Jason Paras
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Jason Paras

Santa Barbara, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | SELF

Santa Barbara, California, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2015
Solo Pop Singer/Songwriter


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



"Jason Paras Sets His Sights on Success"

On his song “Steel Jungle,” Jason Paras sings of what he calls “the struggle of being youthful forever/of always believing in big dreams.” The 18-year-old singer/songwriter, who just released his debut EP Steel Jungle in April, penned the song after contemplating his receding childhood. “One day, we had a jungle gym to play on, and the next, we didn’t,” he explained. “What if people never took that away from us? Would we still be playing on it? Would we still be more youthful?”

It’s a fitting title for Paras, who has been pursuing his childhood dream of pop stardom from an early age. So far, it seems no one has dismantled Paras’s inner jungle gym; he’s only a year out of high school, and the young musician has already performed in front of sold-out venues and has attracted the attention of musical luminaries. He recorded a debut EP with composer Adam Zelkind, has opened for bands like Styx and Don Felder, and played alongside Foreigner at the Santa Barbara Bowl and Chumash Casino, both as a soloist and with the Dos Pueblos Jazz Choir. Last year, Blues Hall of Fame inductee Chris Daniels declared Paras “one of the best new young songwriters of his generation.”

It’s an incredible résumé for a performer of his age, but lest it seem his star-studded team of supporters came from sheer luck or industry entrenchment, his success is the result of nearly a decade spent honing and presenting his craft. Paras picked up his first guitar when he was 6 and wrote his first song when he was 10. It was a song, he said, about persevering through mistakes and pressing on toward success.

And press on, he did. In 7th grade, he began taking vocal lessons with Sharlae Jenkins, with whom he has continued to study. It was also then that he entered his first singing competition, held by the Music Teachers’ Association of California. His performance landed him among the top 50 singers in the high-school-age bracket, and the victory inspired him to continue with his “crazy dream.”

Competitive at heart, Paras has also found achievements in other realms, competing nationally in chess, playing on the Dos Pueblos water polo team as a freshman and sophomore at the junior varsity level, and working on the student newspaper Charger Account as editor in chief. Music has been the constant, though, and Paras approaches his with a businessperson’s strategic acumen. He intensively studies the marketing moves made by his pop idol Taylor Swift, and he aspires for that same kind of creative control — “It seems like she thinks of every single aspect of the industry possible,” said Paras.

He works as a one-man business, managing his online presence, booking his own shows, and polishing his image, holding off on a label until he has solidified his brand. He admits sometimes his drive can get the best of him. “I overwork myself a lot because whenever I’m not working, I have the understanding that someone else is,” he said.

It was while showcasing his material at the Durango Songwriters Expo that Paras piqued the attention of Adam Zelkind. The ASCAP-award-winning composer saw potential in Paras and offered to work with him on his debut. The two holed up in Zelkind’s recording studio in the Santa Barbara hills, where they spent months crafting a set of songs.

The end result, the Steel Jungle EP, features five heartfelt acoustic pop tunes accentuated with percussive and string flourishes. The songs would hold their own against the pensive pop of artists like John Mayer and Jason Mraz, and they have already found play on radio stations such as K-LITE 101.7.

Lyrically, Paras writes straight from personal experience, saying, “My biggest goal with songwriting is to create music that’s real. In my music, I just want to be true to what I’m actually feeling.” He distances himself from pop artists he considers inauthentic but acknowledges the difficulty in translating his inner life into a public performance, particularly as a teen. “I don’t think that being yourself is something that comes easily in junior high and high school,” he admitted.

Paras often affiliates with charities, such as Hands4Others, with whom he collaborated on an EP release party on April 17. The proceeds helped fund the construction of safe water systems in developing countries, and the event helped to save more than 100 lives, by the songwriter’s estimation. He partners with nonprofits in part to help others but also to invigorate area youth.

