Jason O
Gig Seeker Pro

Jason O

State College, Pennsylvania, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | INDIE

State College, Pennsylvania, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2012
Solo Pop Acoustic


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Jason O- In My Bones Album Review"

Currently the lead singer for State College- based party-rock band My Hero Zero, Jason Olcese- Jason O- is an accomplished solo performer as well, and has released six independent albums to date. His latest, In My Bones, features a baker’s dozen acoustic-geared compositions that mix uplifting folk, jazz and light rock/pop flavors. Jason plays most of the instruments on the album, with Lee Griffin helping out on bass; and he displays a smooth, laid-back, soulful singing style. Jason voices thoughtful themes of life’s simplicity and accepting the here and now. After the dreamy piano ode “Far Away” starts the journey, “That Is Okay” willingly goes with the flow and accepts what is. That perspective permeates “The World Just Keeps Spinning,” and self-realization and confidence step forth through the simply-arranges bare bones title track “In My Bones.” Jason mixes flavors along the way; providing a jazzy lean on “Sing Right to You,” a folksy vibe on “I need a Break,” a tropical jazzy tone on “If Love is and Island,” and a bluesy presence on the upbeat “I quit My Day Job.” Jason impressively works all corners of his acoustic guitar on “Glass,” and effectively uses ukulele to paint the sullen tones of the disc-closer “Maybe It’s all the Same.” Produces by Jason O and his father, John Olcese, In My Bones sounds clean and basic, allowing the nuances of Jason’s voice and instrumental performances to shine through clearly and uncluttered. The simplicity of Jason O’s words, arrangements and performances wins the day, making In My Bones a peasant, relaxing listen, and a good soundtrack for taking a break from life’s complexities and refocusing. (The CD can be obtained through Jason O’s website, www.jasonomusic.com.) -Reviewed by Jim Price - PA Musician Magazine Dec 2012 - Pennsylvania Musician Magazine

"'Jason O' Aims to be Household Name"

By Kristen Cantor
Collegian Staff Writer

Somewhere, in the heart of every emerging musician, is the hope of making it big -- to be the next Jay-Z, Jessica Simpson or maybe even John Mayer.

For Penn State student Jason Olcese (senior-psychology) that dream is one he said is quickly becoming a reality.

Olcese, better known by the moniker Jason O, can often be found performing around town most weekend nights, playing to whoever will listen.

With pending contracts with major record labels such as Jive and Atlantic, and a proposed sponsorship with The Limited, American Eagle and Abercrombie and Fitch, Olcese said he is hopeful about his future. He added last year he had an opportunity to be signed with Sony Columbia, but decided to postpone it until after his semester studying abroad in New Zealand. The curly-haired musician said he's been busy juggling his career and being a Penn State student as well.

"My goal is to be as big as Jack Johnson or John Mayer," he said.

During last year's Penn State-Ohio State game, Columbus resident Manning Baumgardner came to Happy Valley for the football game and had the chance to listen to Olcese.

"I was in awe," Baumgardner said, "He had a certain aura, a certain humbleness, and people just gravitated toward him. He's a superstar waiting to happen."

Baumgardner introduced Olcese to his brother-in-law, Eugene Johnson, who is an InHouse Entertainment music manager. Johnson was equally impressed and became Olcese's current manager.

"I thought he was a genius," Johnson said. "He's a deep person. He sees things from a different angle. And he has an uncanny ability to hear the words and the music in his head and just play it."

Johnson said he is hopeful Olcese will be signed to a record label by Christmas.

Olcese said his strong musical background laid the groundwork for his future. With two music teachers for parents, he was exposed early on to the thing that would soon become his passion.

"I was pushed into music before I could walk," he said. "And ever since I was little, I got to play in my dad's band with a lot of experienced musicians."

Following in his parents' musical footsteps, Olcese learned to sing and play a variety of brass and percussion instruments. By fourth grade, Olcese was giving drum lessons to pupils twice his age and, by age 17, he had moved onto writing his own music. After playing mostly cover tunes as a drummer with three or four bands through the years, he decided to branch out on his own.

"I got sick of being in bands where people couldn't write their own music," he said.

Olcese said he devoted countless hours to creating his own music, drawing on personal music favorites such as John Mayer and even hip-hop legend Notorious B.I.G. to help create his lyrical sound.

Today, Olcese said he is still writing and developing, but also working on marketing himself to the public.

