Just back from performing at the Seabreeze Jazz Festival in Panama City, Florida, entertaining crowds of 10,000 fans, Skinny Hightower is now in the mood for producing new music. With three back-to-back successful albums under his belt, this local artist and jazz pianist has had four Top 10 songs on Billboard’s Smooth Jazz Chart, including his single “Taboo” that spent 14 weeks on the charts and topped at No. 1.
That’s an outstanding track record for an artist coming from Kansas, but Skinny is looking to add even more to his resume.
At age 33 and three albums into his mainstream career, Skinny has found his pace and artistic vision. He’s ready to work with bigger names in the industry like Jay Z and Beyoncé – his talent knows no borders and for him this is only the beginning.
From Wichita, Skinny graduated from South High School and attended Cornerstone Church regularly. Like many young Americans trying to find their place in this society, he joined the military. This new experience brought him several excursions overseas, but his love for music continued to linger and grow. It was during this period of his life that he decided to pursue music full time.
His “battle buddies” would often regard him as skinny due to his cardio workout habits, and when they caught wind of his rising jazz aspirations – they likened him to a skinny “Mr. Hightower,” in reference to the Steve Harvey Show from the 1990s.
Though his real name is Jason Carroll, the name Skinny Hightower stuck with him and has become the banner for his artistry.
Now, Skinny is all about gains, and the muscles of manhood have set in. He has a warm and genuine presence, a fantastic smile, and a polished style. When he plays the piano, you can trust in his abilities. Suave, sleek, and sharp come to mind while watching him work. His wife and children are lucky to have him.
Skinny plays multiple instruments. He started with drums, and then picked up the bass. His father and uncle taught him how to play each, respectively. At 7 he was introduced to the piano by his mom, and ever since he’s mastered both the technical and creative aspects of his craft.
When he first signed with his record label, Tripping ‘N’ Rhythm Records, he naturally took to the producing role. Skinny is able to raise an ordinary song to extraordinary during the composition and editing phases.
Skinny is backed by a talented group of Wichita artists who take their musical talents to the next level on every song of their newest album “Retrospect.” They’re a local band with big-city spirit and their music reflects it. The band - including Bongo Bobby Thomas, Jalen White, DJ Breathett, and Brett Johnson - has been able to branch out and grow in their individual talents.
With such big talent, the guys still have humble spirits. They believe that it doesn’t matter how big the crowd, they will always consider themselves at home. The community is important to them; giving back is necessity. Whenever Skinny Hightower can speak to youth, he does. Keeping wisdom and passing it down is most important.
He wants anyone who will listen to know that, “Being a creative, you have to wear two hats: creativity and business. Our future generations need to know about the use of mutual funds and more.”
When asked what the music industry needs more of, Hightower stated, “It needs more people who are willing to do what they want to do. As a creative, you can’t be true to yourself if you’re hampered by all these stigmas that define any genre.”