This past Sunday, July 12, American Idol finalist Jason Castro came and visited GRAMMY Camp®. He told us his musical history: getting a drum kit, starting a band, tkaing up singing and guitar, all the way up to his experience through American Idol. He told us he hoped AI would just be a starting point for his career, and not all he would be known for. After he played a few songs for us (including a brand new original tune, called "Sweet Medicine"), I was lucky enough to sit down with the up and coming solo artist.
Nick Arnold: I was wondering if being on American Idol (and the whole experience of it) has changed the way that you write music, and maybe even how you listen to music?
Jason Castro: Definitely! Well, I think what started the change-- I mean both those questions, was that I grew up playing drums. Then I got opened up to all sorts of other things when I started playing guitar, I started listening more to songs. That all kinda changed my perspective. And as far as changes in songwriting, after the show I've been trying to collaborate with songwriters, and people who are professional songwriters. It's helped me see a lot of new things and kinda get better at a lot of things. It's like practicing with somebody who knows what they're doing, it's the same as any other instrument. Like if I play guitar, I learn faster if I'm taught by someone who knows how to do it.
NA: Yeah, so they kinda help hone your skills?
JC: Yeah! So it's been a really intense learning and developing zone. And I don't think I would have gotten that opportunity if I didn't go on the show, so it's really been pretty great for me.
NA: And now do you hear new things in songs going back and listening to them after getting tips from the professionals?
JC: Yeah, I hear a lot of details, but now I like to listen and I'm more conscious of things, like, "What makes this song so great?"
NA: Oh, that's cool!
JC: Yeah, like before I might've said "Oh, this song sucks, those drums are too easy!," but now I really listen because I'm so fascinated by melodies, and how some catch your ear and others don't. And it's great to understand how people put their own spin on things. Like somebody might've said the same line, but they say it in a way that's so original!
NA: Right, so making a song your own, and being unique.
JC: Yeah, so I really listen for those concepts a lot more now.
NA: Thank you for your time Jason, it's been great talking to you!
JC: No problem, it was my pleasure.