Back in 2009, a veritable tour de force was unleashed on the world of music. Wrapped in the body of a 15 year old boy, the artist, nay star, that is Jason Beaver.
His path to fame and fortune was a hard fought one. A hard trail, fraught with dangers and both mental and physical abuse.
This is Jason's story, in his own words.
I met up with him at the Ritz in New York. A cold and rainy October morning. Sitting in the plush foyer, Jason seemed nervous and a touch tired, sipping his warm lemonade.
Nick Hobbs: So Jason, how are you today?
Jason Beaver: Yeah, I'm OK. Far too early for me though. I don't know why you hacks can't learn to sleep in. I do have to sleep sometimes aswell, you know?
NH: But Jason, it's eleven in the morning!
JB: Exactly! I didn't know there were two eleven's in a day, until I started this job! Claire (his assistant) I want some doughnuts, not the sprinkles! I want choc chip, and hurry up!
NH: So we're here to talk about your rise to fame! Did you always want to be a star?
JB: I've always had a star quality. My gym teacher always said that. I was built like an artist, that's what he always said. And all the girls have always liked me. And I've always been popular at school. I was voted 'most likely to succeed' in my class.
NH: I see, isn't it true though that you put up with a certain amount of bullying? You say in your new book 'My Life In Words' by Jason Beaver, 16, that you suffered torment at school, from bullies who would attach very degrading signs to your back?
JB: Oh, yeah, that's true as well. It was a rough ride. A very evocative story...
NH: Don't you mean emotive?
JB: Don't you dare tell me what I mean! Who do you think you are? It's a great story anyway! I was brought up in a very tough area of the Hamptons. The poverty I saw when I was growing up was heartbreaking. One of our neighbours only had three cars, and one year I remember the Eastmans across the way could only afford two holidays! No one should have to live like that. It was brutal.
NH: As you say, brutal...So how did these surroundings affect your homelife, how was your relationship with your parents?
JB: I had a tough upbringing. Let's be fair, it was no easy ride. My parents were strict. They ruled with a rod of iron. Always on my case, making me tidy my room, or take the trash out! They once even banned me from riding my bike, just because I refused to load the dishwasher! But I was a rebel. I took their abuse and used it to condition myself, psychologically. Well that's what my agent told me, anyway. I remember breaking curfew once, I came back at 5 past 9 at night! My dad went mad! I just said 'bite me', and so to teach me a lesson, he did! I got him arrested for that one!
NH: I see, quite tough then. Do you think kid's today have it as tough as you did?
JB: To be honest, kid's today don't know they're born! I often think I'm lucky to have made it to 16. It was a wild ride, and looking back, I don't regret a thing. Sure there are things I would change. Like the time my dad banned me from going skiing with my friend Zach's family. I wish I'd just gone. But it's moments like that made me who I am.
NH: I see, your music seems very personal, do you use your life experiences to conjure up the lyrics to your songs?
JB: Well, of course at 16, I've seen and done an awful lot! I have full control over what my producers and the record label make me sing. I'm lucky, in that I see all the lyrics, just before I record them. So if there is a lyric I don't like, I can always make them rewrite a line or two, just to make it more specific to me. I remember in my hit 'Babe' there was a lyric that went something like 'I thought you'd always be mine', but I thought that was a little non-committal, so I changed it to 'I knew you'd always be mine, because I'm wonderful, and I knew you couldn't get enough of me'. I think it fits my character so much better!
NH: Do you have much influence on the musical side of the song writing?
JB: Absolutly! I'm always saying to the guys, I think it should be mmm-mmm-bow, not mmm-mmm-yow, ya know? I mean, I don't actually play an instrument, and I can't read music, but I don't think you need to, to know how a song should be written! I've listened to all the classics, N'Sync, Backstreet, even really early stuff like New Kids On The Block. I've done my history! Well, I got someone else to do it, but the effort was there!
NH: You've had some critics saying that you use vocal editing software, so a computer will effectively reconstruct your lines, to make them more in tune. How do you respond to that?
JB: Total BS, man, total BS! I've never touched any software. What happens after my track is recorded, well who knows? And anyway, I don't think these critics understand how difficult it is for a modern day artist. I mean, we're contantly doing interviews, TV spots, live shows, drinking, smoking, partying, up late, sleep in, takeaways! All that impacts on your voice. It's not like the old days, you know, Ricky Martin or someone, where you could do one show a month! I'm doing two, maybe three 30 minute sets a month! And then straight in to the studio for 15 minutes! No wonder my voice gets shot, so yeah, if using some technology is a crime, lock me up!
NH: So where are you headed next?
JB: I've got a signing in Toys R Us, then I'm going to Taco-Bel for some eats with my crew.
NH: I actually meant musically, not where are you physically going after this!
JB: You need to make yourself clearer, man! As interviewers go, you're not that practiced are you?
NH: Sorry, where are you headed next, musically?
JB: Well, I'm doing an album of the book next. It'll be called 'My Life In Music (And Words)', and I'm working with some really big name artists!
NH: Oh, like who?
JB: I don't know, they haven't told me yet!
NH: And the music, is it in the same style as your previous outing?
JB: I don't know, they haven't played it to me yet!
NH: What about the lyrics? Will they be directly taken from the book?
JB: I really don't know. They haven't shown me the lyrics yet either. I would assume so, but who really knows? It's in the hands of my label. I haven't had chance to read my book yet anyway, so maybe I'll find time soon, before we record the album.
NH: OK, so, the question all girls, and possibly a few guys, want to know, are you still single?
JB: What do you mean, guys? Are you implying something? Just who do you think you're talking to? I'll kick your ass, man!
NH: Sorry, it's just that you've become a bit of an icon, for both sides of the park, so to speak.
JB: I'm not gay! I don't have anything against the gays! But I'm not one! Honest, I even sang a song about girls. And I kissed one. So I'm not gay, that proves it!
NH: But you are single then?
JB: Well, yeah. But I'm not gayed up or anything. I like women's bits. I know, 'cause my mate Ben had a picture in our den of one...(whispered) and she was nude, don't tell mum!
NH: Well it's been an honour talking to you, Jason. Thanks for your time.
JB: Whatever. Try working on your technique. Make sure you tell everyone how handsome I am, and I'm not gay.
And with that the whirlwind of Jason Beaver strolled out of the plush hotel foyer, shouting at his assistant Claire and smashing her package to the pavement. She had only just arrived back with the doughnuts. Apparantly it was 'too late for doughnuts now, I want a Maccie D's'.
It is so good to know that our great musical heritage is in such good hands. It's in the care of great individuals like Jason, so full of talent and musical integrity.
The future of music is bright, the future of music is Beaver!