Dance music producer Alexander Lewis talks jazz roots, crossing over into hip-hop
Imagine doing something you love, something you have been doing your whole life as a career. On top of that being good at it! Like really good, sounds like a life fulfilled right? At that point, would you take on a new challenge? Alexander Lewis would.
The California-raised musician began playing the trombone at age 11 and was first introduced to jazz music by his grandmother, who was a jazz musician.
Today, he’s known as one of the most prolific dance music producers in the game and now he’s pushing himself even further by producing hip-hop tracks, all while still crushing the trombone. Just peep his artistry with Philly artist Armani White below on “No Way Around It.”
Alexander Lewis attended the Manhattan School of Music, where he first started getting inspired by music and hip-hop culture early on.
During his time there, Lewis joined a collective of sorts known as the Candid Music Group curated by his close friends and producers JNTHN STEIN and Brasstracks. Being the multi-dimensional musician Lewis is, he brought jazz to EDM thus creating an electronic jazz type of sound.
Lewis started releasing remixes and original content turning heads and catching the ears from artists like Tokimonsta, RL Grime, and Alison Wonderland. As his streaming numbers began to skyrocket, he became a crowd favorite — especially being a live trombonist in EDM.
With the recent influx of new producers taking over the game from the likes of Tay Keith, Murda Beatz, CashMoneyAP, and ThankGod4Cody, Alexander Lewis joins this new wave of talent pushing the culture forward.
Lewis describes his sound as “Hip-hop influenced. Definitely, Jazz influenced. It’s like a combination of hip-hop, jazz, and trap all melted into one pot.” Peep his project OMNI below.
Already a known success in the EDM world, Lewis is on the fast track to the top of the game. With this new move over into trap music, Lewis is set to hit new heights.
From producing beats for people such as Chief Keef to his first single off of his new album OMNI, it’s safe to say Lewis is locked in and focused on making a name for himself in the trap world.
“I always have been a hip-hop fan. I used to go to a live freestyle event in Lower East Side every Thursday, in which they make beats live and have MCs freestyle on the spot. As I’d sit there and watch I’d say to myself ‘I want to do this.’”
Drake once said, “My mount Rushmore is me with 4 different expressions,” but in reality, we all have those who either inspired us in some way, shape, or form. For Lewis, those four producers that inspire him most, all have hip-hop roots. He told me,
“Pharell, Timbaland, Dr. Dre, and of course Kanye West. Kanye… Man, Kanye inspired me so much growing up man.”
Jazz being one of the most historic and respected music genres ever compared to hip-hop, the fairly new genre that is often disrespected, some would say they aren’t comparable. To hear that Lewis was shocked, as a contributor to both genres Lewis had this to say about how similar they are. He said,
“It surprises me that people don’t think there are similarities. The cadence and delivery of rap and jazz are similar as well as the melodies and flow.”
To some, hip-hop is a passing fad still, not real music. However, Lewis’ fans are a little different. He told me,
“You’re always gonna have the one person who is going to listen and say ‘where is the trombone?’ There have also been some who expressed their concerns, but mostly all comments have been positive since getting into rap.”
Where Lewis currently sits, some may believe he needs to “pick a lane,” however, he had this to say to those who believe such “Fuck em’, I don’t have to do shit!”
That same energy was kept when Lewis was asked to give some advice to young up and coming producers. He shared this advice for youngins everywhere:
“Don’t let managers or executives alter your sound, make what you hear, have passion and be great!”