Portray Stories through the Music.
Jason Michael Paul / Entertainment Producer
My Roots Lie in Music and Video Games.
Many young people have never attended a symphony concert or listened to an orchestra live. Concert producer Jason Michael Paul, however, uses video games to reach an atypical audience, one that is passionate and nostalgic about games. He wants his audience to connect to symphonic music through the experience of hearing game soundtracks and seeing video storytelling from famous games many grew up with. We asked Jason Michael Paul about his passion, his ideas, his dreams, and what he hopes audiences will take away from his shows.
A San Francisco childhood centered on family enjoying me playing music lead to my unique musical career.
My earliest memories of sound and music date back to my father playing the drums. He was in a rock 'n' roll band, so naturally, I would try and copy him. I have played the drums for as long as I can remember. I also started playing the piano at age 10 and played guitar when I was 15. My first musical influences were rock, jazz standards and classical music such as Chopin, Beethoven, Rachmaninov and Gershwin. My grandmother grew up in an Italian-and-Spanish family on a farm, and she listened to opera and classical music. I'm sure she passed down the joy that comes from playing music and entertaining. My parents and sister also enjoyed me playing and seeing me enjoying myself and improving gave my family pleasure. Often for family gatherings around the holidays, my father would put together skits for which I performed the music. Playing at those gatherings is still a fond memory.
My first experience playing instruments was with my dad’s mahogany drum kit. It was massive and took up our whole home studio. We also had a baby grand piano we inherited from my grandmother. I had a variety of acoustic and electric guitars, which I played more often as I got older. Although my interests frequently changed when I was young, my love for and interest in music were always there. In the end, my passion to be a producer stems from the love of music that was nurtured by my parents and my family.
Video games lead me to the new world of entertainment.
Another of my passions growing up was video games. I’m originally from San Francisco, which was a hotbed for video games, and this fed my interest. My initial interest dates back to the "Pong" days, when the Commodore 64, and the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) ruled the scene. I especially loved the catchy video game music from such titles as "Castlevania," "Double Dragon," "The Legend of Zelda," "Dragon Quest" and "Final Fantasy." Eventually, I landed a production job working with PlayStation and SquareSoft.
I still play games often today, and I own multiple game consoles I play on with my family. It’s a big part of my life, and I play games like "Call of Duty," and "NBA 2K" to unwind from the stresses of daily life.
I started to work professionally at age 20. Although I started my career as a production assistant, with my passion for producing music, my eyes opened to video games merging with music when I began visiting Japan. I went to a concert in Tokyo conducted by Koichi Sugiyama of "Dragon Quest" fame in 2002 (age 25). Around the same time, I went to a "Final Fantasy" concert. I was production manager for Luciano Pavarotti at the time, and that is where the idea came from. The show was a hybrid of video game footage and video game music arranged for orchestra. It truly inspired me. It was a lightbulb moment. It had not been done in the U.S., so I saw it as my opening to do something new and game-changing.
Combining my two passions: Music and Video games.
My first client was PlayStation. From there, I worked for a host of clients including Square Enix, Sun Microsystems, Luciano Pavarotti, The Three Tenors, Elton John, Michael McDonald, Patti Austin, Outkast, Andrea Bocelli, Sarah Brightman, Nintendo, Microsoft, and the list goes on. My career has taken me all over the world, and I started creating my own shows in 2004. I never looked back.
I was asked to create a symphony show for the "Legend of Zelda" 25th anniversary in 2011. Three shows, in London, Los Angeles, and Tokyo. The shows sold out, and their success was overwhelming, so much so that I created a tour entitled "The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses." It has been touring ever since. At that time, we also did a 25th-anniversary recording that was critically acclaimed and praised by the media.
- Jason Michael Paul / Entertainment Producer
- A pioneer and leader in the live symphonic concert industry, Jason Michael Paul Entertainment, Inc., produces and promotes concerts for leading international artists, as well as a series of live symphonic concerts that make video game music come to life.