J Turtle
Gig Seeker Pro

J Turtle

Band Pop Acoustic

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

This band hasn't logged any past gigs

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

Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


by Ann Shen
staff writer

Bright, warm, incandescent light bathes a room filled with chattering UCSD students. Espresso Roma is an orchestra of conversations, blenders, espresso machines and ringing registers. A man in a brown, orange and white-striped beanie is sitting on a stool at the far end of the coffeehouse. Armed with a guitar and quiet charm, 24-year-old Jason Yamaoka is freshly into his post as a new solo act under his project name J. Turtle. He strums an acoustic Martin guitar with folk-rock grace and scrunches emotions through his facial expressions while he sings.

J. Turtle's acoustic folk-rock resonates with the crowd of students in Roma; as more students look up from their thick textbooks and listen intently throughout the set. He is no stranger to the coffeehouse rock scene. Yamaoka is previously of Jason and Jane, a San Diego-based duo (Jason attended San Diego State University and Jane attended UCSD) that gained much popularity in the coffeehouse circuit since their emergence four years ago. The duo parted ways in February 2003 and Jason has since re-emerged with a vision: to be an independent musician and producer, with Ani DiFranco-like command of control over his own business and music. He stresses independence and is very intent about having no limitations with his music. "The reason I don't want to sign to a label is because I know they are going to ask for an image," he said.

The music is a charming repertoire of songs about relationships, love lost, love gained and sleepless nights. J. Turtle's songs are sounds that he would describe as raw. He draws inspiration from favorite bands, ranging from the country-tinged Toad the Wet Sprocket to hip-hop pop Outkast. He speaks and grins with a sweet little boy's ease, and talks to the audience as if each person in it was a good friend. As J. Turtle plays, sweetly haunting acoustic sounds float through the air and grace past the faces of weary yet intrigued students. The lyrics are honest and open, and so is he. At the end of his set, the whole coffeehouse applauds- a drastic change from the first few hapless claps and listeners at the beginning of the show. An audience is charmed. Many fresh-faced fans are born, and he talks to everyone who approaches him- and a lot do.

The staff at Roma say J. Turtle had one of the best turnouts for Roma Nights ever: He has always drawn a large crowd, whether with Jason and Jane or as J. Turtle.

Most UCSD students are winding down from a long day, and prefer studying at the hubbub of a lively coffeehouse to the high-frequency silence of the library, and J. Turtle provides the perfect background music and the ideal coffeehouse performance if you just let him.

Find out more about J. Turtle by visiting his site, http://www.jturtlemusic.com. Espresso Roma hosts Roma Nights every Monday at 7 p.m. with an array of acoustic artists every quarter.
- The UCSD Guardian


04.26.04
J. Turtle: Project

I love the layers of spoken word and industrially acoustic rhythms that flow throughout this eclectic jazzy coffeehouse album. Turtle has the voice that craves attention and draws audiences in, and his lyrics are equally intoxicating. "Taking It On" has a unique background rhythm (some sort of synthesizer or an electric guitar is my guess), and in it, Turtle explores some modern rock grunge vibes all why letting his professional singing background take the lead. "She's takin' it on too hard/And battling with both her eyes bruised/She's throwing around her arms/I never really knew I never really had the chance to/She's taking it on too hard/And taking it all too far again." "Xylophone" has a jazz charm to it with some whimsical lyrics that add to Turtle's versatility for deep tunes with a little fun thrown in. Turtle has really created a professional album that's not only independent, but sounds "indie" too. Props to another great San Diego musician who's on the ball.

Favorite Tracks: Taking It On, Something Different
Rating: 4.5 stars
- DiscoveringAritsts.com


by Kristen Pasculli
DiscoveringArtists.com

He produced his first EP and he's ready to start working on his second. Now, J. Turtle tells us about the San Diego scene and band breakups. Read on!

Following in his stepfather's footsteps, J. (Jason) Turtle began his musical career strumming on an old Yamaha.

"I hadn't ever really thought of playing the guitar, but since I had been involved in music so much already with piano and choir, I thought, 'okay'," said the San Diego-based singer-songwriter when I asked him how he got his start. "I must have played at least 3 hours everyday from that point up until a couple years after. I would just sit in front of my stereo/CD player and imitate music that I liked."

Turtle, now 24, grew up in Cupertino, California, a small Silicon Valley community. His formal piano training began at age 5 and continued until high school when he began playing the guitar. While he was in the bay area attending junior college, he was told by a former musician that San Diego had a pretty good acoustic scene.

"It turned out that San Diego state had and still has one of the best music education programs in the country, so I thought I could gig and further my education all in the same place," says Turtle of his move. "People are slowly figuring out that there's a wealth of talent in the city...so people are beginning to build it back up again."

