Jason McKenzie is an acoustic soul musician in Rochester who frequently plays shows around the area.
1. Music background
Born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska, Jason began singing and playing guitar at age 16. He lived in Los Angeles and Houston before moving to Rochester in 2008 and has played in bands throughout the country for the past 20 years. During that time, he recorded two albums — his self-titled debut in 2001, and his most recent in 2015, “Let’s Ride.”
2. What you are
“Music is something I’ve never been able to shake — it’s in my soul, and it’s how I connect with people.”
3. Workaday life
“I used to work in the oil fields. I ran a sign company. I worked as a karaoke DJ. You name it, I’ve done it. Now I am a professional musician and lucky enough to do what I love.”
4. Free falling
“When we opened for Firefall, we were given 45 minutes to play. We had a big set list planned out, but we decided to throw the list away and just do our thing. We make it through four original songs in 45 minutes. We got so many compliments from the crowd on how organic it was. So now I don’t follow set lists anymore. I like to follow the music wherever it wants to go, like floating down a river.”
“If you are going to choose a profession in the arts, be obsessed with it. Otherwise, you will always be mediocre.”
6. Not the only one
“The secret is that if I am on stage and feeling it, the audience will respond. There’s no faking it. If I am feeling it, then someone else is feeling it, too.”
7. Favorite place to play
“I love to play where people are interested and engaged. I look for the one person at the back of the room that is focused on what I am doing.”
8. Rochester music scene
“Whenever I play, I come with the philosophy that I will play with anyone, anywhere, anytime. I always bring extra percussion instruments just in case kids want to come up on stage and play with me.”
9. Musical style
Jason’s style is a mixture of acoustic soul, blues, and rock. To get a better idea of his style, check out his video.
10. Where to find Jason
Jason will be playing on Friday, April 1 at the Wicked Moose, Saturday, April 2 at Cafe Steam, April 16 at Thyme Restaurant and Lounge, and May 4 at Half Barrel.