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    Profiles of Courage and Compassion: Jason Brock

    (Editor’s Note: Jason Brock is a Bay Area-based singer, performer, emcee and actor. He was a finalist on “The X-Factor” and starred in the film “Love Is Not Enough.”

    SS: How did you become involved in your work?

    JB: My family is a family of musicians. I was born around music. I began singing in public when I was 5 years old or so. My siblings and I sang in church with my mom while she played guitar. I went on to sing in church until I was about 19 when I started learning that other people really liked the way I sang (at karaoke bars). So, eventually I was asked to do cabaret & theatre and I kept doing that and got better and better. Now singing is what I do for a living!

    SS: Name one of your key mentors and explain how he or she inspired your work.

    JB: One of my key mentors has been my very own pianist, Dee Spencer. She really helped me to understand the world of piano bars and jazz. Dee gave me the opportunity to try different material in front of audiences when I was just starting out. She also demonstrates to me how a musician can make it in this world without having to work in a field that’s not related to music. I’ve progressed a lot as an artist thanks to her gentle guidance.

    SS: If you could fix or solve one major problem in the Bay Area, what would it be and why?

    JB: Wow, there are so many (and I’m not complaining, because I love it here). But how about MUNI? I think we need a lot more buses and train cars out there, because they are just so crowded! MUNI is currently running below the needed amount of vehicles fairly regularly and I’d like to get to sit down on my way to the Castro once in a while.

    SS: Among your many achievements, which one are you most proud of and why?

    JB: I’m most proud of the fact that I made it on to the TV show The X-Factor with Britney Spears, Simon Cowell, L.A. Reid & Demi Lovato. What an honor! What a life changing moment in my life. I had worked hard to become a great performer and making it onto that show, and into the top 12 contestants, really felt affirming. I felt like I had really accomplished my dream. And it’s true — I have.

    SS:  What are your future goals and aspirations?

    JB: Next I would like to get really stable and accomplished as an entertainer. I’d like to do more television & film and maybe even Broadway. I’d also like to perform in Tokyo and even live there. Big dreams! Oh, and unrelated to my career, I’d like to see marriage equality legalized (fully in the states and internationally) so I can have the option of marrying my boyfriend who is a Japanese citizen. This could potentially allow us to live in the same country more easily.

    Stu Smith is board chair emeritus of Shanti Project, board chair of The Paratransit Coordinating Council, a member of the Castro Country Club Advisory Board and the LGBT Senior Task Force, and producer and host of the public access TV program “The Drag Show.” KQED has honored Stu as a 2013 LGBT Hero.