A professional musician and music producer, Jason Wall is an active recording artist, performer and music educator. As a drummer he's recorded various projects with songwriter/producer Gary St. Clair, who in turn has worked with such artists as All-4-One, The Craze, David Hasselhoff, Nu Flavor and The Mile After. Wall has also worked on a number of recording projects with keyboardist, record producer and songwriter Matt "Doctor" Fink — former keyboard player in Prince's legendary band, The Revolution. Wall's drumming has been featured on various television shows including "MTV Road Rules," "VH1 Old Skool," "The Bad Girls Club," and in numerous projects for NBC Sports TV. Wall has lived in Pacifica since 2002. Many Pacificans know Jason's wife actress Laurie Wall, a frequent performer with the Pacifica Spindrift Players.
Currently juggling a rather large number of recording studio projects, running his new music production company "Sonusphere Music" (co-founded with Ben Thompson), and collaborating with artists all over the world on recordings, Wall is also in a new band featuring Dr. Fink, Ben Thompson, Leroy Chambers and Morris Pleasure. ("Mo" Pleasure is a multi-instrumentalist and producer, who has played keyboards for the likes of Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Earth, Wind & Fire, and Christina Aguilera.)
All this being the abridged version of Wall's music adventures, it hardly seems possible Wall would have time to co-found in 2012, along with Jean McCloskey, a non-profit record label, Future Youth Records, dedicated to helping youth, ages 12 to 17, write and release original music. But co-found it he did. He serves as FYR's executive director.
"This was created largely out of frustration that kids don't have enough opportunities to develop and record their original music," Wall said, "as well as frustration for where the record labels and business have headed in recent years. You can't possibly further the art of recorded music, if music is treated like a Wall Street commodity. That's exactly were music has gone. I also started seeing the gradual disappearance of music being used to raise awareness for issues, causes, etc. Our number one purpose as a label is to get the kids to use the songs they write to help others, or to give those in need a voice."
"With Future Youth Records, we teach kids about the process of songwriting, production and engineering, all under the guidance of top music industry veterans," Wall continued. "We will also take musically developed kids, right into the studio and help them record their music. So far we have brought eight kids into the studio and recorded three songs."
Kids also learn the industry's terminology and FYR adjusts the depth of what they teach, to meet each individual's needs and experience.
Raised in South San Francisco, Wall knows all about growing up with music as a reality, not just a possibility. He started playing drums in school band when he was nine. He continued on, through high school, playing orchestral, marching and jazz. At the age of 14, he was invited to play in CSM's symphonic band. Same year, he won several CMEA awards for solo percussion performance, percussion ensemble and band.
Through 1998-2000, he played in the Stanford University jazz program and was part of their jazz orchestra. In 1998, he played drums on the Stanford Jazz Orchestra's first critically-acclaimed record, alongside legendary drummer Louie Bellson, the orchestra's special guest. In 2000, he toured Europe with the Stanford Jazz Orchestra and Louie Bellson.
Wall has studied privately with some of the world's greatest drummers, including Bellson, as well as long-time Journey drummer Steve Smith. He additionally studied with John Xepoleas and Peter Magadini. In 1999, he played his first professional studio date — drums on the SimCity 3000 soundtrack. In the Mid 90s, he was invited to teach at Soundwall, a summer music camp for kids offered at the state of the art Music Center at University of California, Santa Cruz. Wall loved it and ended up staying 14 years. He has never forgotten how much music meant to him as a kid, and how much it still means.
Currently, Future Youth Records, http://www.futureyouthrecords.org/, has a special project going on. They are running an 8-week songwriting program for at-risk girls, from San Francisco's Mission Girls Services organization, every Wednesday evening out of the multi-million dollar recording facility Studio Trilogy, located on Bryant Street. (Recording clients have included — Lady Gaga, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, George Winston and Boz Scaggs.)
"We are teaching these six girls, ages 13 to 18, how to write songs in the hopes they will turn to this art form to vent their struggles," Wall said. "Most are on probation, one has a small child and they all are trying hard to get on the right path. They have no musical background whatsoever, so that's been a bit of a challenge. But it's great to see them grow each week as they learn about the songwriting and recording process. They are all a great joy to be around and I absolutely love seeing them each week."
On July 10, "American Idol" finalist Thia Megia is coming to work with the girls. (Wall and Pleasure are in the process of working on Megia's debut record.) Also attending this special session is Analisa Lono, from the San Francisco Chapter of the Recording Academy (the Grammy's).
"The primary purpose of the label is to give kids of all socio-economic backgrounds, the opportunity to release their creative energy through writing and recording music while at the same time teaching the value in supporting recorded music," Wall said. "And we see so much talent at Future Youth Records. It's pretty cool."
by Jean Bartlett