The music industry of the present day could be equated to survival of the fittest, but fortunately, New Brunswick native Jason Guerrette is wise beyond his years.
Guerrette is arguably best-known as a finalist from the 2012 season of reality television show Star Académie. Much to his admitted surprise, Guerrette made it all the way to being one of the final four contestants before he was ultimately sent home from the show.
Even more remarkable is the fact that his decision to enter the competition was purely a spur of the moment decision.
“My mother told me that my sister was planning to audition for the show, and that I should go an audition as well,” Guerrette says. “Initially, I pushed back as I didn’t think it was my kind of thing. The day of the auditions arrived and I decided I would audition, after all.”
He says that with more than 6,000 people having initially auditioned, his expectations were low. First, he made the top 100, and then survived making it into the Top 50, followed by the Top 25 and Top 14 placements.
The next round he survived, the one that brought him into the Top 4, was perhaps the most surprising. Despite not having walked away the winner, Guerrette says he still felt as though he would have to show people that he deserved his placement on the show.
“I always believed in myself and what I was capable of doing,” he says. “I was worried about being associated with the stigma of having been involved with Star Académie. That is actually a big reason why I work as hard as I do now. I want to show people that, regardless of whether I won or not, I deserved to have advanced as far as I had.”
While some vocalists and musicians enter into reality shows like Star Académie and American Idol thinking success will always be theirs once the television lights go out, Guerrette says he instinctively knew better.
“Thanks to Star Académie, the other contestants and I played eight shows at the Bell Centre in Montreal and another performance at the Colisée in Quebec City. It wasn’t the real world, however, and I was aware that it would never happen again on that level. I think as long as you go into those situations acknowledging that, you’re able to come out the other side that much more confidentl.
“Don’t get me wrong: I will always be grateful for having been part of such a great experience, but once the show wrapped up is when the real work began, in my books,” Guerrette says.
Music has been a life-long passion for the Edmundston native. He began his musical education at the age of six with voice and piano lessons before eventually moving onto the guitar.
In addition to having studied music at the Université de Moncton, Guerrette was also a music teacher at Moncton music store Long & McQuade.
Although he has called Montreal home for the last two years, Guerrette will be returning to New Brunswick in the near future on a permanent basis. In addition to staging a series of performances at Saint Jacques’ Parc de la Republique early this summer, Guerrette is also working away on finalizing material for his folk rock-inspired debut record.
As is often the case with independent musicians, Guerrette is currently exhausting all available options for both provincial and federal funding to help offset the gargantuan costs associated with making an album. He would like to see the album released sooner rather than later but says that taking the time to get everything right is the bigger concern.
“I want people to connect to my music on a deep level. Your debut album follows you for the rest of your career. I have an ideal release date in my head, but I want to be sure that I have the right team behind me, ready to push the record out to the world together.”
What: Jason Guerrette
When: Thursday May 14, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Empress Theatre, Robinson Court, Downtown Moncton
Tickets are $23 (plus service charges). Advance tickets are available at the Capitol Theatre Box Office (811 Main St., Moncton), by phone at (506) 856-4379 and online at www.capitol.nb.ca