Time to put the spotlight on an instrument-handling artist. Saxappeal, a saxophonist from Detroit, has been performing with Virgin Records recording artist, Dwele since 2005. He also has formed a highly energetic band of his own, duly named 1oh1. In efforts to form his own style, which he calls ‘SaxSoul’, Saxappeal’s music is diverse with a blend of jazz, hip-hop, soul and R&B. This young artist has truly been humbled by his opportunities and eagerly awaits more. His mission is to rekindle the flame between people and music; which is, unfortunately, flickering dim. With focus, determination, positive energy, love, and a passion deeper than anything he can explain, he uses his horn to tell stories, state his opinions, and celebrate the gift of music through love.
-When did you first find out about your musical skills?
Sax: When I was 5, my mom bought me a little RadioShack type keyboard. I cherished that thing like it was a treasure! I learned “Twinkle Twinkle” on it just by whistling the melody to myself over and over.
-At what age did you realize this was what you were made for?
Sax: I would say at age 7, right after my 1st gig. I played “The Wedding March” for my aunts wedding. I was more nervous than I ever have (to this day) but the amazing feeling that came over me made me realize this is what I wanna do forever. This is what I was made for.
-What music or which artist has had the most influence on your musical development?
Sax: I would definitely have to say John Coltrane, the G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time. In my opinion) Mr. Stevie Wonder, & believe it or not, comedian Dave Chappelle. They’ve had such an influence on my music. Their timing is what sticks out most to me.
-Can you describe your love for the saxophone? If describable at all.
Sax: That’s a tough one.. You know the amazing feeling you get when the sun rises and kisses you through your window, & gives you an overwhelming feeling of joy & excitement? Now multiply that by a thousand!lol She’s been around for 18+ years now.. She’s my 1st love. There’s nothing greater than the love we share with one another.
-If you wouldn’t play the saxophone, what instrument would you most likely be playing?
Sax: I would definitely have to say piano. But probably not just piano, I would prefer to play the Fender Rhodes. There’s just something about the feel and the sound of a Rhodes, man.. It’s just..amazing.
-What to you was your first big break musically?
Sax: It would definitely be when I began performing with Dwele. It was my 1st tour, I was only 19. He literally had to sneak me in a lot of the places where we performed, because they were 21 & up joints. But Dwele taught me a lot while being on the road. He’s an excellent mentor, both in music & in life lessons.
-You have worked with quite a few talented artists, how did you get to working together with them?
Sax: It has to be God’s graces. That & word of mouth. I take every gig, every rehearsal, every session very serious. This is my job. This is what I do. You won’t see me without seeing a notepad, a digital audio recorder, something! I’m always taking notes, no matter if it’s 10 or 10,000 people watching. They’re gonna get the same show!
-What is your most memorable tour moment so far?
Sax: I would have to say performing at Carnegie Hall. I was 17 when I went with my high school’s (Detroit H.S. of Fine/Performing Arts) Wind Symphony Band. Musicians spend their entire careers attempting to perform at Carnegie. I was fortunate enough to be under not only an amazing band, but an amazing band director, Mr. Edward Quick.
-Can you describe the process towards putting together your album? Was there an idea beforehand, or was it just the natural thing to do for you?
Sax: There was an overload of ideas for the 1st project! There were a lot of songs that didn’t make the cut, a lot of interludes, lots of different takes. I just let the thought process happen naturally. Some days, it’ll pop up while I’m at the studio, some days in my sleep, and I’d rush to a notepad & attempt to jot it down, sometimes when I’m driving. I just always have to be ready for that next idea.
-What makes you unique in comparison to other artists or saxophonists?
Sax: We all have different stories to tell, different journeys we’ve taken, and different voices to express them. I just wanna be able to share my past, present, & future the best way I know how: through music.
-Why would people have to listen to your music or come see a show from you?
Sax: Because it’s exciting, it’s high-energy, it’s crowd participation, it’s music that feels good, memorable music. Listening to the CD “Stay Saxy” allows you to do this as well, but there’s nothing more exciting than seeing it live! The vibe is always something you’ll never forget!
-Which artists would you love to work with in the future? That can also be people you have already worked with.
Sax: I’d absolutely LOVE to have Stevie Wonder, Jill Scott & John Mayer collaborate with me. I’m also excited about working with Waajeed of Platinum Pied Pipers, Dwele, MonicaBlaire, Jeff Bradshaw, & K’Jon again in the near future!
-What is your ultimate goal as a musician?
Sax: Simple: I just wanna be heard. I want my music to be felt & understood. I want to be able to leave my experiences behind so that future generations can listen to what I had/have to say, musically.
-What is one thing that people absolutely have to know about SaxAppeal?
Sax: Hmmm.. One thing, eh? That SaxAppeal is absolutely ready to perform in your neck of the woods! No matter where you are, I’m ready to be there!
-What quote do you live by and would you wanna give/advise to other people?
Sax: My mom once said “Gimme my flowers while I’m alive, not when I’m dead..” That’s always stuck with me. Learn to appreciate people while you can, not when it’s too late. Start loving now!
-Thanks for the interview and looking forward to hearing more music from you.
Sax: The pleasure was all mines! There’s definitel more music in the works! New album entitled “UnMarketAble” will be out 08.17.11! Stay tuned, & Stay Saxy! J