My passion for music kept me moving forward and at seventeen I started a new band. We played anywhere and everywhere; two years later that band became Hawk Nelson and in 2003 we signed a record deal with Tooth & Nail Records out of Seattle, WA.
Everything came to a screeching halt in 2005 when I went to bed one evening and woke up in the Emergency Room the next morning. All the touring and un-scheduled living had taken its toll, my diabetes was winning. This was the final straw for my doctor, who had seen me dealing with sugar lows much too frequently. He gave me an ultimatum, “Get a pump or quit touring”. With a $10,000 loan from my record label, I got a pump. The pump finally made managing my diabetes while on the road possible.
My years with Hawk Nelson were incredible! I toured non-stop for ten years, travelling all over the world and selling over half a million albums. I was featured on television and in a movie, won numerous awards, and played to packed arenas.
In 2011 a simple conversation with a boy and his mother shook my world. They stopped me on a cold December night after one of my shows, and the mother shared with me that I was her son’s role model. He had been recently diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and, like me, he felt like a write-off; but when he discovered that his favorite singer had diabetes, he knew he could do anything he put his mind to, just like me.
For my entire teenage years and much of my young adult life I was angry at God because of my diabetes. What did I do to deserve this? Why would He allow something like this to happen to me? That night, through that woman and boy, God answered every question I had ever screamed up at Him. I decided to stop being angry and embarrassed by my diabetes and instead use it to help other young people, just like that boy.
The following year we (Hawk Nelson) wrapped up our 5 record deal with our label 'Tooth & Nail' records. For me I felt it was the perfect time to start something new, to build something from the ground up. It was an exciting and refreshing thought, and I felt the need for change, so in April of 2012 I set off on a solo adventure, leaving Hawk Nelson behind.
So here I am, almost one year later, with an album ready to be released; and a passion like I've never felt before. In January of last year I announced a project under the name “Lights Go Down”; after a month of intense studio work, I realized it wasn’t working. I recorded an entire album trying to be something I wasn’t, an acoustic singer song-writer. I scrapped that album, and lost my $20,000 investment, only to realize that I was the voice of Hawk Nelson for 10 years and I shouldn’t be running away from that, but instead, embracing it.
I started over and spent much of 2012 writing and recording my debut album, Abandon Progress with GRAMMY® nominated songwriter and producer, Aaron Rice (TobyMac, Mandisa, Rachael Lampa).
I also made a long time dream come true, I started a foundation to support children and young adults with diabetes, The Jason Dunn Diabetes Foundation ( www.jasondunnfoundation.com ). I took my diabetes story on the road last fall, playing shows to support my foundation; meeting young people with this disease; and using my story to encourage them. I want to be a role model, someone these young people can look up to, to bring them hope.
Recording an album is an expensive proposition and, for this album, I wanted to do it independently. Though my music stays true to the style of my former band, writing for this new project has been a refreshing season of not worrying about satisfying band-mates, labels, or fitting into genres. The downside is the cost. Most people do not realize what goes into making an album. An artist has to pay for the producer, musicians, mixing, and mastering; not to mention the costs of album artwork, packaging, creating the physical CD, and shipping. Needless to say, I am asking each of you to help support my album so I can pay off all this debt.
I would never ask you to do this without a great deal of thanks and some epic perks. Those of you who support me will have the first opportunity to receive my awesome new line of merch, AND my even more awesome new album! Oh, and did I mention, I will get to spend quality time with several of you; whether it be when I sing you a song on Google+; hang with you at my sweet online CD release party; hit the greens at my local mini-golf course; or even party with you in your living room at your own private acoustic show!
I have always had the best fans and I know you will help me to make my campaign a success. The next chapter has just begun; Abandon Progress is due out in May. How this next chapter is written depends on the support of people like you. I have put years of savings into this album; I am proud of it, and excited to share it with each and every one of you. Your support will help me to make these new dreams a reality. The initial $20K will help me to pay off my album, but any monies above that will go to my charity, helping other young people dream big despite diabetes.
Invite everyone you know to join the party and let’s raise $20K+. I can’t wait to begin this journey with all of you!