody too. Then Molly came back and we added all of our ideas together to flesh out the rest. The bridge was sort of my baby–I just love writing an interesting mood shift and getting into some more complex chord progressions. I even ended up slowing it down a few clicks in that section so that it could really feel like a slo-mo moment of mystery and intrigue. If I think about a moment of my life of just pure mystery and joy, it was definitely that time when I had just met Jenna, and became super interested in her, even though I honestly didn’t know if she even cared that I existed.
What was the recording process like?
I did all of the recordings for the song here at my home studio in LA, except for the live instrument parts that, due to covid I did in remote one-on-one sessions with my friends. I produced, engineered, vocal edited, played in the keys, and obviously sang. I also had help from some of my friends: Jake Chapman (vibraphone/glockenspiel) and Philip Chuah (electric bass) who helped me by recording the live parts of the track, TK the Legend who added his own flavor to the percussion and co-produced the song, my mixing engineer Elijah Merritt-Hitch and my mastering engineer Colin Leonard at Sing Mastering. Truly, you I’m so honored they all got to put their souls and expertise into this project for me.
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tune?
Learning to not filter myself and capture the real and raw energy in the room. A lot of times I want to overedit things or mess with stuff more than I need to. I’ve found that just letting yourself flow and putting out the raw thoughts on the page or in the recording is often the best move. You know when it just feels good, and once that moment happens, it’s usually enough on its own. Hopefully, you recorded it!
Would you change anything now it’s finished?
I’m definitely a perfectionist at my core, which comes from my wanting to please everyone I’m sure, deep down… but it also comes from my desire to constantly improve and do better. It’s a tough line to draw between making something as good as you can, and not obsessing about it being perfect, because then it will take you forever, and literally never be done! Haha… I would say I definitely learned a bit of that lesson through the making of this song and the hours and hours of renditions I went through to finally arrive at what this song is today. But that seems like a constant in my work. I’m working on playing around and having more fun in the room, capturing that stuff–even leaving in some of those weird or raw moments, even when it feels like a risk. People love the bike bell sound now in verse one, and I was kinda like, is this too weird? It’s that type of stuff that is memorable and fun for the listener.
In general too, once things are out, I try to look forward and remember that every song I make is “released” and so it really does me no good to think about what I would have changed if I could do it again. That said, I do always love a good remix!… hm.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
We shot a music video for this song too, and it’s coming out very soon! So be on the lookout for that. It’s a wild ride.