Jason Castro (singer)

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Jason Castro
Jason Castro Disney Idol.jpg
Castro in the American Idol Experience motorcade at Walt Disney World
Background information
Birth name Jason René Castro
Born (1987-03-25) March 25, 1987 (age 28)
Dallas, Texas, United States
Genres Acoustic, pop, contemporary Christian
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter
Instruments Vocals, guitar, drums, ukulele
Years active 2007–present
Labels Atlantic, Word
Associated acts Keeping Lions/Charlemagne, The Heavy Steadies, Caitlin Crosby, Castro
Website www.jasoncastromusic.com

Jason René Castro (born March 25, 1987) is an American acoustic/folk-pop/contemporary Christian singer and songwriter. He was the fourth place finalist on season seven of American Idol. After Idol, he signed a recording contract with Atlantic Records, and his self-titled debut album was released on April 13, 2010.

Early years[edit]

Castro was born in Dallas, Texas, and raised in Rowlett, Texas.[1] His parents, René and Betsy Castro, are Colombian, and he is the first person in his family to be born in the United States, followed by younger siblings Michael and Jackeline (Jackie), both of whom are singer-songwriters as well.[2][3] Spanish was his first language as a child.[4] Though he does not speak the language very often, he has considered making a Spanish album.[5] Their father, René, is an architectural swimming pool designer and singer-songwriter.[6][7]

He attended Rowlett High School where he was a left winger on his school's soccer team and an honor student. He received a 1340 out of 1600 on his SAT.[8] Castro was a junior majoring in Construction Science at Texas A&M University in College Station on a full academic scholarship when he auditioned for American Idol.[9]

Castro had sported dreadlocks since his senior year of high school.[10] In 2014, symbolic of a spiritual reawakening, he cut his dreadlocks and has since worn his hair much shorter.[11]

Musical background[edit]

Castro grew up playing drums. He taught himself to play the guitar in college.[12] He had no formal voice training before auditioning for American Idol and had previously sung only five times in public, mostly during church services.[12]

Castro performed as a drummer with the rock band Charlemagne,[13] which later became Keeping Lions.[14] He has stated that his musical influences include Ray LaMontagne, Ben Harper, Bob Marley, Carlos Vives and Kirk Baxley.[15]

American Idol[edit]

Castro during the American Idols Live! Tour, 2008


Castro auditioned for American Idol in Dallas, Texas, singing the Ray LaMontagne version of the song "Crazy". He was not shown on the television series until the final 24 due to legal restrictions on the songs he chose to perform. During a March 17, 2008 appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show, judge Simon Cowell chose Castro early as one of his four favorites in the competition, along with David Cook, David Archuleta, and Brooke White.[16] On April 12, Ryan Seacrest and the three judges appeared in Larry King Live, Larry King revealed the results of his website poll which asked "Whom do you want to win American Idol?" and said that Castro was in the lead.[17]

Castro played the guitar during the Top 24 performance night when he sang "(What A Day For A Daydream)". He was also the first contestant to play the ukulele on the show. He played the instrument while singing Over The Rainbow, after learning to play it in less than a week.[18] Castro also sang in three languages on American Idol, supplementing English songs with Spanish (a combination of Sting's "Fragile" and "Fragilidad" on March 25, 2008) and French (Paul McCartney's "Michelle" on March 12, 2008).

Before he was eliminated, Castro was in the bottom three only once. He was voted off the competition on May 7, 2008.[19]


Castro's rendition of the song "Hallelujah," which he performed on American Idol, led to a surge of popularity for the Jeff Buckley cover of the Leonard Cohen song from the iTunes Store, propelling it to the number-one spot on the iTunes singles chart.[20][21] Buckley's version of the song sold 178,000 digital downloads in the week following Castro's performance, to debut at number one on Billboard's Hot Digital Songs chart.[22] According to the March 22, 2008, issue of Billboard, this was the highest boost in digital sales a song had ever received after being performed by a contestant on American Idol. It was the first time Buckley's version of the song charted on a Billboard chart, as well as the first U.S. number-one song on any chart for Buckley, who died May 29, 1997, at age 30. Jason Castro’s rendition of the song propelled Jeff Buckley’s version to be certified gold and platinum as a single on April 22, 2008.[23]

