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Art & Life with Jayson Coleman

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jayson Coleman.

Jayson, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
Native born here at Mercy Hospital, I had an inner ear problem when I was learning how to walk. I always fell down. I got an operation to fix it and Drs told my parents that I needed to get some hand-eye co-ordination so they enrolled me in a neighborhood tap class at the Allied Gardens rec center where local tap teacher Sue Hamilton held my hand and taught me the dance. The rhythm of the tap, the music and singing “Me and my teddy bear” and “I’m a little Tea Pot” and the help of Sue at her studio on El Cajon Blvd (alas it is now a smoke shop) gave me the gifts starting at 3. Over the years, I did shows at the JCC on 54th and University, did singing telegrams, played a little piano and performed with Sue. Type 1 Diabetes hit when I was 11. I lost 25 pounds in 2 weeks, my folks split and my arts stopped. Always singing in the halls at school, I was recruited by Bob Keller at Patrick Henry High to sing with the Bell Canto singers and actually received a scholarship to go to NAU in Flagstaff after singing only 1 song in an unprepared audition. Bob came to me the night before and said there was an audition the next day and I should just sing a scale or something, but I remembered that my dad had given me a 45 of Perry Como singing Ave Maria on one side and The Lord’s Prayer on the other. So while the snow fell outside, I closed my eyes and sang TLP acapella. Later in SD, I sang with Cherry Cola and Janet Russell of Singers Workshop, got into Starlite at Balboa Park, did 9 shows (including tap) with the Lyric Opera and then moved on to the big SD Opera. 17 years with Janet Hammers Full Measure Carolers, 20 years with Silverwood Music Ensemble and now 9 years of singing Tenor for La Jolla United Methodist Church. I coach voice, perform with Inachord Men’s Ensemble and am actually working on a musical writing lyrics for a friend. I have produced two albums and the current Christmas CD has two original jazz songs all done with the Danny Green Trio. One tune on the CD was chosen for the Christmas Magic internationally release compilation Christmas CD that goes out to kids in hospitals in December all over the world. I sing in 6 languages and tailor make a program that seems to shock people when one tune is in Spanish, then next in Portuguese, the next in German, etc. All done in Jazz, Country, Pop, Classical, Folk and Gospel styles. I even did a bit for a Fiat commercial and translated the tune of Just the Good Old Boys to the copy from Fiat. I made the Italian words fit the tune. I was shocked when I got paid double for my efforts. When people ask me what do I sing? I respond with, “What would you like to hear.” But the best is knowing that there was one lady who asked to hear my music as she was passing. She only wanted to hear me. According to her daughter, my music was the last music she heard. Now that is something that doesn’t happen every day.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
Music has saved my soul. I do not understand music without a good message or a good melody. There is a lot of pain in our world and our music has changed to include that. You can make music wherever you are. I have been known to take spoons off the table and play them while singing harmonies at local restaurants where artists share their gifts or singing while shopping in Home Depot where people think there was a radio in the next aisle.

In one of the vids called “Daydream” on YouTube, I remember back in 2003 I was demolishing a bathroom out in Palm Springs for a friend. They had a radio station out there that played the Oldies – Como, King Cole, Ella, etc. I heard these four “Prep-tones” clip the phrase of the song, “What a day for a Daydream” (1966 Lovin’ Spoonfulls) and found my feet shuffling across the floor where the grout I had just pulled up sounded like sand under my feet. It made a kind of like brush on a snare drum sound. I called my buddy John Buonomo who at the time was the caretaker for the Liberace Estate out there and asked him to find me a studio. I went in and recorded 16 tracks (in a garage at 103 degree heat) – all of my own voice- and sang all the parts as they came into my head. People who watch the video still ask me where the band is. I have to laugh.

You see there is music all around us – but our lifestyle is so fast that we don’t stop to really pay attention. Just look at the art here in SD, on the streets, in the park, in the theatres – yet the very thing that will return us to being human, the very thing that is the very JOY of Life – Art – is not supported, not cultured and not appreciated. Back when I worked for the Moonlight Serenade Orchestra at the Lucky Star Restaurant – we made 5-11 dollars a night. We weren’t there for the money – we were there because music and dancing brought joy to so many. This is why I do it.

How do you think about success, as an artist, and what do quality do you feel is most helpful?
True Artistry comes from being honest with wherever you are in your life at any given moment. If you’re sad or happy, it makes no difference – BUT YOU MUST BE HONEST with yourself and NOT deny the feeling. True artists use their emotion to unleash the soul’s beauty. Just look at all the Masters. Bach, Beethoven, Liszt, Van Gogh, Rodin, Picasso, Dega even to later days with Ella, Torme, King Cole, Ellington – they all has something a little off that separated them from the rest of the world – but it was the genius through their art that reconnected with the crazy world that sometimes couldn’t even appreciate their gifts when they were alive. If you really want to do something for this planet – support the talents of your children for they are our future. If you want to open the door in the morning, you must shut it in the evening. Fund kids arts programs. When your kid wants to dance – let him dance. When she wants to sing – let her sing. Don’t cut the funding for the arts: It’s like cutting off your own circulation with a tourniquet. Arts are the very lifeblood of our society, not everyone can be a day trader or an investment broker. Take it from the guy who once got one of the best voice lessons he ever had while digging graves by hand for the El Cajon Cemetery for $5.65 an hour- you have to activate your life force. When you do, God is living in everything your think, speak and do. (God Is In You and Me) And remember – I have found that my own depression was a direct result of my genius having no place to go. Get out there, dance, put on a Mariachi hat, write a book (Look for mine soon), sing a song, but you must engage the self and look past the self-image. Jayson Coleman

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
I’m not the best marketer – that is the problem. If it weren’t for my partner Erick, there would NOT be a single video (there are 50) on YouTube. If anyone had “Wind beneath their wings,” Erick is mine.

Come support us at La Jolla United Methodist Church Sundays and at four major concerts during the year. If you want a small combo put together for a party, give me a holler. Weddings, Memorial Services, Voice Overs, Special Projects – I am easy to find on the internet. Just remember it is Jayson with a “Y” and Coleman like the college or the stove.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Photos taken by Jayson Coleman in San Diego CA

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