Starting his career path from a flea market in San Jose (while still in high school), Garner eventually rose to become the number two man at the largest live entertainment company in the world—Live Nation. But after the loss of his mother, he stepped back from promoting and booking musicians to rediscover his life and its purpose. His new book, “And I Breathed,” chronicles his humble beginnings, career, the death of his mother, and journey to spiritual awareness. We spoke with Jason about all of this and more in our feature article.
Jason Garner’s life has been nothing short of inspiring.
Growing up in a single-parent home with his mother and sister, Jason understood early on that he needed to contribute to his family. While his mother worked hard, any extra income was always helpful. Jason’s journey began when he decided to take a job at a local flea market, allowing him a first hand look at entrepreneurship. His experience demonstrated not only that a suit and tie is not a requisite of a businessman, but also that business can be personal and casual.
It wasn’t until he began working with food and beverage sales at the flea market that he learned some of his first lessons on live show promotion. He quickly grasped that mixing good food, good drinks, and great music would not only bring people to shows, but keep them in their seats. At this point Jason had begun to make a name for himself. He built a stage, began booking shows, and even made his first big check of $10,000—all before graduating high school.
Jason Garner – “I don’t do well in formal learning, but I like to learn from experiences and see how something fits into the real world over theory.”
Jason spoke of never attending college, saying that, “I don’t do well in formal learning, but I like to learn from experiences and see how something fits into the real world over theory.” Instead of college, the next chapter of Jason’s life came after leaving the flea market for Vegas. At the ripe young age of 20, Jason headed out to see a Julio Cesar Chavez fight he’d been invited to. Once there, he began running with the Champion boxers entourage, eventually even heading into Mexico. His relationship with the Chavez family led to a meeting with Ruben Alvarez. Jason and Ruben began booking smaller Latin concerts together growing their name and reputation along the way. Eventually their work led them to booking for Enrique Iglesias, who, at the time, was only doing shows in Spanish.
His Live Nation tenure began with his work for Clear Channel, which later became Live Nation. Jason met Michael Rapino who he refers to as, “his first guru.”
Jason credits Rapino with mentoring him and, “taking me from a kid from a flea market to a businessman.” Jason also spoke a lot about his team and some of the creative things they worked on together. Like how the concert scene was more of an individual’s game and how his team ushered in a unique network approach that helped shape their brand.
Jason recollected on the moment when, “I realized that I had made it,” as being on tour with Coldplay. He had a “pinch yourself moment,” when he realized that he was in charge of their first arena tour, regularly playing in front of 20,000 people or more, and flying on jets around the world.
Garner has used his creativity and drive to beat the odds and rise above his humble beginnings. Always keeping in mind the words of his mother, “Make money, but be a good person.” He was named on Forbes “Top 40 Under 40” list, has traveled the world, and has collaborated with incredible minds and creative artists. With the loss of his Mother, Garner took a step back from the music business to examine himself and his spirituality. His focus is now on living a life of tranquility and peace. His new book “…And I breathed” reflects on his life’s transitions and spiritual awakening.
For more information on Jason’s new book please check it out on Amazon.