Castro's version of the song "Hallelujah" briefly appeared in the number-one spot on the iTunes chart before it was removed due to the producers of American Idol not wanting any contestant to be favored.[24]


A mix-up led to a sudden rise in donations for a West Michigan-based charity. The blog Castrocopia.com suggested that fans donate money to Castro's favorite charity. The former Castro fansite, Daydreamingboy.com, claimed Castro's charity was GLOW Ministries, a Christian group based in Zeeland, Michigan, that helps the poor in Haiti. Their website is usually quiet, but before long they had hits from 15 different countries with many online donations. "Before this we weren't really hearing from people online," said Snyder, "and didn't get a whole lot of contributions online." The problem was, Castro didn't even know about GLOW. Jason was referring to the GLOW 5K run in Texas, a charity from which money goes to various service agencies for children. Snyder said the mistake has brought a lot of money and attention to her cause.[25] Castro stated he was glad the Zeeland nonprofit got some well-deserved donations.[26]

Castro's father had been instrumental in starting a soccer ministry at Lake Pointe Church to reach out to the community. Jason played soccer in high school and has been to Russia three times with Higher Goal Soccer Ministry.[27]

He has also done charity work during his university career. In 2007, he joined Aggie Men's Club, a fraternity organization.

On December 13, Castro performed alongside R&B singer Patti LaBelle for a Christmas concert in Garland, Texas, benefiting the Best Education Foundation, an organization that supports the city's school district.[28] He also auctioned himself off for charity courtesy of the Grammy Foundation and MusiCares.[29] The bid ended on December 11, earning $5,689 for the charity. The winner of the auction had a lunch date with Castro.[citation needed]


Week # Theme Song choice Original artist Order # Result
Top 24 (12 Men) 1960s "Daydream" The Lovin' Spoonful 11 Safe
Top 20 (10 Men) 1970s "I Just Want to Be Your Everything" Andy Gibb 2 Safe
Top 16 (8 Men) 1980s "Hallelujah" Leonard Cohen 7 Safe
Top 12 Lennon–McCartney "If I Fell" The Beatles 4 Safe
Top 11 The Beatles "Michelle" The Beatles 8 Safe
Top 10 Year They Were Born "Fragile" Sting 2 Bottom 31
Top 9 Dolly Parton "Travelin' Thru" Dolly Parton 4 Safe
Top 8 Inspirational Music "Over the Rainbow" Judy Garland 3 Safe
Top 7 Mariah Carey "I Don't Wanna Cry" Mariah Carey 7 Safe
Top 6 Andrew Lloyd Webber "Memory" Elaine Paige 2 Safe
Top 5 Neil Diamond "Forever in Blue Jeans"
"September Morn"
Neil Diamond 1
Top 4 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame "I Shot the Sheriff"
"Mr. Tambourine Man"
Bob Marley
Bob Dylan
  • ^1 Castro was the first person declared to be safe on this elimination night.


After his elimination Castro made appearances on Live with Regis and Kelly, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Sauce, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Access Hollywood, Today, Best Day Ever, Larry King Live, The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet as well as dozens of local FOX television affiliates and numerous radio stations across the country. Castro has been the subject of articles in newspapers and magazines including People, Star Magazine, US, OK!, USA Today, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly and Billboard.

Castro signing autographs during the American Idols Live! Tour, 2008

Castro returned to the Idol stage for the seventh season finale and was the only top-12 finalist who performed a solo. He sang "Hallelujah".

When he returned to his hometown of Rockwall, TX, Thursday, May 29, 2008, he had the experience of having the day declared "Jason Castro Day." Castro was honored with a parade and a ceremony/concert.[30] He was presented with a key to the city by the mayor of Rockwall and a US flag that flew over the nation's capital by Texas congressman Ralph Hall. Castro also performed four songs for the crowd, including an original song that he had written. The parade and concert were estimated to have attracted close to 15,000 fans; it was the largest event in the city's history.[31][32]

Castro completed the American Idols LIVE! Tour 2008 with his fellow contestants during the summer. The tour ran from July 1, 2008, to September 13, 2008.

