J.D. Fortune can hear people yelling his name.
He’s not on stage with INXS. He’s at home in Westville.
The late-night shouts come not from a crowd of fans watching him perform, but a group of guys, or gals, in a car.
That’s just one change since Fortune, formerly known as Jason Bennison, moved back to Pictou County.
He’s been back for almost two years, keeping a low profile, and re-adjusting to a different way of life.
“Ironically, I like that it’s a slower pace here. I went to over 35 countries in 22 months. I’ve seen the best and worst of people. I’ve seen evil and I’ve seen pure goodness,” he said during an interview in downtown New Glasgow.
By Aug. 17, Fortune will be out of Pictou County again, and thrown into a week of sleeplessness, writing, recording, mixing and mastering as he embarks on his second sevenin7 project, this time inside an old church in Ontario.
He’ll be creating a song a day, and sending it out to fans, for a week.
For Fortune, the location is like a new band member; it changes the music.
“It’s about just centralizing yourself somewhere and being inspired from that location.”
The last time he did it was five months ago in Los Angeles, an experience that went well for him, he said.
He did learn some lessons, though.
By day five, the fun winds down.
“You have to hit day five, six and seven like it’s one, two and three.”
He’ll work 20 hours a day in order to get the job done.
It’s a big commitment to pre-sell music that hasn’t been made, but it’s a business model he believes in and hopes to see other musicians using.
“I believe the only way to really make any money now in music is to change the way people buy music. You can’t expect someone who’s 15 years old that learned from (age) 10 that you can rip off a website and get free music.”
Throughout the process, he tries to keep the fans involved by uploading three videos a day to his website, capturing the songwriting, recording and producing.
For him, it’s a way to interact without using social media.
“What matters to me is the music and this process actually brought my fans closer to understanding who I am as an artist than any tweet I’ve ever put out about going to the gym or eating an egg salad sandwich.”
Fortune has other locations in mind for the next sevenin7 projects, including a VIA Rail car on a trip from Halifax to Vancouver.
Though he received his rise to fame after winning reality television Rock Star: INXS in 2005, he believes most of his fan base came after his interview with Entertainment Television in 2009 where he spoke about the first split from the band.
“I lost my mind for about a year because I was on a big learning curve,” he said, describing what it felt like entering the Australian group that had already developed a fan base over three decades of recording and performing.
After performances in 2010 and a tour in 2011 with INXS, Fortune moved on to solo projects, including a new band called Fortune in 2012.
When that ended, he was drawn back to Pictou County.
“I had a couple house fires on the land that I grew up on, and ultimately, that’s why I’m back. I wanted to build on the land that I have in Salt Springs.”
He needed to leave as a teenager, he said, because he wasn’t going to be able to follow his dreams here.
“I left here when I was 15 because I knew then, and I know this might sound pompous, but I knew then what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to be a f***ing rock star.”
Now that he’s returned, he wants to draw attention to the area, referring to Pictou County as a rock star.
For more information, visit http://www.jdfortunesevenin7.com/
On Twitter: @NGNewsAmanda