They call themselves “a band that wants to spark curiosity in those who don’t know Christ, and wake up those who do,” and for Hillsboro’s Jason Burns and the other members of the band North High, the chance for others to literally catch the spirit will come during its album release party at the Hillsboro Orpheum at 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23.
Burns, the owner of Cowaburger in Hillsboro, said the band came about roughly three years ago, through a collaboration with local musicians James Scott and Dawson Barrerras.
Scott had been on a national tour with a band he was in and after its break up, returned to Hillsboro and got back together with Burns, whose daughter Tatum was showing signs of being a serious musician.
“As a dad, it doesn’t matter how good your kid really is, you think they’re the best no matter what,” he said. “I had been taking her to Wilmington for piano lessons and asked James if he’d take a listen to her and see if she had talent worth developing.”
Later, when Scott returned from the road, he was a professing atheist and Burns, who said his wife “dragged him to church at Good News Gathering” several years earlier, was a believer and over the course of working with his daughter in a small studio in Hillsboro, Scott showed up at church unexpectedly one Sunday, rededicating his life to Christ.
“I had been playing bass guitar at Good News Gathering for over 20 years,” he said. “And James showed up with an orange hoodie with it up over his head so no one could see who he was.”
He said he and other members of the Good News Gathering musicians had been impressed with the desire to play more outside of church, and Scott’s reappearance solidified that desire.
“Church is supposed to be more than just an hour-and-a-half on Sunday,” Burns said. “It’s supposed to happen all week long.”
He said another member of North High, Dawson Barreras, took in a concert with Scott at the 2016 Festival of the Bells where the Christian rock band Building 429 was performing, and came away from the performance with the desire to form their own group.
“The very next year, we had the opportunity to open for Danny Gokey,” Brown said. “After that we began collectively putting our money together to see what was next, and then we opened Jumpstart Music to try to help kids here in town.”
Burns said the name of the group was influenced by the number of personal experiences he and its members had on North High Street, such as accepting Jesus as Lord and starting a business on that street in Hillsboro. It was on North High in Columbus when life began to unravel and he fell away from God. But most importantly, deliverance was found on that Hillsboro street as well.
“When James came back to Hillsboro and told everyone he was an atheist, it was on North High Street in Hillsboro where he found redemption,” Burns said. “There was just so much that was wrapped around that street that we thought, ‘what an awesome name.’”
The album release party for North High’s CD “Scribbles,” which he said has tickets available through Facebook, will feature a professional sound and light crew from Columbus to run lighting and audio, in addition to professional videographers from Cleveland to shoot the entire concert, with the different video segments eventually finding their way to YouTube.
Fans and friends can keep up to date with the band by going online to www.facebook.com/NorthHighOhio.
He said his daughter, now 13 years old and a student in the Hillsboro City School system, appears in a web TV show called “Shine,” which is sponsored by Viacom.
He said the producers and stars of the series — Brandon Stewart, Ashthon Jones, Vanessa Birchfield and Lil Bre — all have backgrounds appearing on shows like “American Idol” and “The Voice,” and the format of Shine mirrors those productions.
According to the Internet Movie Data Base website, Shine is a singing competition that challenges talented, undiscovered artists such as Burns’ daughter to compete against one another while finding their own voice.
The site said singers on the show must learn to write their own music, build their own brand, and pitch themselves as the next famous indie phenomenon.
He said his daughter, known to those who watch the series on YouTube as Tatum Roxx, auditioned and appeared in the first round of competition in July in Cincinnati and progressed to the second round in Kentucky, where the remainder of the season was shot.
“We’re not allowed to say publicly that she’s made it to the finals,” he said, “because all of this is still going on and in Hollywood, things happen six months before the public sees them happen.”
In the first audition, Burns said Tatum could sing an original song or cover an established hit, but for the second round, she was paired up with two other singers with the goal of writing a verse and chorus of something that might appear on any of their records, with a time limit of 90 minutes to come up with the original music.
“What they do then is take all of the contestants’ verse and chorus,” he said, “and then they disappear for a half hour and come back and pass it out to difference people so they can interpret what somebody else wrote, and then they give you 30 minutes to figure out how you’re going to do it and then perform it… It’s a lot for a 13-year-old girl to do, but she’s doing it.”
YouTube will stream the season finale sometime in January, Bruns said, when the final 10 contestants will battle for the vote of the people watching using their own lyrics, their own vision and their own voice.
Votes, comments and streams are added up to determine the winner, he said, and as Tatum heads into the elimination rounds, votes are critical.
Her fans, or “pebbles,” as she calls them, can vote for her in the comments section on YouTube just below the episode of Shine by going to #TeamTatum, and fans can check out her music at www.facebook.com/TatumRoxx/.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.