Jason Masi is a DC-based singer-songwriter who got his start with his college band, Jubeus, playing a residency at The Lighthouse Cafe’ and opening for bands like Blind Melon, Everclear, SOJA, and Donna the Buffalo.
However, Jason Masi eventually started playing as a solo artist in 2010, establishing a steady east coast following and enjoys making his full-time living performing music. He performs solo and with his band in intimate settings, club shows, festivals, and private events which keeps him busy playing more than 250 shows per year.
Jason Masi is gearing up to release his new solo album, Capture the Heart, on November 30th. It’s an album that explores various genres but maintains the honesty and focus that define his sound. From the driving opening track “The Adventurer” which imagines a life full of exploration to the title track that pays tribute to street musicians in New Orleans, each song has a fresh identity. Capture the Heart includes love songs (“Love’s Lips), sobering tracks (“Rest Be the Remedy”), and even jazz-inspired tracks (“You Make Me Feel So Nice”) to keep things interesting.
Jason Masi begins by explaining that, “[Capture the Heart] explores the journey of trying to capture the heart when its natural tendency is to get away from us. A theme in this album is slowing down in a fast paced, chaotic world. I believe we have too many sensory inputs. Advancements in technology have been great in so many ways, but they have also had the negative consequence of overstimulation. We struggle to find the balance. We’re on the go too much and we’re distracted. Tension and anxiety run deep. We can’t always escape the stressors of modern life, but we can try to live in a way that reduces the stress.”
“In the title track, a local musician uses his songs to try to capture the hearts of people walking down Bourbon Street. Most people just walk by without noticing him. There is so much to look at and experience. People are on their phones, looking at maps of the city, and shopping at stores on every corner. How could anyone focus on one thing when their attention constantly shifts from one thing to the next? With so much going on in the world and in our lives, it’s hard to be present. It’s hard to slow down and focus on one thing, but it benefits us when we do. When we finally slow down, we can find comfort and peace with the ones we love and do our best to live life to the fullest,” Jason Masi finishes on summarizing Capture the Heart.
We have the exclusive stream of Capture the Heart for you to check out below. While you are listening to the record, scroll on down to find our exclusive track-by-track with Jason Masi as he takes you behind each track and what went into them.
1) The Adventurer
Jason Masi: “I wrote this song when I was feeling particularly adventurous. There are times when I am craving the most explorative and exciting life possible and this song imagines that reality. Certainly, I’ve experienced many exciting adventures in the time I’ve been on this earth, but when I think about how much more I want to experience -all the places I want to go – all the things I want to see, I sometimes worry those experiences will never come to pass. This song is a reminder to myself to experience as much as possible in the time I have here, because life is definitely short, and it’s meant to be lived to the fullest. It’s also a reflection of how when we’re young, we have these big dreams and as we get older, if we let it, life can chip away at those dreams until they no longer exist. I want to dream big until the day I die, and when I reflect on my experiences, I want to know that I didn’t let my challenges get the better of me.”
2) Capture the Heart
“This song is inspired by and dedicated to the hard working street musicians in New Orleans. My wife and I spent some time there a few years back and I recall a day when it was particularly scorching hot as we walked down Bourbon Street. We decided to stop into a little corner store for some AC and to gander at some souvenirs.
After a few minutes of trying to decide which magnet would look best on our fridge, we heard an angelic voice coming from around the corner. We walked out of the store to see a young man singing some beautifully crafted songs that he had written. Although the street was crowded, people didn’t seem to pay too much attention to him, at least for the short time we were there. But he sounded awesome!
Many folks on Bourbon Street are tourists and they are trying to take in as much as possible while they’re drunk and stumbling from bar to bar. We were not drunk at that point, so we had a chance to be present and enjoy this artist and talk to him briefly between songs. We gathered that his name was Brian Hudson and that he had moved to New Orleans, Louisiana from from his hometown of Austin Texas a few years ago to try a new scene. He thought that Austin was getting oversaturated and that NOLA would be a fresh start and a good change of pace.
Since he had moved there, he had been busking on the street to help him make his living as a musician. He told us how musicians in the French Quarter didn’t need a permit to play, they just had to show up first to the location where they wanted to set up. For that reason, some musicians like himself would just camp out the night before in the spot they wanted to play to be sure they claimed their spot. That’s some true dedication!
After hearing a few more songs, we dropped him a tip, took down his information and continued exploring the French Quarter and all the fantastic artists and musicians that grace the streets there.
This song is a reflection of some of the great music we heard in The Big Easy. From the horn band playing on Chartres Street in Jackson Square singing the classic Bruce Channel’s ‘Hey Baby!’ to floating down the Mississippi River listening to a Dixieland band on the Natchez steamboat, to evening jazz in clubs up and down Frenchmen Street.
As a performer, sometimes I get caught in a performer’s perspective, trying to entertain audiences and capture peoples’ hearts. In attending shows, visiting other cities, and experiencing various music scenes as a patron, it gives my heart a chance to be captured. It also gives me a different perspective on the trade and a new level of appreciation for other hard working musicians out there. Ultimately, what I’m trying to convey in this song is the importance of stopping, being present, and letting your heart be captured by art. We live in such a fast paced and hyper-distracted world that it’s becoming increasingly harder to stop and enjoy simple pleasures. Maybe we’d be better off if we stop from time to time and take a moment to enjoy a song, a painting, or a story, and just sit with that. Our hearts will be rewarded for it.”
3) Movie Star
“This song almost didn’t make it on the album, but I played it for Mark after most of the album had been recorded and he thought it was pretty cool so we went ahead and laid it down. After putting it together and revisiting some of the parts, I’m really glad we decided to put it on the album. It has some folk elements that are reminiscent of songs from my first album, Balance & Pull, and I think it has a feel that benefits this album.
I have a recurring theme in my songs about putting my love interest on a pedestal. I came up with the line, ‘you know just how to steal a heart – you could be a movie star,’ which is the signature line in this song, and I thought that would be a pretty great compliment. I am a sucker for a love song!”
4) Calm Me Down
“If I let myself, I can think of endless things to be frightened about – from trivial things to a loved one’s health or the state of the world. Of course, that’s no way to live. It’s better to go through life without worrying, controlling the limited things you can, and being grateful for what you have. This is naturally challenging, but I think the best chance of staying calm in an unpredictable world is to take comfort in each other’s company. If you have someone you can lean on in scary times, then that can keep your heart rate and your mental state much more manageable.”
“I’m not a visual artist, but in this song I imagine that I am a painter and that my painting becomes real. I try to paint a world where time slows down, deadlines cease to exist, and the scenery is picture-perfect. In this painting, there’s a sailboat that leads to a beach island where there are no worries – just peace, romance, dancing, singing, and playing.”
“This is my alter-ego song. The Mr. Hyde. The devil on my shoulder trying to cause mischief.
Some of the binge-worthy shows I was watching when I wrote this may have something to do with how this came out. I had just finished a string of shows on Netflix where the main characters were bad, but also had a likable side. Walter White in Breaking Bad, Don Draper in Mad Men, and Marty Byrde in Ozark. Why are we so compelled by these characters? Do we see something of ourselves in them? Probably. In these shows, the badly behaving characters always had their justifications, but their misbehavior was inexcusable.
Most of us manage to maintain our good behavior enough, but maybe we’re more fragile than we think and there’s something brewing below the surface that would make us act on our impulses under the right conditions. I vaguely remember as a kid an instinct to create mischief and this song taps into the temptations of being bad but for just a few minutes.”
7) Rest Be the Remedy
“This song is a reflection of the busy life and how sometimes you need a break. Ambition drives many of us to work constantly – to a point where it becomes counterproductive. My wife and I have always been driven people and consequently are always on the go. From time to time, we have to remind ourselves to slow down. After a break, whether it be getting out of town or just away from work and our phones, we tend to have clarity when we return to our daily routines and feel closer for having spent time focusing on one another. We just have to remember to take that time away amid the chaos.”
8) Love’s Lips
“This song was originally inspired by a romantic kiss. I try to paint a romantic picture and convey all the feelings that arise when a kiss is perfect. Being in the moment; not concerned with anything in the past or future; slightly intoxicated; totally into the person you’re with; relaxed but also excited; happy and hopeful; alive. It’s about being present with the one you’re with.”
“I always try to have at least one fun sexy song on every album. This is the fun sexy song on this collection of tunes.”
10) You Make Me Feel So Nice
“The first line in this song is ‘I wish I were better with words, I would write you a sonnet, I’d weave you an allegory, oh my poetry would be so sweet.’ As a songwriter, I often struggle to find the exact right words to express myself without falling back on cliches. In this song I poke fun at myself for this unfortunate shortcoming and use a number of trite phrases to hone in my point.
I’ve always loved loungy jazz crooners like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Bobby Darin. I wanted the feel of this song to be in that vein and the melody to be something audiences could pick up and sing along to easily. After I wrote it, I danced around my living room singing it and it made me happy. I hope it does the same for you.”
“This is my attempt at a love ballad comparing life to a circus. The idea is that we play these roles out in the world and constantly have to be in character like in a circus. We’re in costume, our faces are painted, we have to play balancing acts and be a part of a coordinated effort to keep everything running smoothly. Sometimes it just feels like we’re chasing our own tails, though. One great thing about having a partner to come home to at the end of the day is that you have someone to unpack it all with and let your guard down in front of. Whatever happened that day or is going to happen tomorrow can be forgotten until it’s time to go back to the circus.”