• John “Saint AXL” Lewis – “Inspiration can come from so many places”

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    John Lewis aka Saint AXL is an American recording artist and songwriter born in Honolulu, Hawaii. As the son of an African American father and a Caucasian mother, John has always had a unique perspective on life. This can be heard in his music. His influences cross the full spectrum of legendary artists from Queen to Prince. His lyrics hit the deepest core in all of us. Listening to his music is like taking a journey into his very soul, as he explores the pain and as well as the promise that any human being can relate to. John isn’t afraid to speak his truth.

    In a past life, John was a former mixed martial arts champion and a veteran of multiple world-class fighting organizations including the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Battlecade Extreme Fighting, and Vale Tudo Japan. In addition to being one of the most respected mixed martial arts fighters in the game, today Lewis is renowned and admired for being one of the most famous martial artists in the world.

    His new album, “A Tear from Saint AXL” is an album relevant to the heart and soul of us all. Written during the struggles we are all facing in 2020, this music screams out to the people that you are not alone. It’s a poem that needs to be heard.

    Q&A by S&S

    S&S: Which experience do you enjoy most, the group or being a solo artist?

    I was born to perform. I love rockin’ with a talented band. Nothing moves a crowd better than that. At the same time when I’m writing, I enjoy doing that alone. I like to play with sounds and craft the perfect track. Sometimes it great to have my guitar player come up with a great riff, something inspiring. That’s always cool. So, I guess enjoy things about both. Inspiration can come from so many places if you leave yourself open. 

    S&S: Who or what was most instrumental to you when it came to music?

    To me, it is finding a key element to the track. The root of the song. Usually a great guitar riff or piano melody. If it’s right, the melody of the track will just flow like water. A good song should be able to be stripped down to one key instrument and a vocal line. If it sounds good like that, you’re on to something. The rest is just seasoning.

    S&S: What is the theme of your new album, A Tear from Saint AXL?

    A Tear from Saint AXL is a memoir dedicated to 2020. With all the BS that we have all been fighting with, all of the stresses that we have all had to deal with on a daily basis and for so long, I just had to let it out. It’s not from any particular perspective. It’s just is the struggle that we are all navigating daily. Love and listening are the only ways.

    S&S: What drives you creatively?

    What drives me is having something real to say. Sometimes I don’t write. I just listen. I like to do other creative things as well. Then it hits me. A thought that just doesn’t let up. A subject that I want to explore deeper. That’s when I start and it’s like I can’t stop. Song after song, it just comes out. I never force it and when I’m done, I’m done.

    S&S: How much does your audience influence you and your music selection?

    I write for me. I write to say something I want to say. It just comes out better in a song. I find that people listen differently as well when it’s in a song format. We’re all the same. We all feel the love and we all feel the pain. I know that if I am feeling something hard, there is someone else out there feeling it too. If I can just touch that one person. I’m good. 

    S&S: What artists or genres do you listen to when you’re not working?

    I listen to all kinds of music, one because I love all types of music, and two because I love to keep my mind open. I do love rock bands like the Stones, Pearl Jam, Disturbed, Kings of Leon, and Queen. I also love great rap artists like Eminem, Kanye, and others. I miss that generation of artists I must say.  

    S&S: Do you have any favorite memories of growing up with your family?

    I was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. I had a good and supportive family. Especially my mother. In my youth, I was a dancer, popping, locking, breaking, etc. My group used to open for all the big bands out there in the city’s big arena. That’s where I got the bug. My mother used to make all of our costumes. When I think back on those days, I feel blessed to have had a mother that let me be my crazy self. 

    S&S: Is there anything you would like people to know about you?

    Well, with a little research they will find that I am a former MMA champion and a pioneer in many fighting organizations like the UFC. I still teach martial arts today. I have many black belts in different arts including a 6th Degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I was the 4th American in the world to receive a black belt in BJJ. That’s fun trivia.

    S&S: Are there any questions that you wish people would ask you?

    Ask me if I really believe that anything is possible if you are willing to put the time in. I’ll answer F*#k yes, I do. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t. All they are really saying is THEY CAN’T. 

    S&S: And on the flip side of that, are there any questions or references you wish people would stop asking or using?

    Nah. Ask what you will but only if you are sure that you want to hear the answer. 

    S&S: Are there any artists that you dream of working with on a collaboration?

    I’d like to collab with an artist like Kanye West. Someone that is bigger than their genre. I think a magical blend could appear between styles. 

     

    S&S: What can we look forward to next from you?

    I’m halfway through a new album. It rocks. It grooves. I’m happy with the tracks that I wrote so far. I promise it will make you feel.

    S&S: What legacy would you like to leave?

    I want to be remembered as a pioneer in everything that I did. A man who has lived many lives. A person that forged his own path and created his own destiny. I’d like people to listen to my music and feel like they knew me, the real me. Because that is what you will get from my music, me. Finally, like the great Frank Sinatra so beautifully put it, I want to be able to say, “I did it my way.” 

    Q&A By:Shannon “Skip” Syas – S&S Chicago

    Follow: John “Saint AXL” Lewis [Facebook][Instagram][iTunes][Amazon][Soundcloud]

    S&S Records, Inc. (and S&S Chicago, Inc.) was established in 2005 by 4-time GRAMMY® nominated producer Steve “Silk” Hurley and global DJ/Producer Shannon “DJ Skip” Syas. Merging Hurley’s worldwide commercial success and Syas’ strong global following, the dance label has become home to numerous musical greats and one of the most respected blogs on the internet.

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