A local Red Deer youth, Jase Nelson, is quickly becoming a sensation and adding to the list of musical accomplishments he has achieved at only eight years of age.
By age six Jase had already performed the national anthem for events including the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame Induction Banquet. He had also been a headliner act for the Daines Cowboy Picnic as well as the annual Festival of Trees fundraiser in Red Deer.
Now, Nelson is taking on much bigger challenges including the Calgary Stampede and a trip to Los Angeles to take part in the International Presentation of Performers (iPop) in July.
“He is one of 20 kids selected across Canada and one of nine from Alberta, and the only one from Red Deer, going to iPop,” said Maggie Hewitt, Jase’s grandmother.
iPop is a presentation of performers aged 17 and under and pits Nelson against 2,500 American youth who are also vying for the attention of talent scouts.
Jase is extremely excited to be going to L.A. but says he would much rather be on Broadway in New York, as that is his life’s dream.
“I would love New York for the Broadway, but there’s Vegas which would also be another good place. I wouldn’t mind Vegas at all.”
The song that Nelson selected to showcase in L.A. as well as at the Calgary Stampede is Michael Jackson’s Ben.
“I sat down with my vocal coach and went through Youtube and narrowed it down to four songs: I’ll be There, ABC, Rockin’ Robin and Ben,” he says.
The decision was made based on his comfort with the song. Hewitt says Jase is more of a crooner, but has recently taken a liking to some of Jackson’s music.
Jase makes the trip to Calgary twice a week to train with his vocal coach for iPop as well as for the Stampede. His 45-minute time slot at the Calgary Stampede is a coveted performing time in mid-afternoon, and Hewitt says they are more than pleased to have the opportunity to let him shine.
“We can’t believe we went from Sneak-a-Peak last year, to the middle of Stampede that fast,” said Hewitt.
On top of being extremely musically gifted, Jase is a multi-faceted and multi-talented young artist. While in L.A., Nelson will be one of 50 youth selected to compete for star of the year.
The title ‘Star of the Year’ is given to the most talented child who competes in not only singing but also modelling and acting.
Jase is also involved in the Red Deer community and sings at the hospital once a year. Hewitt says he sings right to the patients, and Jase says he likes making them smile.
“There was one lady that gave me a dollar or two dollars once.”
His involvement in the community also extends into his music career by choosing songs from local artists. Hewitt says it is uncanny how quickly Jase can learn a song saying he has a “steel trap” of a mind for lyrics.
“There was one day we learned a song and the next day we played it on the radio during an interview.”
And while Jase is an extraordinary performer, he is still just a typical eight-year-old who says he loves playing in the sand and creating things through art.
His singing career began when his grandmother heard him sing along, word for word, to a song on the radio.
“He was four and he sang the whole song. I turned around and asked if he liked to sing and he said ‘Grandma I love it’.”
iPop takes place from July 2 – 7 and consists of a gruelling schedule of four days of workshops before performing before a panel of international talent scouts.
Nelson’s performance at the Calgary Stampede is on July 13th at 4:30 p.m., which is considered a prime time slot for a 45-minute solo performance.
“I’m serious about my music, and thankful for the support I get.”
For more information about Jase Nelson or iPop contact Maggie at email@example.com.