As I sit here writing this article surrounded by Pokemon memorabilia, graded cards, and my right arm inked in Pikachu I ask myself, how did I get here? One of the best things about Pokemon TCG collecting is that we all have very different, yet similar journeys. For many of us, Pokemon was our Saturday morning cartoon, our trades in the playground at school, our bonding with our brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers – Pokemon has encapsulated our growth as humans, created memories, and given us hope in times of trouble. That’s why when the opportunity popped up to speak with Jason Paige, the self-branded voice of a generation I had to jump at the prospect of speaking with the man whose “Gotta Catch ‘Em All!” rings in all of our heads as soon as we see those words typed out on a screen.
This is an insight into the world of Jason Paige, a man who stumbled upon an opportunity that defined his career, the man who sang those, oh so true, words that started a love for a franchise far bigger than anyone could ever have imagined.
Jason Paige enters our Zoom call with the most unique entrance to a video call I’ve ever experienced. “Party people can you hear me, party people can you hear me”. Jason is a professional musician, actor, jingle master, and vocal jack of all trades. Back in the 90s, one of the jingle companies that he was signed up were contacted with a project for a new Japanese anime coming to an English market. Jason took up the gig, sung the lines, and now over twenty years later knows that that one opportunity has defined his career so far.
As the internet and YouTube grew, so did Jason Paige’s knowledge that the impact of his voice on Pokemon would allow him to tap into the community and give his career a Pokemon-targeted audience. “People now think, who was that person who sung the song of my childhood. They then jump on Google and find me.” Jason is fully aware that the interest in him and his career from the Pokemon community is more focused on the song than him as a person emphasising that the internet brought the focus on him which then allowed him to invest in the Pokemon ecosystem.
One thing that intrigues me about Jason Paige, is his determination in seeing an opportunity within Pokemon and absolutely zoning in on it. My main intrigue as I spoke with him was to find out if he was actually a fan of the franchise, and where he fits into the community. “I’m a fan of the song” he says laughing. “I didn’t really understand the show until recently but since the Pokemon GO boom in 2016, I’ve started to learn more about Pokemon, the ecosystem, and what the actual product represents for so many people.” By learning more about how the lyrics he sang for a paycheque tie into the whole entity of what Pokemon culture is, Jason learned that people genuinely loved the idea of knowing who he was and what he was all about.
The longer he watched on from afar, the more Jason started to understand the importance of Pokemon. He says, “The essence of it, underneath it all, is the imagination, individualism, and community altogether. It’s just a card with a picture and a couple of numbers, and with my imagination and your imagination, we can play this game and build our own reality. Once I realised the foundation of it all, that’s when I became a fan.”
Like all of us, as COVID-19 spread across the globe, Jason looked into new opportunities to find ways of boosting his income during a difficult time. With a lot of millennials returning to their childhood through their old dusty binders, there was an opportunity to capture an old audience looking for nostalgia. With that, Jason turned to signing cards and selling them on his online shop with his famous “Gotta Catch ‘Em All!” signature.
Jason Paige is constantly looking for the next opportunity to be part of the Pokemon community. In February, we reported an Instagram sale for a $450,000 First Edition Base Set Booster box. The buyers of that box, German gaming duo Standartskill and Lofty, are now hosting a live box break via their YouTube channel on 8th August 2021 – Jason is currently in Germany to perform live during their event, one of many of his public appearances.
He’s now wanting to delve into a Cryptocurrency marketplace for safe Pokemon TCG trades called TCG Coin. The idea is to provide a safe and managed trading house to facilitate high-end trades and sales via Crypto. There have been many links to Pokemon TCG and Crypto/NFTs throughout the last 12 months most notably through Logan Paul’s Crypto advertisement box break in February where Pokemon took the back seat. Who knows how a Pokemon TCG x Crypto marketplace will work out but the constant searching for new projects is what gave Jason his big break with Pokemon back in the 90s and comes across as quite endearing.
Something is mesmerising about Jason Paige. At first, I thought he was an overly energetic vocalist that was riding the Pokemon wave but he’s far more than that. Jason, whether you like him or not, is not lying when he says he’s the “Voice of a generation”, and speaking with him brought back a sense of childlike awe that I wasn’t expecting. He’s fun, loud, and outspoken but comes across as a genuine people-pleaser that’s living with a childlike curiosity that’s contagious. After ending our call, I sat for a good ten minutes asking myself what weird and wonderful world I had just encountered. I’m still scratching my head, but it definitely feels like it’s Jason’s world and we’re all just living in it.
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John-Anthony Disotto – Ludkins Media Editor-in-Chief
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