He recorded "Hallelujah" in Toronto, Canada, for the Mexican-Colombian indie film, Amar a Morir, which premiered in the spring of 2009.[33][34] On November 3, Castro shot a homemade video of himself performing the song "Sweet Medicine," an original song of his. He put the video up on his YouTube account. He also took part in the "I Am Second" campaign, openly discussing his Christian faith.[35]

Castro signed a management deal with Hard8Mgt, a firm that manages other musicians such as Jakob Dylan, Dashboard Confessional, Augustana and others.[36]

On November 29, 2008, Castro performed a live concert with his band, The Heavy Steadies, at the Flytrap Music Hall in Tulsa, Oklahoma; the concert included new songs from his album. On December 15, Castro released the Christmas song, "White Christmas" as a free download through Amazon.com as a gift for his fans. On December 24, 2008, Castro performed "White Christmas" at Lake Pointe Church's Christmas program. Castro performed the full version of "Hallelujah" at the world premiere of Amar a Morir on January 23 at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.[37]

A download of the song "Love Uncompromised" and an appearance on Idol were both scheduled for March 3. Due to time constraints, both plans were canceled.[38]

Castro helped co-write "Be Yourself Tonight" with Canadian singer Gerald Eaton for his brother Michael's self-titled debut EP.[citation needed]

On April 12, 2010, on Atlantic Records he released his self-titled album Jason Castro. He worked with songwriter, producer, and Idol judge, Kara DioGuardi and producer John Fields[39] On the album he also worked with DioGuardi, Guy Chambers, Martin Terefe, Dave Lichens (a member of The Heavy Steadies), Jason Reeves, Sacha Skarbek and Espionage.[40][41][42][43] Fellow Atlantic Records artist Serena Ryder appears with Castro on a duet titled "You Can Always Come Home," which Castro debuted at the Texas State Fair in a live performance, his sister Jackie in Ryder's place.

Castro sang "Over the Rainbow" and his second single "That's What I'm Here For" at the wedding of The Bachelor stars Jason Mesnick and Molly Malaney on February 27, 2010, for ABC's taping of The Bachelor: Jason and Molly’s Wedding.[44]

In July 2010, Castro appeared in two episodes of The Bold and the Beautiful as himself.[45]

Castro appeared in a small role in the GMC television movie The Perfect Summer in 2012.[46]

2009–2010: Debut album, EP, singles and promotion[edit]

Castro in the Philippines to promote his EP and album

On August 18, 2009, Castro performed his new single "Let's Just Fall In Love Again" on a live video webchat from his website, as well another song titled "It Matters to Me." Castro's label, Atlantic Records, released presales of the album and offered the single as a free download to buyers.[47] Castro's album was to be released in November 2009 but was pushed to an early 2010 release date. "Let'sJust Fall In Love Again" entered Billboard's Heatseekers Songs chart at No. 15 and Hot Digital Songs at No. "Let's Just Fall In Love Again" was used by Overstock.com for a television commercial. 57.[48] A music video for the single premiered on October 14, 2009. Castro released a debut EP in January 2010 titled The Love Uncompromised EP. Castro completed a tour with Matt Hires and Caitlin Crosby and traveled to Malaysia, Singapore, and The Philippines to promote his EP and album. He then toured a second time with band Camera Can't Lie and his younger brother Michael as his opening acts to promote his album.[citation needed]

2012–2013: Only a Mountain[edit]

Castro released a five song EP on August 28, 2012.[49] His third album, Only a Mountain, was released on January 15, 2013.[50]

Music with younger siblings[edit]

Castro has released covers on iTunes with his two younger siblings, Michael and Jackie, both of whom are also singer-songwriters. The three siblings also formed a group called Castro, and in May of 2015 they released their first music video for the original song "Rock and Roll."[51]

Personal life[edit]

Castro was the love interest of Cheyenne Kimball on her MTV reality show, Cheyenne[52] and was also featured in her music video for "Hanging On".