"I feel like someday I'm going to be big," he said, "I don't think I'm something no one else could be, but I think I'm good enough if I have the determination."

Five released albums, songs on Napster and iTunes, live shows in downtown bars, a trip to New Zealand and active internet publicity have given Jason a wide international fan base.

Olcese also likes to stop and play on sidewalks some weekend nights when everyone is out enjoying State College nightlife. He said playing has also been beneficial in gaining publicity.

Andy Sieger (freshman-premedicine) was one of the many who stopped to watch Jason's performance last Saturday night on a street corner downtown.

"This was the first time I've seen him," Sieger said, "He's really, really good."

The downtown performances, which usually last from 11 p.m. until 3 a.m., feature Olcese's own music, cover tunes, requests and a lot of sing-alongs.

Olcese's latest album, Back to the Beat, was originally written as his senior honors music project. He said Penn State has been one of the biggest factors in his musical development.

"Penn State has been a nurturing place for me to develop as an artist," he said. "I learned how to sing by walking around campus and singing in my head, and I learned how to perform by playing at downtown bars. I'm Penn State bred."
- The Daily Collegian

"Reviews by Listeners"

This is what my fans think:

http://www.jasonomusic.com/press.html - Jason's website (follow link)

"Interview with Dr. Brady"

A recent interview with the Dean of PennState's SHC

http://targuman.org/blog/?m=20061215 - SHC

"Small Town To Big City And Back Again"

Small town to big city and back again
Talented singer/songwriter Jason O. is back in the 570 and ready to spice things up
By Randy Shemanski

Jason O. isn't on the level of a household name - if one letter can be considered a name - but he still chose to go with a single vowel for his music career. His full last name is Olcese (pronounced ohl-chay-zee), but as he says, "Nobody ever gets it right."

The thing is, once you pop his latest album, Sink or Swim, into the CD player, it wouldn't matter if his last name was Olkenviekewiecz - you'll remember him for his soulful acoustic sounds and soothing vocals.

The album is already available online through iTunes and his Web site, www.jasonomusic.com, and he'll be throwing a CD release party at Beer Boys in Wilkes-Barre on Saturday.

Olcese - we can't bring ourselves to refer to him as O. - began his music career as a drummer while attending Mountain View High School, but that evolved into a solo career thanks to the noises in his head, sort of. We'll let him explain.

"I kind of just heard things in my head and always would try to describe what I heard in words to the guitar player in my band," Olcese said. "That didn't really work. So I eventually ended up playing guitar and writing songs and I never really thought it would amount to much; it was just a creative outlet for me and something that was fun."

Sink or Swim is Olcese's sixth album, each one was recorded in his father's garage in West Clifford. But this isn't garage band music by any stretch of the imagination. Olcese wields an acoustic guitar throughout most of the album, although he plays the piano on "I Don't Care Anymore," possibly the most emotional song on the album.

A young guy who can sing and play guitar and piano sounds familiar, which is why Olcese has been compared favorably to John Mayer, Jason Mraz and Jack Johnson. Seems like a stretch for a guy recording his music in a garage in Susquehanna County, but in Olcese's case, it's a legit comparison.

"Seven years ago, when I started playing guitar and I couldn't sing at all, I got compared to John Mayer a lot, which was always really unfair because I was horrible," Olcese said. "I was still just the guy with the guitar phenomenon. But I get the big three - Jack Johnson, John Mayer and Jason Mraz - I get them all the time and people at shows will say things to me like, 'Wow, you're like Jason Mraz, but better.' I have a really reigned-in ego, so I know that's not really true at all."

After high school, Olcese went to Penn State in State College for three semesters before dropping out to play drums full-time in a band. But after the band started to break up, he went back to school, finished his bachelor's degree, then moved to New York City to chase his music dreams. Instead, it slowed his career down slightly.

"I actually talked to a couple different record labels like Sony and Columbia," he said. "They're based in New York, so I decided to go to New York City, which is what I thought you were supposed to do if you wanted to take a serious step as a musician. I got out there and really, I went from playing at least three nights a week and making a living doing it, to playing ... I would go to a couple open mics a week and I'd play one song on stage and I'd wait four hours to do it and I'd buy $7 beers while I was waiting."

Not the best situation financially, for sure. But now Olcese is back in the Scranton area and has big plans for his own career, and the entire music scene in the 570.

