A little about my past
I am an independent musician with a deep found affinity and love for new age music and all forms that it is varied from or that vary from it including melodic trance, Celtic, light jazz, dance, good techno, and so much more.
It all started back in 1986 when I was visiting my father. We were driving up the rough and rugged logging roads of the British Columbia coastal mountains in his old beat up Isuzu. He pulled an audio cassette out of the console and popped it into the tape deck. The music that started to play was some of the most beautiful music I had ever heard in my life. I was enthralled. There I was, in the mountains surrounded by some of the most majestic scenery in the world with this fantastic music washing over me. This was it, this was the moment dreams were made of. As it turns out the music I was listening to was my first introduction to Ray Lynch.
I was spellbound by that album. I couldn't get it out of my mind. As a kid it was so far fetch from what all my peers listened to. My father sent me a duplicate of the tape and I played it until my cassette player got sick of it and ate it. I was sad. Soon after I got a CD player and picked up that album, Deep Breakfast, and all the rest of his CDs. That summer I took the little money I had earned working at a summer camp and bought my first synthesizers. A Roland D-20 and a Roland Sound Canvas 55. I managed to pick up an institutional copy of Cakewalk 3 from my high school and an internal MIDI card from a downtown music store.
My sequencing days had begun. I started by recording music I was listening to by ear, but soon enough I was off on my own composing rifts, chord sequences, and eventually melodies. My high school music teacher and department heads were so impressed with my progress they requested that I submit a piece of music to be judged as my grade 12 music exam rather than taking the written theory exam other students had to take. They listened to it over the winter break and when school resumed in January they passed me with flying colors. The piece I submitted was called "High Albedo" and was my first independent musical piece.
Since those days I have spent time on and off playing with my music. I've never really considered it as a source of income. I have the marketing skills of an orangutan. But that doesn't discourage me. People tell me they enjoy my music and that alone is enough to keep me motivated to keep composing and recording. With each new piece I learn more and expand on my style, if even ever so slightly. In 1997 I moved to Pennsylvania where I met my wonderful wife, Kelley. Of course as I am sure people can figure, my song Kelley's Song was named in her honor and dedicated to her. She has supported my musical hobby since we first met. She even bought me my Mackie mixer as an anniversary present! They say the way to a man's heart is through his music studio? I don't know, but it sure works for me!
So here I am today, 4 albums out, another few dozen or so tracks that I haven't released, and I'm still going strong. I write what I like to hear. My wife asked me once, "Don't you feel strange listening to your own music?" to which I replied, "No, if I didn't like to listen to it I wouldn't write it."
Why this name?
My name is Jason Ward, and since I am a solo artist I didn't really feel the need to make up a band or alter-ego name. I am sort of "cursed" with a common name, so many times I am unable to get my own name on other websites. Because of this I am frequently found as WardStudios, JasonWardStudios, or Ward-Studios.com on other sites. I prefer to use JasonWardStudios or WardStudios when possible.
Do you play live?
I do not play live. The way I record music involves a lot of time sequencing individual tracks and compiling them all together into a final score. I have a private studio where I spend my hours composing, arranging, and producing my music.
How, do you think, does the internet (or mp3) change the music industry?
The internet opens wonderful possibilities to independent musicians such as myself to expose our music to everyone around the world in a unique and exciting new way. When I first joined the original MP3 web site in the late 90's I had not previously exposed my music to anyone outside of immediate family, friends, and music teachers. The advent of the MP3 file and the popular sites surrounding it really gave me an opportunity to expose my music to complete strangers and hopefully potential future fans. I have never strongly promoted my music, but those who have found my music typically enjoy it and return to listen again from what I've been told. Thanks to the internet and the popularity of the MP3 I have exposed my music to the world
More recently I began producing music videos and posting them on Youtube. I don't get hundreds of thousands of views and I have not yet released a music video that has gone viral, but I do get tens of thousands of views. I feel this validates my work and proves that more than a couple of people enjoy what I compose. I like YouTube and find it gives me a wonderful resource to promote my music.
Would you sign a record contract with a major label?
If I were presented with the opportunity to sign with a label I am sure I would give it strong consideration. My music style isn't very main-stream. Many artists who have made it in the new age music genre have had to start their own labels, but there are a few out there that carry new age musicians and some that specialize in the new age genre as a whole.
My biggest musical influence from a very young age has always been Ray Lynch. Ever since I first heard his amazing album "Deep Breakfast" I have been lost in the wonderful world of new age music. Other people who have had a big influence on me and my style are Yanni, Vangelis, Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger), James Horner (Titanic, Perfect Storm, Avatar), Enya (Homeward Bound, Lord of the Rings), David Lantz, and Robert Miles just to name a few of the many.
It is easy to find inspiration if one just takes the time to look around them and be inspired. Frequently I will compose a new piece of music after visiting a location I find awe inspiring and beautiful such as a secluded waterfall, stunning natural gorge, or gorgeous mountain peak. One doesn't have to travel to exotic distant locations to find such places. Often times local parks or game lands can be found within a couple of hours drive from where they live.
I have also been influenced by really good movies. A few movies have inspired me to compose new scores including "The Lord of the Rings" and "Avatar".
I love being completely surrounded by nature, and this is no more true than when I am in the mountains. Whether looking up at them in awe from the ground or down across the land and ocean from their slopes, there is little in the world that can inspire me more. As for my favorite city, I would have to say Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Some of my favorite places I have visited include Glen Onoko near Jim Thorpe in Pennsylvania, Green Lane park in Green Lane Pennsylvania, Soames hill in Gibsons British Columbia. There are dozens of natural places I've been that I consider relaxing and inspirational. My visit to Glen Onoko spurred my imagination and helped me produce my musical work by the same name.
My studio is what I am sure many now-a-days would consider old school. I use rack mounted synthesizer modules and effects units with an analogue mixer. The following devices and DAW pacakages are what makes my studio whole:
All Ward-Studios.com albums | New Age Music by Jason Ward