On October 31 on Halloween in 2009, Castro proposed to Mandy Mayhall, an alumna of the University of Oklahoma, a Kappa Kappa Gamma member and his girlfriend of a year and a half. Castro proposed to her at a tailgate party before the Oklahoma/Kansas State football game in Norman, Oklahoma. The two were dressed as Disney characters Belle and The Beast from the animated film Beauty and the Beast as their Halloween costumes. He proposed by writing on a pumpkin, "Marry me?" Castro and Mayhall began dating in 2008 when Castro's Idol stint began but first became friends in high school at Rowlett High School.[53][54] Mayhall made a brief cameo in Castro's music video for "Let's Just Fall In Love Again."

Castro and Mayhall were married on January 2, 2010, in his hometown and now reside in Dallas.[55] The couple's first child, Madeline Emilia, was born in August 2011.[56] On January 8, 2015, Castro and his wife announced that they were having another baby girl.[57] Their second daughter, Hazel Lucia, was born on June 3, 2015.[58]

Band members[edit]

A large audition was held during the fall of 2009 in Hollywood, California, for Castro's band.[59] The band played their first live show together on September 25, 2009, when they headlined the opening night of the Texas State Fair. His band members are as follows:

  • Stephen Kanicka (lead guitar, vocals)
  • Jordan Critz (keys, rhythm guitar, vocals)
  • Ben Davis (bass, vocals)
  • Jason Dering (drums)



  • The Perfect Summer (2012)
  • Jason Castro The Perfect Tour (2015)