"I'm actually in the works of putting together a group that I think I'm going to call NEPA's singer/songwriter association, and try to make a big push for original music here in this area," he said. "You have the NEPA Jazz Alliance and I don't think there's really an outlet for songwriters. Eventually I'd like to get to a point where that name itself can help original artists in the area, including myself, book shows that are all original and sell tickets and have them be non-alcoholic, all-ages environments. That's really not something that there's a whole lot of in the area."

If music fans and local musicians give Sink or Swim one listen, they'll have no trouble remembering who he is, last name or not.

Jason O. will hold a CD release party at Beer Boys, 176 N. Washington St., Wilkes-Barre, on Saturday, Oct. 25. For more info, visit www.jasonomusic.com.

- Electric City

"Local Music Man"

This week, Soundcheck talks with local musician Jason O.

Sink Or Swim was released last April, about a month before Jason Mraz fever really hit its stride. You guys have a pretty similar sound — simple arrangements, breezy melodies, love-focused storytelling — but do you see yourself on a similar career trajectory? Is Top 40 success what you’re reaching for?

I have done six records now. The first four helped me determine what I wanted to be. The last two I pressed possessed the sound I like the best in my music. I’m not really gunning for Top 40 success, but I’m open to it. Working with great producers to make my music successful is also a goal. I would do just about anything to have an audience listen to my work and not just have to play bar shows.

So you have a sound of your own, but who can you not stop listening to right now?

I am listening to a lot of Martin Sexton. I find myself mostly listening to music that makes me say, “Wow. I’d love to incorporate that into my sound.”

Back to Sink or Swim, almost every song has to do with love, but not really in a “She Loves You” kind of way. Someone really screwed you up, huh?

I took songs from roughly three years of my life and picked the ones that I felt told a story. I shaped the record so that it flowed from one end to another like a great classic record — not just a handful of singles and a handful of throwaways. I wanted to make a record that suggested, “That’s how life goes.” But yeah, a girl crushed me. I broke up with a girl, too. So it’s a look into real life.

You were the drummer for Bodyclock — a band that, from what I can remember, couldn’t quite decide upon a sound. Now you’re a solo artist that sings and plays guitar. What was it that made you decide to become a rock ’n’ roll songwriter?

Drumming is something that I was always interested in doing. I got my first drum kit when I was 7 years old. I dropped everything to be part of that band — including college — and my bandmates proved far less ambitious. I had to make the decision whether to go out on my own or form another band. I chose the former. I’d probably rather play drums, but I call my own shots and it works. Somewhere along the line I became so invested in the songwriting that I realized I’d never go back.

You slid three hilarious lines of white-boy gangsta language into the first verse of “Cherry On Top,” from 2006’s Back To The Beat. Where did that come from?

I was listening to a lot of Biggie (Notorious B.I.G.). I actually took some inspiration from his song, “Hypnotize.” That’s been my best selling and most requested single.

You perform under the title Jason O. but you have a backing band. Tell me about them.

I do a lot of duo shows with the former lead singer of my last band. He now plays drums and I do the singing, but it works out well. I don’t formally have a band. It’s more of a rotating lineup that comes and goes. If a musician fits into the fold and is willing to back me up, that’s great. But I want to remain a solo artist and demanding a band practice and I remain the headliner is tough.

What’s in the works for 2009?

Right now my plan is to continue doing what I’m doing and play gigs. I am also working to put together a group that helps other songwriters play shows as opposed to gigging. (Olcese considers “gigs” playing covers in a bar and “shows” playing to an audience that showed up to see your work.)

Find out all about Jason O. at www.jasonomusic.com or www.myspace.com/jasonomusic.

- Electric City

"Jason O Lets It Flow"

By: Alan Stout
We talk to local songwriters almost every week here is this little music column. We talk to them about their goals, their live shows, their musical influences and — perhaps most important — their approach to songwriting. And though having a local artist release an independent CD is now a common thing, each one has its own creative force behind it and its own unique story.

Jason Olcese, 24, known as Jason O, certainly has his own ideas when it comes to writing songs. Even though they’re his thoughts and his lyrics set to music, he still hopes that — rather than simply convey his own message — his songs somehow speak to him. While he used to write about particular people in his life, or things he observed in society, he now tends to take his hands off the wheel and simply try to set a mood.

“What I do now is try more to let the song write itself,” says Olcese. “I’ve realized that what works more that the meaning you’re trying to get across is they way particular words make you feel. I try to write in a way that I take meaning away from what I write, rather than trying to impose meaning upon my song.”

