With Pokemon Go being played across the world I wanted to take the opportunity to highlight the man behind the Pokemon theme song that has become so familiar to so many of us throughout the years. Jason Paige is a multitalented singer, songwriter, and producer who has worked alongside some of the biggest names in the business including Michael Jackson, Ray Charles, Liza Minelli, Luther Vandross, Patti Labelle, and many others.
His versatile vocal talents have opened doors for countless opportunities spanning film, stage, radio, and television. His life has truly been an adventure where he has done everything from tour for a year as the lead singer for Blood, Sweat and Tears, sang and beatboxed with Aerosmith, and provided vocal work in some of today’s top albums and films. He has sung some of the most well known jingles in advertising today including Subway’s “Eat Fresh” and Taco Bell’s “Think Outside the Bun”. Next to the phrase “man who can do it all” there should just always be a picture of Jason Paige because he has done just that.
One of the projects that brought much attention to Jason Paige as an artist was his work in providing the vocals for Pokemon’s theme song. I don’t think that Paige himself envisioned the success and impact that this song would have over an entire generation of Pokemon fans. Since its recording it has gone on to become one of the most recognizable themes in cartoon history.
With the rise of Pokemon Go the song has come back in to the light for many fans who fell in love with it all of those years ago. Pokemon Go has gained both positive and negative attention from fans and critics but overall it seems to be a game that has brought many people together who would not have normally had the opportunity to interact. No matter what changes or new aspects have been or will be added to the Pokemon franchise throughout the years, the theme song continues to be a binding factor and is a central element to the Pokemon franchise as a whole.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Jason Paige to find out more about his life as the singer behind the Pokemon theme song, his thoughts on Pokemon Go, and also how being such an integral part of the Pokemon theme song has changed his life.
Jason Paige Interview
TAMMY: First of all I’d just like to say that you are so talented. You really can do it all – writing, acting, singing, etc. What initially led you in to wanting to be a part of the entertainment business?
JASON: As an only child living with my single mom I attended NYC’s High-school of Music and Art (the FAME School) for voice. While street performing magic on Columbus Avenue, a manager saw me and started sending me on auditions. By the time i was 14 I had a band was doing national commercials and soaps, theater and more. It was all just a natural function of the neighborhood and my desire to express myself creatively.
TAMMY: Who were some of your earliest musical inspirations?
JASON: Stevie Wonder’s Hotter than July, Styx’s Pieces Of Eight and Police’s Ghost In The Machine were all part of the Columbia Record and Tape Club that I joined off the back of a comic book when I was 12. Those tapes along with my Mom’s Rocky Horror Picture show and Elton John albums shaped my early musical interests.
TAMMY: How were you picked to be the one to sing the Pokemon theme song and what were your initial thoughts on being chosen?
JASON: I do about 100-150 sessions a year. They are usually demos at first. This demo went final. I was a regular at the music house that we did it at. I don’t think they called anyone else.
TAMMY: I know that there have been some bumps along the way in regards to legal action over unfair compensation. Do you ever regret doing the vocals for the Pokemon theme song?
JASON: Not at all. I regret the influence of money on people’s morality and ability to critically think. Money molds people’s thoughts and actions. All problems and injustices in the world are a result of bad thinking.
TAMMY: What has been one of the most memorable experiences that you’ve had as a result of being such an iconic figure in the Pokemon franchise?
JASON: Walking past a store in the mall and hearing my voice on the themes tag line “Gotta catch em all Pokemon” echoing out of a dozen motion triggered plastic Pokemon room greeters.
TAMMY: Pokemon Go has really taken off out the gate. So many people love this game but there are also others who don’t appreciate it as much – which is fine, it’s not for everyone. Personally I see it as something that has brought people together from all walks of life who may not have met otherwise. It’s getting people out to do something fun together. My thoughts on it overall have been positive. What side do you find yourself on? Do you play?
JASON: I do. Team Mystic. It’s a great way to develop our ability to predict positive outcomes and expand critical thinking. There are no right answers on how to evolve Pokemon. Just a multiplicity of choices and possible outcomes. Everyone can evolve their Pokemon differently. We also need to communicate and share our insights to teach each other how to advance our Pokemon to their own individual highest states. The very same thing that we most need to do for each other. Plus you must move to play, so the physical part is healthy too.
TAMMY: What other projects would people be surprised to learn you have been a part of?
JASON: I sang BGs and did the Black and White Rap in Michael Jacksons 30th anniversary show at Madison Sq Garden. I wrote the Legomania song 1995-2000, I sang Pepto Bismol’s most famous jingle.
TAMMY: This is a tough industry to be a part of but you seem to have an overall positive attitude about the ups and the downs. How do you stay motivated and grounded through it all?
JASON: I understand the motives of the projects I’m involved with. And that helps me commit myself to messages I believe in. For the right reasons.
TAMMY: What advice do you have for anyone who is just getting started out in this business? Any lessons that you would like to pass on?
JASON: Do what you love and all will come. Hurry up and be wrong so you can learn how to grow from your mistakes.
TAMMY: What are you currently working on and excited about?
JASON: I have a new “Pokemon GO Theme Song” that’s gonna break the internet. Stay tuned to my Youtube and website for details. Also this just out today. Also I’m an original company member of For The Record. An amazing group of performers who present the best songs and scenes of a Director live on stage. Were doing the New Scorsese show at the Wallis Annenberg theater in Beverly Hills. Sept 21-Oct 16 (Schedule Lineup). And every year I conduct a 45 person choir in “BOTH”. A Beatles Gospel Nativity Christmas show that i arranged and co-produce with Martha Demson and Open Fist theater. It tells the nativity story with Beatles songs in a gospel style.
To find out more about Jason Paige, his latest news, and work you can visit his website at jasonpaige.com.