Jason Castro at the SLS Hotel, in Beverly Hills

I got invited to an industry showcase in Los Angeles this week – Jason Castro, who was on American Idol in 2008, and is now signed to Atlantic Records, was at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills. I’d never heard his music before, but the invitation came from someone who used to work with one of the singers on Rock Star, and she’s now working with Jason – so I jumped at the chance to go! If she believes in him, then he has to be good – right? And I’d been hearing about the SLS Hotel a lot lately – Ryan Star showcased there just last month – and a photographer I know did a session there in July that was beautiful – so I was excited to see the hotel as well.

The SLS is really as fabulous as I’d heard it was. I met Arlene Catherine there, and we spent quite a bit of time exploring and enjoying the chandeliers dipped in plastic, glass deer heads lit from within, lettuce head floral arrangements, orange leather couches, monkeys as fine art, mirrors everywhere, and private dining rooms done in all white or all black. Everywhere you look it’s fabulous and funky and modern and fun – and it’s less than a year old, so it still has that fresh new vibe.

And Jason was great! I got there early enough to hear him do an interview with the camera crew, and then do a snippet of a new song – and I really liked what I heard, so I knew it was going to be a good night! The showcase was outdoors, and the sun was setting, and it was a good crowd for the size of the space – in other words a perfect summer night in LA! There were exactly eight fans – I had a fun conversation with one of them, and she said they all knew each other from recent concerts. It’s always cool when a few real fans get into an event like this – their enthusiasm is contagious and it makes it more fun for everyone!

Jason started the show with the same song I’d heard him do a few bars of during his interview, and he said he had just finished tracking it in the studio last night – and so this was the first time he’d performed it in public – and it was definitely my favorite song of the night. It was earnest and sweet and poppy – and fun! I told him after the show that I thought his personality and his music were a perfect match. Only a truly winsome artist could get away with singing songs that sweet and carefree – and Jason is as winsome as they come. He’s totally enchanting in person!

The rest of his short set was good too – but that first song was my favorite – wish I could remember the name of it?! Funnily enough, my least favorite song of the evening was the one that he’s the most well-known for – he mentioned he’d done it on American Idol, but since I don’t watch the show, it was new to me – and it was fine – but his own material is just so much better.

After the show there was a moment before anyone had approached him, and his fans were hanging back, knowing that this was an industry showcase after all, so maybe they should wait a bit before rushing him. So it seemed like the perfect time to go over and tell Jason how much I loved the show. He’s just as charming up close, and I was chatting away when I suddenly realized that there was a camera trained on us – the same camera that had taped the entire performance and had recorded the interview earlier in the evening. It’s not like I didn’t know it was there – I was very aware of it for most of the night – but for some reason in my head, when the show ended, the camera went off too – right? Wrong…

I have no idea why I worry about getting caught being enthusiastic and passionate on camera? Why would I worry about getting caught being myself, at my most pure? It really is a mystery! But I have to admit, I’m secretly making a wish, for that the footage to never ever ever ever surface…

And finally I should mention how great the sound was! The SLS isn’t just good at funky modern decor and really fun food – they’re also really good at making an acoustic artist sound great!

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