Passion for the people

Jason Warner and Demarco DeCiccio, known professionally as Jason and Demarco, have carved out a place as a unique act in the secular and Christian music markets. The couple, who first met in 2001 in Hollywood, were successful artists on their own before achieving further success as a duo. deMarco was a lead in the international touring company of the musical "California Dream Men" and Jason was a Christian artist in gospel groups, and then as a solo artist touring mostly through gay-accepting churches.

The duo have appeared on the cover of The Advocate magazine in 2004, and were also the subjects of a documentary-film, We're All Angels, where they discussed their personal and professional journey.On Saturday, Oct. 16, they will perform at Ford Theatre in the Country Music Hall of Fame as part of a benefit concert with Live Band for the Upper Room Fellowship and AIDS/Malaria relief in Africa. In an email conversation last week, Jason and Demarco discuss the upcoming event and their career plans for 2011.

O&AN: Your upcoming concert at the Country Music Hall of Fame is benefit for the Upper Room Fellowship and AIDS/Malaria relief in Africa. How did you become involved in these efforts?

deMarco: We have a passion for helping people.  We've been given the gift of music and song which we use to inspire and empower people and help raise awareness for certain causes that need attention. Jason lived in Nashville for a few years before his move to LA so we are connected with the community there and have done several events with Tony England before, the man behind this event. He has so much passion for helping people.

O&AN: Jason, since you are a former resident of Nashville. What do you look forward to the most each time you return?

Jason: Seeing my old roommates. One of my favorite times in my life were when I lived in Nashville and had a really nice apartment with my friends. I was out of the closet and was starting to enjoy myself and had a lot of love and support around me.

O&AN: How have you grown in your spirituality since your careers started?

Jason: Thank you for asking such a different and profound question. Lately we've really been connecting with discovering what our purpose is here on earth. We all have a purpose and when we make decisions to pursue that, it is very rewarding. Spirituality unites where as religion often divides so we appreciate you using the word "spirituality." No matter what faith community people belong to, we believe that the most enlightened within those different faiths are all saying the same thing; to love one another and do unto others as you would like them to do unto you. Often people focus on the differences, but we choose to look at the beliefs and traditions that we have in common and then celebrate the differences that make us unique. This is the world that we creating. 

O&AN: In terms of future music, what type of direction do you think it will take? What do you feel is your single greatest musical achievement so far in your careers?

deMarco: As Jason said this past weekend at our concert in Modesto, Calif., our style is always shifting and evolving, but no matter what style it is, people always know right away that it is us. We went really acoustic and "live" with our sound on our last album Safe, so I think we will continue to explore this "less is more" style in future recordings; however we are currently working on a live album. Musically our greatest achievement was having a documentary-film We're All Angels made about our journey and our work. It aired on Showtime for 18 months and is now airing on LOGO for another 18 months, which is allowing us to continue to reach more and more people.

O&AN: What other projects are you planning for the coming months? What can fans expect from you?

Jason: Fans can expect a new music video for our song "Safe" in the beginning of 2011. We've poured our heart and soul into this video because it is connected to a non-profit organization that we started also called "SAFE" (Safe, Affirming, Family, Environment), which aims to take homeless youth, half of which identify as GLBTQ) off the streets and connect them with gay-friendly safe homes in their city.  We are making a lot of progress and I will putting a lot more time and energy into developing this organization; more than ever, moving forward.  Read more about it at 

O&AN: How does traveling the country in support of your careers change and/or benefit your perspectives? What moments have you experienced that make this whole process worth it?

deMarco: Well, with the traveling we do, although it wears us out sometimes, most of the time it is an adventure. Every city, every community and every concert is different so it keeps it all fresh and keeps us on our toes. The more we travel, the more we see that there is a lot of work that needs to be done and that no matter where we go, we find people that are searching for deeper meaning in their life. Being a part of someone's transformation or a family's healing is the most rewarding part of what we do. That is why we believe we are here.  Someone told us once that so many young kids who didn't know how to come out to their parents and so many parents who didn't know how to come out to their kids would be dead if they hadn't caught a glimpse of hope or found a sense of purpose for their life by something we said or a song we sang.

O&AN: In the United States, we've experienced a small taste of political progress in terms of gay rights. What are your thoughts on how our country---both the government and the public at large---is responding to such an important issue?

deMarco: The most important thing is that we are "having the conversation" in the first place and that people are responding.  Whether the responses are positive or negative in nature, at least we are finally talking about the issues publicly and openly. We may take a step back for every two steps we take forward, but as Martin Luther King says, the moral arc of history leans towards justice. We don't protest, we don't demonstrate, and we don't get too political. There are people that are much more qualified to do that. Jason & I, as an openly gay couple, publicly stand in our truth and through our music videos continue to spread a message of love in mainstream music and the communities of faith. Sometimes we think that for a 1st world country, America is moving kind of slow when it comes to "equality for all people" under law, but we love this country and will play our part in shifting the mindset of those groups that think my relationship with Jason should not exist and that our love for each other is leading youth astray.

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