Wilkes coming home to Cedartown stage this weekend
Jason Wilkes remembers well the first time he stepped into the spotlight at the Cedartown Performing Arts Center.
He was in seventh grade and he had a bad case of the stage jitters. He was used to singing at church, in front of people he knew, but this was a game-changer for Wilkes.
He laughs as he recalls the butterflies in his stomach that day. “That was such a different thing for me, singing in front of a bunch of people. I was so nervous. It was awkward.”
But that first-time performance for Wilkes led him to step on that very stage many more times over the years. “I was in variety shows and one-act plays in high school,” he said, pausing for a moment. “I was in the Mr. Big Dawg competition in 2003. In fact, both me and Sam Hunt were in it and we both got beat out by Will Mink.”
Having long since recovered from his middle school awkwardness and his crushing defeat in vying for the Big Dawg crown, Wilkes has never really stopped performing.
His talents have taken him all over the nation, but on October 27, he’s coming home. He’ll step onto the same stage as he did when he was a pre-teen, but this time, with more than a decade of experience to help calm his nerves.
Wilkes is making a stop in his national tour at the Cedartown Performing Arts Center on Oct. 27 at 7:30 p.m. Though many Cedartown residents know him already, he was catapulted into the national spotlight during season 14 of the NBC hit show, “The Voice.”
“The Voice,” featured Wilkes as a blind audition contestant on March 6, 2018. He sang “One Headlight” by The Wallflowers and his performance resulted in music superstar judges Adam Levine and Blake Shelton giving Wilkes an opportunity to advance further in the show. With Shelton as his guide, Wilkes powered through the battle round singing “Nobody to Blame” by Chris Stapleton. During the live playoffs, Wilkes was eliminated from the competition – much to the dismay of his strong Cedartown fan base -- but immediately began booking concerts across the United States.
But even before “The Voice,” Wilkes was using his voice to inspire, encourage and entertain. He started small, in Cedartown of course, as the front man for Christian rock band, High Flight Society. The band’s popularity grew, spilling out across the U.S., as they traveled from the east coast to the west coast. The band also provided support early on in country music star Sam Hunt’s career. During this time, Wilkes played guitar and sang background vocals for Hunt. High Flight Society disbanded in 2012 after drummer Scotty Lockridge’s sudden passing.
Wilkes later joined the band Disciple, and helped release their album, “Attack,” worldwide. After touring with Disciple, Wilkes began his solo venture with the help of Shane Cole and other musicians. His first solo EP was released on March 14, 2017 titled, “No Filter - Part I.”
“It feels really good and I am excited about coming back to Cedartown, “Wilkes said. “It’s one thing to play for groups of people that like your music because of what they’ve heard during certain times along the way, but it’s a totally different feeling knowing that I will be playing for these folks that have been with me since I was born basically, that have been on the train with you since it’s been running. I can be myself, I don’t have to live up to some goofy standard from someone else.”
Wilkes is pleased to be bringing along a few friends he’s met on his journey as well. Kaleb Lee and Pryor Baird, both from “The Voice,” will also take the stage in Cedartown, performing prior to Wilkes. “They are both awesome, these guys are great. A lot of the folks supporting me during “The Voice” were also big supporters of Kaleb and Pryor.” Country artist Garrison Ray will also perform.
Wilkes has a cool surprise planned for concert-goers. “I’ll be performing a new song, one that tells the story of growing up in Cedartown. I am looking forward to sharing that in front of a hometown crowd.” There will be plenty of other songs as well. Wilkes is known for his original creations, but he’ll be sprinkling in a few cover songs that most folks will recognize as well.
“We are really excited to have the opportunity to have Wilkes return to his hometown to perform on a stage he’s familiar with, said Oscar Guzman, Cedartown Performing Arts Director. “We have a great opportunity to see Wilkes continue his rise to fame right in his hometown alongside other artists that are making a name for themselves. I can’t wait for our community to cheer him on that night.”
Tickets are still on sale at www.CedartownShows.com or by calling the box office at 770-748-4168! This is a star studded show you definitely don’t want to miss.