Next week, Olcese will release his new CD, “Sink Or Swim.” It’s a crafty, melodic collection of breezy acoustic songs done in style reminiscent of Paul Simon, John Mayer and even Jason Mraz. Olcese says he’s grateful to have music as a creative outlet.

“It’s been instrumental in me kind of growing up and becoming the person that I am,” he says. “Throughout the first three or four years, being a songwriter was almost like having my own personal therapist. I would write a song, and some stuff would come out of me, and I didn’t even know I was feeling anything like that. I’d use what I wrote as a barometer for how I was feeling about my life.”

Olcese grew up in the Elk Mountain area and attended Penn State University. Both of his parents are music teachers and he’s been a musician since age 5.

“I was a drummer my whole life, and I wanted to be a drummer in a band,” he says. “I always felt that would be my route to success as a musician. When I was 17, I kind of realized that I wasn’t able to express the music that I heard in my head on the drums, so I started playing piano. But I didn’t really like the way it went with my voice, so I picked up the guitar instead and starting writing songs.”

Since then, he’s never stopped. Olcese says he’s done about an album’s worth of material every year for the past seven years. He records at his own “In The Garage Studio” and is assisted in the production by his father. In 2006, he released his first official CD, “Back To The Beat.” His influences include Jeff Buckley, Cake, Incubus, Notorious B.I.G., Keller Williams, Third Eye Blind, Rage Against The Machine, Dispatch, Alien Ant Farm, Fiona Apple and Ryan Montbleau. Though you might not hear each influence on the album, Olcese says they all show up in some way.

“It’s not necessarily that, sound wise, they’ve influenced what I’ve done, but I could go through every single one of those bands and tell you exactly how they changed what I wanted to do with music,” he says. “They’re all bands that I had epiphanies with. Rage Against the Machine clearly doesn’t sound like anything that I do, but listening to that band, I realized they are the masters of the hook. Everything they do is catchy, and that influences the way I write. Notorious B.I.G., I listened to him a lot, and the flow of his lyrics actually commanded the sound of the music and the feeling of it. That changed the way I wrote lyrics. I adapted more of a style based around sound and flow, rather than necessarily trying to impose meaning on a song.”

Olcese’s new “Sink Or Swim” CD is available now online through his Web site and will be in all Gallery of Sound stores next week. A CD release party will be held on Saturday, Oct. 25 at Beer Boys in Wilkes-Barre. He says that, depending on the crowd, he’s happy in either the role as an original artist or an entertainer. Some nights, he’ll play lots of his own music, while on others he offers more of his favorite covers and crowd pleasers.

“I have ‘shows’ and I have ‘gigs,’ ” he says. “When I have a show, I play all of my own stuff, and I try to do as many of those as I possibly can. When I play a gig, I’ll usually judge it based on the crowd, and I’ll play songs that they know and that they want to hear all night long.”

Jason O’s CD release party, Sat., Oct. 25, 10 p.m. at Beer Boys

(176 N. Washington St., Wilkes-Barre). Info: www.myspace.com/jasonomusic, 570.820.0555
- Weekender


Still working on that hot first release.



Jason O is a performer best described as a healthy mix of Jason Mraz and Keller Williams. On Stage, Jason uses live looping to incorporate guitar, bass, vocals, harmonies, percussion, piano, harmonica, ukulele, and trumpet all in one inspiring show. His talent at looping earned him a spot in the 2010 National Finals of the Boss Loop Station World Championship in Hollywood, CA. Jason incorporates original songs and looping technology into his performances, creating a rhythm that captures the attention of the audience, leaving them with a sense of connection with the singer/songwriter. Jason Os original music is seamlessly funky and folky with a pop twist and an honest lyrical style that speaks to the heart of human experience. With an on-stage personality that is at once inviting and charismatic, Jason will make his way into the hearts of listeners everywhere.
Since 2002, Jason O has released six independent albums and written over 150 songs. Growing up with parents who are music educators, Jason was raised on music and learned to play the variety of instruments he performs with today. During his developmental years as an artist, Jason attended Penn State University where he earned a B.S. in Psychology with Honors in Music. It was during this time that he learned to externalize the music in his head and began sharing it with the world. Today, Jason resides in State College, PA where he performs up and down the East Coast as the lead singer of the successful band My Hero Zero, writes and records music, and tours as Jason O to spread his original music one person at a time.

Video Links:

TED PSU: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8InCd5fx6o

Show Me the Love: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXnvgt56OlA

Band Members