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Mason Jennings always plays live

photo courtesy of BAR NONE
Mason Jennings wears simple shirts and writes simple songs with his acoustic guitar. His unique voice will be lighting up Solar Culture, 31 E. Toole Ave., tomorrow at 9 p.m.
By Gabe Joselow
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, February 26, 2004
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Mason Jennings is a no-gimmick, unique talent in the world of acoustic music. His voice is unforgettable, and despite all the makings of a superstar - including a host of female fans - he remains a down-to-earth friendly and thoughtful guy. He has just released his fourth album called Use Your Voice and is heading out on tour.

Wildcat: Can you tell us about the title of your new album, Use Your Voice?

Jennings: People have been asking me why I don't sign with a major label; and the state of music right now is so much about what's corporate, and individual voices don't really matter. And to me it was a statement that individual voices do matter.

Wildcat: What is something that you did for this album that you haven't done before?

Jennings: All the songs are recorded live with the band in the studio, so there's no overdubbing or anything like that. That's something that I read about in a Neil Young book called Shakey ... I was like, "Well I think that's a really good, honest way to go about it."

Wildcat: Your voice is really unique; is that something you've worked on or was it just natural?

Jennings: I think it's because I tried to sound like Robert Plant growing up, and I can't because my voice is too low. I just did the best I could to sound OK.

Wildcat: Who is somebody we might be surprised to hear influenced you?

If you go ...

Mason Jennings

Solar Culture

31 E. Toole Ave.

Tomorrow, 9 p.m.

Jennings: Prince was a huge influence - just because he always recorded everything himself, and that's how I started out, too.

Wildcat: How important is performing live for you?

Jennings: It's really, really important. I think it's probably my favorite part; and as the Internet takes over more and more, live performances have become more and more important.

Wildcat: Maybe this question is too personal, but why did you drop out of high school?

Jennings: It was family stuff. My parents split up and I just wasn't able to do the homework and stuff. I just kind of headed out, went on my way. But I would have preferred not to have dropped out. I feel like it wasn't the best few years there. But I guess in the end, it ended up being a lot of good stuff for songs.

Wildcat: How did you educate yourself?

Jennings: I would go to the library every day, and I would go to the classics section and read one book by every author. Then I'd go to the philosophy section. I worked really hard to educate myself, but there's still something to be said for turning in tests and getting critiqued.

Wildcat: What do you see for the future of American music?

Jennings: Hopefully it's going to become more regionalized. I'd like it if people start getting to hear music that's not so produced. Going out and seeing live music again and having that be valuable. I'd like to see some strange unique voices coming up out of it.

Wildcat: Biggie or Tupac?

Jennings: Probably Biggie.

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