“I am a child of the rave,” explains Out Music Award winner Jason Walker. “I go to the dance floor to forget my troubles and to let the music take over. When a hard beat pierces through my body, it’s hard to find a better feeling than that.”
The world first met Jason Walker when the skinny white boy won the TV talent show, “It’s Show Time at the Apollo.” Soon afterward, he was signed to JVM Records, a label headed by dance music icon Junior Vasquez. Over the next five years, he released two full-length albums, a string of top ten hits and two Billboard #1s (“Foolish Mind Games” and “Set It Free”).
This month, he returns with the brand new track, “Beat Don’t Stop.” In it, Walker pleads with the DJ to keep the beat pumping because it unites revelers on the dance floor. “The club experience has always been about togetherness for me,” he reveals. “Being surrounded by the people you love and experiencing the emotional journey as one.”
But the song is more than just an anthem for gay dance floors. It’s a call to arms that encourages fans to keep fighting for progress and change. “There’s so much poverty, so much anguish, so much hate in the world,” Walker continues. “People are finally beginning to realize that we must celebrate our differences; come together, spread love, compassion and understanding. We’re so close to the prize, it’s vital that we don’t let the beat stop now.”
Was there a time you thought the beat might actually stop? Maybe after 9/11? Or when the market fell? Or even the recent Boston bombings? Never. We will never let that happen. At moments of weakness, that’s when we are strongest.
The music industry remains in crisis too. How has the decline affected you? The same way that it has everyone. It sucks. People steal now because it’s easy and they can. The old musical paradigm is broken and a thing of the past. It’s just one of the many obstacles we artists face today.
Through it all, we persevere. How do you feel about the Supreme Court hearings on same-sex marriage?
I’m feeling optimistic. I feel like we gays are entitled to be as miserable in love as straight people. (Laughs) That was a joke!
How do you feel about NBA star Jason Collins coming out? Anyone who comes out has my admiration. And anyone who comes out on such a grand scale and in such a public way, has it even more.
Did you come out or were you always out? Darling, we all have to come out at some point. We aren’t born with rainbow tattoos on our arms.
Your big break was on the TV show, Showtime at the Apollo. How did the audience treat you? The audience was not nice to me at first. Not at all! When I walked out onstage they shouted obscenities at me. It was really terrifying!
It had to be strange for a skinny white boy to be competing on the stage of Showtime at the Apollo. It was strange. But after I started singing, there was an immediate shift in the room and I quickly won them over.
You ended up winning!
It was awesome! I can honestly say now that singing at the Apollo was one of the best nights of my life.
Have you considered competing on The Voice? The jury is still out on that one.
What are you doing to keep the momentum of your career going? I’m always writing and recording new music. Today’s artists today have to. Gone are the days of putting out new music every couple of years. Now you have to do it every couple of months to stay relevant.
Who are some of your favorite remixers? Pig & Dan are incredible! Armin Van Buuren and Bimbo Jones are amazing too! I also love Quentin Harris, Sasha, Mr. Guetta, Calvin Harris, John Digweed . . . the list goes on and on.
Are there other dance artists out there that are keeping the beat moving? Of course! Kristine W, Jonathan Mendelsohn, Ultra Nate, Inaya Day, Chicane, La Roux . . . again, the list goes on and on.
What’s your message to dance fans? Never give up on our music. Electronic music has proven itself as a viable entity. Some of the best memories are made on the dance floor.
What do you do when you’re not singing and dancing? What else it there?