Country singer Jason Owen has developed more than a music career since shooting to fame as a teenager.

Story Terri Cowley   Photo Bradley Patrick

It’s a decade since Jason Owen was propelled from obscurity, as the only youth in a 12-person town in the Central West of NSW, into the national media spotlight as part of a reality TV show. But there’s still a touch of the ‘I can’t believe it’ for the established country music singer and songwriter.

“I look back on it now and it was such a mind-blow,” Jason says. “People around Australia were seeing an 18-year-old singing a song that was, even then, 40 years old. I guess it was something different.”

Jason became a national star when he auditioned for the second series of The X Factor with his own spin on the John Denver classic Annie’s Song. He was endearing, with a powerful voice that made the judges and the public immediately sit up and take notice.

Fast forward to now and a wiser, more polished Jason is using the springboard television fame gave him to make a difference to communities in the bush, particularly kids living in remote locations and going to small schools, just like he did. He grew up in tiny Albert, where his parents owned the pub – the well-known Rabbit Trap Hotel – and the service station. “Growing up in the bush, I’ve seen firsthand how farmers are affected and, in times of drought, them struggling and not being able to pay bills. I always wanted to do what I could to support the bush.” 

This story excerpt is from Issue #142

Outback Magazine: April/May 2022