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Queens Musician Hopes to Change People's Tune on Bullying With Song

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | November 11, 2013 9:30am
 Jason Lapin, an aspiring musician, recorded his first record.
Jason Lapin
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QUEENS — When Jason Lapin was 13, his best friend confided in him that he was gay. When other teens found out, they started calling Lapin and his friend a "gay couple."

“It was tough for me and I’m sure it was tough for him,” said the 22-year-old subway musician and senior at St. John’s University, who grew up in Clinton, Mass. “And instead of being a good friend I turned my back on him and I wasn’t there to support him.”

Lapin, who said he “felt awful about it ever since,” recently wrote an anti-bullying song, “Just Maybe, One Day," hoping to make up for his past mistake.

The tune became part of his first EP — “Friendly to Strangers” — which he recently recorded at Matthew Conlon Studio in Valley Stream, LI. It was self-released on iTunes on Oct. 29.

“It’s an anti-bullying, gay rights, equal love type of song, but it’s an apology as well,” he said of "Just Maybe." The message, Lapin said, is to "be who you are and the people who really love you, will love you.”

Lapin, who said he is inspired by Jack Johnson and John Mayer, added that he also hopes to alter the way people think with this and other songs that he has written.

“Music can bring down walls,” he said. “It gives you a platform to talk about important things and you can change people’s outlook.”

The musician said he has been singing since he can remember. He picked up a guitar when he was 15, and wrote his first song a year later. “It was a song for a girl because I wanted her to like me, but it didn’t work,” he said laughing.

Lapin, who studies English and music, already played at a number of venues in the city, including the National Underground, Fat Baby, The R Bar.

But he says his favorite gig is to play on the subway. He and his friend, violinist Alan Garcia, also a student at St. John’s University, usually play together, most of the time on the F train, he said.

“It’s a great experience,” said Lapin. “I love meeting new people and making them feel good.”

For the same reason, Lapin also volunteers at Camp Sunshine, a camp for terminally ill children in Maine, where he sometimes performs with kids on the stage.

Eventually, he hopes to become the next Dave Matthews, but he plans to stay in Queens, said Lapin who currently lives on the university’s campus in Jamaica.

“Queens has a lot of heart,” he said. “It may not be glamorous, but it’s real.”

Lapin will perform on Nov. 22 at 7 p.m. at a benefit for Camp Sunshine. The concert will take place at University Settlement Speyer Hall. Stilettos-n-Steel, a folk band from Queens, will also play.