Catching Up With Saunders Sermons
Saunders Sermons blends jazz and soul music by reviving the old school feel that we’ve been missing with freshness that appeals to younger audiences. Last year, the singer and trombonist released his debut album, a project of 7 amazing songs appropriately titled Classic Delight. His next album, Just What She Needs, will be released in January and the first two singles, Fallen and You Got a Hold on Me (featuring Yahzarah), are the perfect indication that the buzz surrounding his music is just getting started. Here’s our conversation about his musical influences, favorite artists and new album.
Mimi Soul: I read that you fell in love with jazz when you were in college at the New School. What is it about jazz that you like so much?
Saunders: I guess I like it because it’s so technical and it’s not an art form that you can easily replicate. You have to live it and pick up the spirit of the music. I love jazz because it’s so timeless and classic.
Mimi Soul: I also read that you started playing the trombone around age 11.
Saunders: Yeah, but singing was always my first love. I picked up the trombone in band and I thought it would be cool and fun.
Mimi Soul: When did you decide to put the two together and become a singer and trombonist?
Saunders: Well, I decided that when I moved to New York. I was actually doing gigs there for a while at a spot in the city called Sweet Rhythm. I was just playing my horn and I noticed that nobody was in the audience. As soon as I started singing, people started coming out. So, I just put the two together and ran with it because I saw it was something different and when you come to New York, you have to really stick out. I saw that nobody was really singing and playing the trombone on a high level so I was like “Cool, I’m gonna stick with this”.
Mimi Soul: I can definitely say I haven’t seen many artists who sing and play the trombone.
Saunders: Yeah, I actually found out later that Billy Eckstine was a trombonist and a big time jazz singer. He sang with a big band and he was really popular back in the day. So, I kinda say I’m the new version of him. He drew alot of attention so if he can do it, I can do it.
Mimi Soul: What inspires your music?
Saunders: Well, I just plain love music. I wake up humming, singing and whistling. It’s what I love to do. I’m really inspired by great sounds, musicians and people who are truly skilled at music. I’m also inspired by old school jazz, rock, r&b and my family.
Mimi Soul: You’ve said that you want to bring elegance back to music and set a new standard for the industry. How are you doing that?
Saunders: Well, my vision is to bring back the classiness and true artistry in the same vein as Sammy Davis Jr., like singing with a big band and doing things like that on the BET Awards or the Grammys. I don’t see alot of that so once I hit the mainstream, I’m definitely going to do that.
Mimi Soul: Why did you choose Classic Delight as the title of your first album?
Saunders: Actually, it’s funny because the guy who was doing the artwork for that album cover called me out of the blue and was like “Yo man, I’m doing the artwork but what are you going to call the album?” and I was like “Ummmm…Classic Delight”. I just threw it out like that. That was the spirit of the album. I wanted it to be like a modern classic album that you can listen to and it puts you in the mind of an old school Nat King Cole kinda thing.
Mimi Soul: You’ve performed with a long list of artists, but I have to ask what it was like to perform with Maxwell.
Saunders: It was a dream come true because I’m a big Maxwell fan. I was like a kid in the candy store. It was an honor for me because I grew up listening to his music and covering a couple of his songs. It was amazing to tour with him.
Mimi Soul: From an artist’s perspective, how would you describe the music industry?
Saunders: I would say that there is a huge machine for real music; it just has to speak to the masses. Maxwell is definitely a soul singer and touring with him showed me that real music can survive and pack out arenas and stadiums. But, the music has to speak more to the people in order for that to happen.
Mimi Soul: How do you keep such a fresh perspective as an artist?
Saunders: I definitely keep my ear to the streets because the streets let you know what’s hot and what’s not. I take the good things from what’s on the radio and I mix it with my style. I always try to keep the integrity of the music for the people that love classic music.
My next album is called Just What She Needs and it has the flavor of everyone that I’ve toured with. It has r&b, soul and a little hip hop and pop. It’s definitely a combination of everything I’ve ever done and the artists I’ve toured with.
Mimi Soul: Why did you choose Just What She Needs as the title of your next album?
Saunders: I wanted to come up with an album that was like a little pampering. You know, women like to get their nails and hair done so I wanted to pamper them with my music. So, I called it Just What She Needs. It’s absolutely that. Every song is catering in a nice manner. It’s kind of like Maxwell, D’Angelo, and Prince. It’s gonna be awesome. I’m putting out another single from the album in December called Sample of Your Love and I’m telling ya, you’re not going to want to stop playing it.
Mimi Soul: Let’s do a play on the words classic and delight. I’ll give you a phrase using one of those two words and you say the first thing that comes to mind.
Mimi Soul: Classic jazz song
Saunders: All Blues by Miles Davis
Mimi Soul: Classic soul artist
Saunders: Sam Cooke
Mimi Soul: One of your most delightful performances
Saunders: Performing at the Grammys with Maxwell
Mimi Soul: One of your most delightful collaborations
Saunders: I’d definitely have to say my new single with Yahzarah. It was incredible.
Mimi Soul: Ok one more fun question. If you had to part with all of your music except for three albums, which three would you have to keep?
Saunders: Miles Davis – Kind of Blue, D’Angelo – Voodoo, and Erykah Badu – Mama’s Gun. I would have to keep those for myself because I could live off those.
Mimi Soul: What b-side track would you suggest from one of those albums?
Saunders: I would say Spanish Joint from the D’Angelo album because it didn’t really get to the radio. It’s a hot joint.
Saunders says he wants his music to make old and young folks happy and that’s exactly what’s happening. Mark your calendars for January 14th, the release date for Just What She Needs. As we wait, check out Don’t You Understand from Classic Delight and follow him at the links below. Thanks Saunders for a great interview!
Don’t You Understand
Follow Saunders Sermons