His first musical project came about in 2000 with the duo of "Jason and Jane", which started out as two friends singing a few Jason-tunes together.

"Jason and Jane was a great project because Jane brought to the table what I felt that I lacked...and I brought what she was less confident about. so together, apparently, we meshed really well," Turtle recalled.

The duo parted ways in February 2003, and Jason went into hiding for a few months of intense songwriting and producing Saba's EP, Letters to Doe. (www.sabamusic.com)

"Saba's album was actually an accident, really," Turtle said. "Saba wanted some sample drum tracks and guitar parts to give to a bass player so he could practice. I thought that I would help her out by making those...and then next thing I knew, I had two songs completely produced--just for the hell of it. I'd been in the studio enough times to hear some of the tricks of producing...and I had an idea of what it could sound like, so I went off of that."

From there, it was onto produce his own EP, Turns. The acoustic gem features Turtle's authentic strums and mellowly dramatic voice.

"I expected to have something to sell at shows that was different and more produced than a live performance," Turtle said of the album. "I wanted it to be clean sounding (to a non-engineers ear) but I didn't have any money. So I guess it definitely got the job done."

"I'm definitely much happier with my songwriting now," added Turtle. "I think I'm pickier and more aware of what I want to describe and just how I want to describe it. My thoughts weren't as articulated before...perhaps I just wanted to finish the song based on the sound. I've come to understand the complexities of lyrics and imagery...especially now that I share an apartment with an artist and a writer."

He has now upgraded his "so-called studio" and is working on another album. Although he said he's not looking for fame and fortune, he does want to live comfortably, and hopes his musical career, including touring, can provide that for him.

"I think the more that I play out, the more I realize how important it is to be exactly what I feel like being...if people want to jump on the bus that I'm driving, then they're more than welcome to, cause I'm not going to change for anyone else but myself."
- DiscoveringArtists.com


12.03
J. Turtle - turns

J. Turtle, formerly of Jason and Jane, has a newly recorded solo demo CD, titled Turns, containing five formidable songs that he wrote, produced, mixed, and recorded, except for "A Sonnet in Lieu of a Special Occasion" by Brian Hurleym who wrote the lyrics. And I must say that Turtle did an excellent job of recording and producing these tunes. He adds various percussion, instrumentation, and vocal backgrounds to creat a complete package with a high quality professionalism. His capabilities and technical knowledge enable him to enhance each song with nuance and dynamics layered on top of catchy melodies and intelligent lyrics.

Jason (J. Turtle) grew up in northern California and was trained on the piano from the time he was five years old through high school. His high school a capella choir experience helped develop his vocal abilities and by his senior year he took up the acoustic guitar. He began writing songs in community college and, while attending the SDSU School of Music for four years, he was starting to play local coffeehouses. The positive feedback he received encouraged him and in 2000 he formed a duo with his friend Jane, called Jason and Jane, which lasted until February 2003. The following months after breakup were filled with intense songwriting. Turns is the result. "Day Five's" melody bounces through its lovelorn message. "Naked Hands" is a haunting ballad with a chordal progression and walk-down melody that hints at an influence of Gregory Page. J. Turtle is definitely a new name to add to the long list of talent spilling over the brim of this cup of San Diego mocha. - DiscoveringArtists.com


By Sarah Wilkins
Tempo Editor

Three years ago, San Diego met Jason and Jane.

With near-perfect harmonization and songwriting, the duo's Jason Yamaoka and Jane Lui took the city by jazzy acoustic storm, releasing two albums and extending its audience beyond the borders of Southern California. A growing reputation and audience added to high hopes that the two would make it.

However, fate had other ideas.
Changes led Jason and Jane to go its separate ways earlier this year and Jason has gone solo to come of age in San Diego's temperamental local scene. After a few months hiatus, his debut E.P. Turns was released in June under the pseudonym J. Turtle, and has been relentlessly circulating around the city ever since.

"I was playing a lot," J. Turtle said. "Everywhere - just for exposure. It was a good learning experience, but it was hard.

"I do this full time now," the SDSU School of Music alumnus continued. "And it can be boring at times, but it's getting better. (At first) I didn't know what I was doing. I was just like, 'Full time! This'll be great!'

"But now I'm figuring out the process that I should be taking and what percentage of what I should be doing - like what percentage of time should I spend looking for gigs? And how much should I spend promoting? And I'm finally realizing that the promotion part is probably the most important. That's also the hardest for me to start figuring out what to do."

Luckily, dedication in the coffeehouse circuit has reacquainted J. Turtle's name with the public. It has also re-drawn comparisons to the likes of Dave Matthews and John Mayer, neither of which he particularly agrees with.

