Jason Scott’s parents pushed music on him from a young age, and he was never quite sure why, until he watched the Beatles’ famous appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1963.
“That’s when the lightbulb went on over my head…That’s when I realized that I want to do what these guys were doing,” Scott said.
Scott has been performing as Neil Diamond with his one-man show Diamond Forever: A Celebration of Neil Diamond since 1997 and will be bringing the tunes of the American legend to the Royal Canadian Legion in Golden on Aug. 15.
The idea to perform as Diamond grew out of a karaoke performance several years after his original musical career ended.
Scott was at a bar watching his beloved Vancouver Canucks when karaoke started up and his friend asked him to perform a Neil Diamond song.
“I just started singing…and there was this major ‘whoop’ that went up in the crowd and I thought the Canucks scored. I looked down and all the crowd is on its feet and they’re clapping (for me),” he said.
The idea grew from there and Scott began to study Diamond’s voice, techniques and mannerisms. Soon, impersonating Diamond became his full-time career.
Over the years, Scott has performed all across North America, including shows at The Rosen Plaza Hotel in Orlando, Florida, aboard The Royal Caribbean ship “The Monarch of the Seas”, and numerous casinos and soft-seat theatres.
There’s a certain quality about Diamond’s music that Scott believes makes him such an iconic performer across multiple generations.
“His music is absolutely timeless, he’s iconic and he’s the quintessential American songwriting troubadour,” Scott said. “(His songs) are ageless.”
While perfecting Diamond’s catalogue is extremely important, perfecting the artist’s look and mannerisms is also vital to delivering a full experience for the audience. Scott, who is bald, pays upwards of $3,000 for wigs and also manicures his eyebrows to look like those of Diamond.
“Other than that, I just put on the wig and let the sparkly shirt do the job,” Scott laughed.
Earlier this year, Scott was chosen to be the only Diamond performance artist to represent Canada in a musical documentary called “Play Me”. The film will showcase the on-and-off stage lives of select Neil Diamond artists from around the world.
The red carpet event for the film is set for next summer, and Scott believes this might finally be his chance to meet the actual Neil Diamond.
“I think it will be on that red carpet that I will be meeting Neil Diamond, because I cannot see him not being at that event,” he said.
Tickets for the show are available from the Golden branch of the Legion.