“Hands4Others’ message is that they want to empower the youth doing something that seems impossible to many, which is solve the world’s water crisis,” he said. “I encourage people to try to do things that seem impossible because every once in a while we may be successful.” Well spoken by a young man who has nurtured his childhood dream to fruition. With more than 30 potential songs being readied for an upcoming album, a likely music video on the way, and a growing fan base, it seems at this point for Paras, anything is possible. - Santa Barbara Independent

"Local songwriter gives back with his love of music and performing"

The lights are illuminating the stage of the Staples Center as he watches Bruno Mars entrance the crowd with his performance. He can’t believe his eyes, leaving him with ringing ears and the feeling of pure inspiration.

The 18-year-old Santa Barbara native and City College student, Jason Paras began his musical endeavors at the age of seven without really knowing it.

It all started with the basics, his dad taught him guitar and from there came the passion for songwriting.

“I was just messing around and I could naturally harmonize, I just started writing songs and I didn’t even know what songwriting was,” said Paras. “So, my parents were like ‘hmm he should try singing’ I had no idea it was abnormal to song write.”

City College is looming with talented musicians and mentors that are encouraging students to take their music careers to the next level.

Paras was recently asked to join City College’s very own jazz ensemble, Monday Madness Big Band, as their lead vocalist.

“I wanted to come here (City College) because it’s in town where I grew up and it has an incredible music program,” said Paras. “Being in Monday Madness is such a blessing, everyone in that room is either a professional or was a professional musician so it’s so cool to work with them.”

As a very community-driven musician he uses his talents to an advantage and produced a show this past June at the nightclub Velvet Jones— in Santa Barbara to bring together bands to help children in Honduras who don’t have all the necessities they need.

The benefit concert was a success and ended up saving 100 lives in Honduras by supplying them with fresh water for a lifetime.

“Sometimes when you play a song about a breakup, you think ‘man I really hope this helps someone in the crowd,’ because people feel alone so often. But with this it was like you didn’t have to really hope that there might be someone out there, we have evidence that we saved people’s lives with our music,” Paras said.

“He’s a talented guy who will make it one day. He’s a truly great entertainer who enjoys performing. His talent has brought him to where he is today,” said lead singer in the City College originated band, “Surprise Me,” Joveth Jorquia.

With his upcoming success Paras has already performed at venues around town, such as the Granada Theatre and the Santa Barbara Bowl, as well as two performances at hotels in Hawaii.

“It’s like a crazy blessing, cause there are thousands of people cheering for you, but at the same time it’s kind of just a way to see the possible future for myself.”

Before he wanted to become a professional musician, Paras had some other ideas in mind. With both his parents support, he either wanted to be a professional chess player or an expert water polo athlete.

Surprisingly he was already qualified for both.

The Dos Pueblos High School graduate not only played water polo all throughout high school, but also traveled the states competing in chess.

Just like his musical idols, John Mayer and Bruno Mars, he hopes to touch lives through his music. Eager to have people at the Staple Center to see him and leave with the same feeling that Bruno Mars left him with— inspiration and a bit of intimidation.

“Hopefully one day I’ll be able to play those stages and those people come because they feel something when they listen to my music,” Paras said.

The band will be playing in front of the Christmas tree in Paseo Nuevo on the evening of December 4. - The Channels


Still working on that hot first release.



Jason Paras is an 18 year old singer/songwriter from Santa Barbara who has performed at the sold out Santa Barbara Bowl, the sold out Chumash Casino, and the sold out Granada Theater, twice. He has opened for Styx and Don Felder of the Eagles, and has performed with Foreigner, twice. At age 16, Jason was named the no. 1 ranked 17 and under vocalist in California. He recently released his debut EP, which was recorded and produced by Adam Zelkind -- one of the most successful songwriters in the world. This past summer he performed in Colorado backed by BeyoncÄ‚Ĺ 's Saxophonist Tia Fuller, where Chris Daniels (Colorado Music Hall of Fame Inductee) stated that "Jason is one of the best new young songwriters of his generation."

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