  1. ^ Dinges, Gary (2008-02-13). "Five Texans make 'Idol's' top 24". Austin360 (The Austin American-Statesman). 
  2. ^ - Michael Castro Music
  3. ^ - Jackie Castro Music
  4. ^ "Q&A: American Idol's Jason Castro". Latina. 2008-05-16. Retrieved 2010-04-18. 
  5. ^ Jason Castro's "Who I Am": An in-depth interview, CBN.com.
  6. ^ "Jason Castro: Aggies Are We Interview" (video). Aggies Are We (Daily Motion). 2008-02-18. 
  7. ^ MySpace.com - Rene’s Music - ROCKWALL, Texas - Acoustique / Christian - www.myspace.com/renecastromusic
  8. ^ "'Idol' star Jason Castro is no mental lightweight". 
  9. ^ Soft-spoken 'Idol' contestant Jason Castro comes from a musical family | GuideLive.com|Arts/Entertainment News and Events|Dallas-Fort Worth|The Dallas Morning News|Television
  10. ^ "Castro draws local Idol following". Kenny Green (The Mesquite News Star). 2008-03-27. 
  11. ^ http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2014/June/What-Happened-to-Idols-Dreadlocked-Jason-Castro/
  12. ^ a b [1][dead link]
  13. ^ Atlas, Darla. "'American Idol' hopeful from Rockwall has more hair-time than airtime". 
  14. ^ Philpot, Robert (2008-02-19). "The Latest 'Idol' Boasts North Texas Ties". Star-Telegram. 
  15. ^ Jason Castro- Top 10 Contestants - American Idol
  16. ^ Simon Cowell with Oprah saying Jason Castro is a front-runner to win American Idol
  17. ^ "CNN Larry King Live "Idol gives back"". 
  18. ^ American Idol Season 7 Top 8 Results Night
  19. ^ "Texan hated to leave show". 
  20. ^ Rolling Stone: Rock & Roll Daily
  21. ^ Jeff Buckley's mother praises Jason Castro
  22. ^ Billboard Hot Digital Songs
  23. ^ Billboard RIAA Single Certifications
  24. ^ "Latina Magazine interviews Jason Castro". 
  25. ^ "Sudden rise in donations thanks to Jason Castro". 
  26. ^ "GLOWing mix-up benefits local ministry". 
  27. ^ "Faith and family produced this American Idol finalist" (PDF). 
  28. ^ Helmick-Richardson, Peggy (December 2008 – Jan 2009). "Jason Castro, Grammy-winner Patti LaBelle, to perform ‘An American Christmas" Concert Dec. 13". LakeView Image (Moonlight Graphics).  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  29. ^ "MusiCares Grammy Auction, Bid on a VIP Lunch with Jason Castro.". 
  30. ^ Collins, Roger. "Jason Castro Concert". Iomusic News. Retrieved 2008-12-19. 
  31. ^ The City of Rockwall welcomes Jason Castro home!
  32. ^ Rockwall Herald
  33. ^ The Canadian Press: American Idol also-ran Jason Castro recorded track for upcoming Mexican film[dead link]
  34. ^ Welcome to AccessAtlanta! | AccessAtlanta
  35. ^ "American Idol' Daily: What's on Jason Castro's mind". Los Angeles Times. December 4, 2008. Retrieved May 5, 2010. 
  36. ^ "Jason Castro signs management deal". 
  37. ^ Brett Leigh Dicks (2009-01-24). "The Santa Barbara Independent "A Grand Hallelujah for Amar A Morir " by Film Fest 2009". Independent.com. Retrieved 2010-04-18. 
  38. ^ [2][dead link]
  39. ^ Jason Castro Signs with Atlantic Records, Writing and Recording with Kara DioGuardi - VIDEO
  40. ^ Jason Castro talks about his debut album -- and reveals his 'Idol' picks
  41. ^ Former 'American Idol' finalist Jason Castro signs with Atlantic Records
  42. ^ http://www.zacktaylor.ca/blog/interview-with-dave-lichens.html
  43. ^ "Show Tracker". Los Angeles Times. July 2, 2008. Retrieved May 5, 2010. 
  44. ^ "It’s Official: Bachelor’s Jason And Molly Get Hitched! - PEOPLE TV Watch". Tvwatch.people.com. 2010-02-27. Retrieved 2010-04-18. 
  45. ^ Santilli, MJ. "Jason Castro Sings “Love Uncompromised” on The Bold and the Beautiful". mjsbigblog. Retrieved 19 October 2015. 
  46. ^ http://www.jesusfreakhideout.com/news/2013/05/17.JASON%20CASTRO%20COMMENCED%20SHOOTING%20FOR%20THE%20GMC%20MOVIE%20THE%20PERFECT%20SUMMER%20ON%20MAY%2013.asp
  47. ^ "Jason Castro Pre-Sales Available Now!". Atlantic Records. Retrieved 2010-04-18. 
  48. ^ http://www.billboard.com/articles/photos/live/267240/idol-alum-jason-castro-plots-tour
  49. ^ http://www.antimusic.com/news/12/August/15Jason_Castro_Previewing_New_Album_With_EP_Release.shtml
  50. ^ http://www.cmspin.com/newsmanager/anmviewer.asp?a=6708&z=26
  51. ^ http://www.indievisionmusic.com/2015/05/13/castro-releases-rock-and-roll-music-video/
  52. ^ "Cheyenne" (2006)
  53. ^ Herb Longs / (2009-11-01). "It's Official: Jason Castro Is Engaged". Ainow.org. Retrieved 2010-04-18. [dead link]
  54. ^ "Jason Castro Engaged to Girlfriend Mandy Mayhall". News.rin.ru. Retrieved 2010-04-18. 
  55. ^ "'American Idol' Alum Jason Castro Gets Married! - Jason Castro". Zimbio. Retrieved 2010-04-18. 
  56. ^ "AMERICAN IDOL' ALUM JASON CASTRO WELCOMES BABY GIRL!". Latina. Retrieved 2011-08-30. 
  57. ^ url=https://www.facebook.com/jasoncastro/photos/a.147108656326.148317.8795301326/10152949450231327/?type=1&theater
  58. ^ http://www.mjsbigblog.com/jason-castro-wife-mandy-welcome-a-baby-daughter-photo.htm
  59. ^ "Jason Castro Official Updates". JasonCastroMusic.com. 2010-04-13. Retrieved 2010-04-18. 

External links[edit]