Jason Dottley...A Sordid Life No More
Re-emerging on the pop scene, music sensation Jason Dottley has been dodging one bullet after another in the midst of promoting his new single. A triple threat - Dottley is a singer/writer/producer - he makes no bones about courting controversy, though recently headlines have focused on his private life, Dottley has experienced some bias even as he unleashed the video for his single "It's Our Night."
Given the track's electro-pulsating beat, Dottley could have effortlessly choreographed an assembled group of muscled-up hard bodies, casting alluring lights and shadows across the screen. Instead, he took a retro-active approach to "It's Our Night" and nostalgically delivered a film noir-like narrative - with intrigue and sinister intentions. His critics appeared nonplussed by the artist's vérité efforts.
"Within three and a half minutes," Dottley begins to describe, "I wanted to do something as close to an acting project, and as far from a music video as I could." In the high-concept story line for "It's Our Night," Dottley appears on a mission to assassinate a former lover, but there are many chess pieces in play. The drama escalates at a black tie affair, and fists go flying, guns go off! "There were no dancers, very little lip-syncing - it was just a story, and I got to play a character." His previous videos had been extremely typical and run of the mill expectation for a dance artist.
It’s Dottley’s Night
Pushing the envelope, being edgy, didn’t vibe with some of his public, who erroneously criticized Dottley for "playing straight" in the video which pays homage to the golden age of MTV. "I grew up watching Madonna put out music videos that were events," he says. "I wanted to make a music video the way that I understood music videos to be." Dottley single-handedly is attempting to reintroduce a lost art. "I loved making that video."
He’s equally excited about the new music, this track especially. "The song is my ode to 90’s dance music," The track produced by Christopher Vieno, is from Dottley’s upcoming full-album project entitled "Love Story." "When I first started working on this album, everything I was writing was sad - pure escapism." He wouldn’t allow that grey cloud to rain on his mood. He decided instead to turn his attention on the celebration of love. "The album begins with the end of one love affair, and into new love."
With such a perfect segue (it’s a practically staged set-up), it’s impossible to avoid the elephant that’s been pacing in the room. Immediately Dottley nips things in the bud regarding his recent separation (after nearly 10 years together, 3 married), then divorce from filmmaker/screenwriter Del Shores, the creator of the cult favorite series "Sordid Lives."
A Sordid Life?
The public has had a love/hate relationship with Jason Dottley who appeared on the series "Sordid Lives" as "Ty Williamson" after replacing Kirk Geiger, who portrayed the character in the original movie. The press wasn’t as unfairly harsh with Dottley during this hyper-sensitive upheaval in his life, as every blogger, Facebook fan or Twitterer who felt they had a voice in the matter.
"Our society feeds on dysfunction," Dottley says. "We’re slaves to reality television - I’m guilty of that as well - which is all about dysfunction. At some point, it seeps into your own life. You’re solely responsible for the energy you allow into your life." Certainly in our age of marriage-equality to see an example of a celebrated gay couple, whose marriage crumbled led to much personal dissolution for Dottley. He wasn’t prepared for the backlash.
"We have to stop celebrating what we perceive as failure," he says. "When you’re dealing with love, marriage and divorce - these are some of the most intense emotional experiences you can go through. For someone who doesn’t know you to tell you how horrible a person you are; describe you as a ’user’...I think people need to learn a little about respect."
It toughened Dottley some, but strengthened his resolve for sure to endure the end of his marriage and partnership with Shores. Fortunately he was able to pour himself into his music, and produce a project that he feels is one of his most authentic works yet. "It was important to have an album that was entirely positive. It saved my sanity."
Modern Day "Love Story"
With how invested he becomes in his creative efforts, you wonder if Jason Dottley is ever satisfied. "I don’t even know what the word ’satisfied’ means. As an artistic person, there’s always a level of dissatisfaction - it’s that dissatisfaction that keeps you to drive to do more. Dance records rarely last more than one week. Once you peak, you fall."
In an age wrought with very little originality in popular music, Dottley is centered on being honest in his work. "I realized a long time ago," he says, "I can never make any [audience] demographic happy. I’ll do something that may be perceived as ’too gay’ or ’not gay enough’. The only demographic I care about is myself."
Rejuvenated in many, and in most aspects, of his life, the new single is empowering Dottley and allowing him to reconnect with his love of performing. He is now once again open to love, fiercely invested in his music, and never more concentrated on his acting career.
"My time here in New York has been focused on my acting, but I’ll definitely be out there playing." Dottley had spent the last years, criss-crossing and touring the country - hitting gay clubs and musical festivals alike performing "Party Round the World" his duet with Debby Holiday. "Performing my music is the reason I record my music. It’s otherwise an incomplete process."
It appeared that way at least once while on the road, when a featured guest performer - a local drag queen - was scheduled to appear on stage during the track...and didn’t show up! "Who would believe someone could stand you up - on stage!" But the show went on, minus the drag queen and Dottley kept the party going. "Shit happens in live theater."
Jason Dottley is also extremely conscious of his continuing role as a role model, and one of a handful of out artist in media and especially in popular music. "No disrespect to the journey, but I wonder what anyone is afraid of," he says about coming out. "If you weren’t afraid, do people realize how many lives can be affected and saved, because of the example you can set?" Determined to continue to fight on his own obligation to speak loudly, he’s creating a unique platform and calling it "The Love Story Project."
With it, he hopes to reveal to the world the many reflections of love as experienced in the LGBT community. "If you can see how gay people love, then you’ll learn not to fear, but embrace what it is that makes you special." Will you be a part of Jason Dottley’s love story?
Jason Dottley returns to perform in New York City at Industry Bar, April 9th. It’s the artist’s first performance after a four year absence in the Big Apple. He’ll be hitting the Hell’s Kitchen hotspot along with special guest DJ Kevin Graves. Industry Bar is located at 355 West 52nd Street. Goto www.industry-bar.com for more information.
To learn more about Jason Dottley and "The Love Story Project" visit the campaign page - tell your story and be a part of his story.
Jason Dottley’s new single "It’s Our Night" is now available on most digital download platforms. Check out the video for the track here: