The world may be watching YouTube star Jason Chen’s every video post, but he’s keeping his eye on a pickle. “I have to know where it is. If it moves somewhere else I just get really uncomfortable. I’ll just keep looking at it,” he tells UrbanWire of his unusual phobia that grew out of a nasty experience.

The other thing that’s surprising is that with 145 million views for his YouTube videos, Jason only started singing at 17 to ask a girl out for prom. Then in 2007, to shut up college friends who kept bugging him to post his songs on Youtube, he did just that, uploading a video every week under the handle miniachilles, named after his favourite Greek God.

Today the UCLA-trained accountant-turned-musician has his own brand Music Never Sleeps, with an owl for an icon, inspired by the late nights he’s spent working on his music. He has a second album due out next month, and he stopped by Singapore for the second time on Mar 20, giving a performance nothing less than remarkable to a roomful of dedicated fans.

But the man UrbanWire spoke to isn’t the same smiley, dimpled Jason Chen in his videos. The 24-year old talks to us shyly, almost with aloofness.

Jason Chen may also be a natural when it comes to music, but the disciplined, efficient accountant in him remains. “I don’t like leaving things not complete, … especially if I’m recording.”


The singer-songwriter, who pleased the crowd of adoring fans—compromising mostly of the many girls he’s charmed with his voice—singing along to his every song at Hard Rock Café, also cites “learning how to compromise” with other musicians as his biggest challenge of the past 6 years, despite having done so many collaborations with Youtube artists.

Perhaps this is why he’s so tuned to working with Joseph Vincent, whom he collaborated with most recently for a cover of Swedish House Mafia’sDon’t You Worry Child”. We’d like to think the inner goof hip-thrusting in that video reveals his true self in the presence of only a select few.

Joseph, another Youtube star, has appeared in many of Jason Chen’s most popular covers, including Nelly’sJust a Dream”. Jason tells us Joseph is his most favourite person to work with, explaining, “It’s funny ‘cause we didn’t know each other until we met up to do that video, but we’re good friends now.”

Jason, who cites Bruno Mars and Wang LeeHom as his models, fits effortlessly on stage, with his introversion translating into a very likable brand of boyish charm. His lack of nervousness can be attributed to the fact that this seasoned musician has played many violin performances since a young age.

Despite that, Jason dislikes being labelled as famous. “I don’t feel famous. It’s just, I mean, it’s changed my life in the sense that I have to be more careful because I like to try to be a role model,” Jason says, quoting Uncle Ben from Spider-Man, “With great power, comes great responsibility.”

Jason Chen’s second album, Never for Nothing comes out Apr 15. Inspired by “life experiences”, Never for Nothing will display more of Jason’s inner romantic, with songs such as “Hide and Seek”, a song about everyone having their own soul mate. “I’m searching for you,” he croons, while urging his fans to repeat with him during the showcase, before ending his 1-hour set with “Thank You”, which, the fans could only sing along to in gratitude.

 Photos courtesy of Leong Shiuan Wen.