"I've actually been listening to Howie Day's new album, and Pete Yorn, Glen Phillips, things that I find more raw and emotional. I just saw Glen Phillips at Aroma (at UCSD) and he was amazing, and you hear him and go back to your room and just think, 'Man, I suck.' Every once in a while you find someone that you like so much that you don't know if what you're doing is any good just because you're comparing yourself to that."

J. Turtle's own songwriting is often sweetly melancholy, drawing from a mixture of emotions that are more episodic than autobiographical.

"I like to write about moments and how I'm feeling at a particular one. People have told me that I'm moody - not like pissed off and then happy and then sad, but my moods change really quickly. It's a very small shift, but the shifts happen all the time, so my songs definitely don't sum me up. They're very reactionary."

His moods have taken a particular turn upon evaluating not only his audience, but fellow entertainers and the pressures of fame's beginning stages.

"I'm around a lot more of the roots-type people," he said. "Which is cool because they're a different sort of genre and focused on a smaller target audience and they're not in it for the money. That helps me keep my head, as opposed to people that want to make it big so badly they are willing to sell- out and don't mind singing other peoples' songs. If you hang out with people that just want to make it, your mentality might change, so I hang out with a lot of people that are really true to what they're doing."

That attitude has done wonders for the star-in-waiting, for the lower rungs of fame have been - and will continue to be - daunting.

"What it should come down to is you need to do this because you love what you're doing and you believe in what you're doing. You start thinking you need to sing a different way or play a different way so that people will listen more - but in the end, all that matters is how happy you are doing it, so you might as well do exactly what you love from the start and hope that people will jump on the train with you."
- The Daily Aztec


by Phil Harmonic

J. Turtle, formerly of Jason and Jane, has a newly recorded solo demo CD, titled Turns, containing five formidable songs that he wrote, produced, mixed, and recorded, except for "A Sonnet in Lieu of a Special Occasion" by Brian Hurleym who wrote the lyrics. And I must say that Turtle did an excellent job of recording and producing these tunes. He adds various percussion, instrumentation, and vocal backgrounds to creat a complete package with a high quality professionalism. His capabilities and technical knowledge enable him to enhance each song with nuance and dynamics layered on top of catchy melodies and intelligent lyrics.

Jason (J. Turtle) grew up in northern California and was trained on the piano from the time he was five years old through high school. His high school a capella choir experience helped develop his vocal abilities and by his senior year he took up the acoustic guitar. He began writing songs in community college and, while attending the SDSU School of Music for four years, he was starting to play local coffeehouses. The positive feedback he received encouraged him and in 2000 he formed a duo with his friend Jane, called Jason and Jane, which lasted until February 2003. The following months after breakup were filled with intense songwriting. Turns is the result. "Day Five's" melody bounces through its lovelorn message. "Naked Hands" is a haunting ballad with a chordal progression and walk-down melody that hints at an influence of Gregory Page. J. Turtle is definitely a new name to add to the long list of talent spilling over the brim of this cup of San Diego mocha. - The San Diego Troubador


Discography

Prate and Idle Chatter (2001 - independent release "jason and jane")
Two Fridays for Thursday (2002 - independent release "jason and jane")
Turns EP (2003 - Lazy A Records)
Project (2004 - Lazy A Records)
For Fun and All the Medication "live" (2004 - Lazy A Records)

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

~ “catchy melodies and intelligent lyrics…a complete package with high quality professionalism.” - San Diego Troubador

~ “…authentic strums and mellowly dramatic voice” - DiscoveringArtists.com

~ “…quirky vintage edge added by rhythmical acoustic wanderings is what catapults his sound into a league of its own..” - San Diego Reader

Armed only with an acoustic guitar, singer/songwriter, J Turtle is storming through California’s pop music scene. His music blends vibrant lyrics and catchy pop melodies with a percussive style of guitar playing that stands uniquely on its own. With an 1 EP, 1 live, and 3 full-length albums under his belt, he has been touring relentlessly and is dedicated to distributing his music independently.

The musical duo “Jason and Jane” (2000) started out as two friends singing a few Jason-tunes together. What began as a hobby (playing an occasional open-mic for friends) soon gained serious momentum (two albums and a slew of venues). From San Diego to LA to Northern California to Nevada, Jason and Jane explored the local scene and beyond.

The duo parted ways in February 2003, and Jason went into hiding for a few months of intense songwriting and producing (SABA's EP "Letters to Doe"). J Turtle’s latest projects, a home recording entitled Turns, a fully produced album "Project" and a live disc, all return to the roots of his writing without the pressures of any influences but his own.