Saxl Rose

Saxl Rose
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Author: Michaela Allen

Take it from us here at Neotech: Saxl Rose is one to know. As a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and elemental cover artist, his sax credits and performances include Wiz Khalifa, Chris Brown, Paramore, Neck Deep, NBC's Last Call with Carson Daly, and many more. A few of his many features include Kerrang, The Source, Alternative Press, and Rocksound.

We delved into some of the highlights of his career so far.

We're so happy to endorse you with our products! Talk to me about your endorsements!

First of all, I appreciate you guys taking the time . The reason why I reached out to you was because broke off my neck strap. I was searching, and the first strap that popped up was Neotech's. I was like, you know what, are really nice and I've seen them before, so I thought I'd reach out to you and see if we could make anything happen. You were kind enough to follow up on that, and here we are!

Here we are! You have a lot of interesting endorsements too. How did those come about?

It's been a combination of and also have companies approach me and want to work with me because of what I've been doing online, and my following. That really started like three and a half years ago. I'd started playing with this band, Neck Deep, and I had done a couple of videos that went viral around that time, then I played with Paramore. After that, I did a show on NBC with Neck Deep and they flew me out to LA. It was a really cool period with a lot of stuff happening. Syos, the company who I'm sponsored through with my signature mouthpiece, one of the first people to hit me up and just be like, hey, we love your videos, we love what you're doing, we just wanna help however we can and get on board because you're really creative, and you're playing a lot of different styles.

I don't know if you know, but, a lot of different saxophone companies and people who work in the strict, pure jazz world, don't really like that a lot. I didn't get a whole lot of support right away from a lot of different companies. After a while it became about aligning with different brands and companies that had a similar vision to me. The apparel company I've been promoting recently, Balance, make clothes for people of any type of background, size, ethnicity. They have nothing to do with music, but their mentality is the same as mine, where it's like I just want to work with who I want, play whatever style I want, and just do my own thing, and be unique. That's what they're about. Anyone who is just willing to kinda trust my vision, and want to play a part of it - like you guys!

You mentioned Paramore - I used to love them when I was growing up! What's the story of you guys performing for them?

I covered "Ain't It Fun", and Hayley Williams saw it and shared it on Twitter. It got like over 200,000 views in a day, or something ridiculous. She just shouted out that it was really cool, this is sexy, and everyone should check this out, and I was just like... oh wow! After that, I was just like, I don't want to wear it out, but I should continue to a few more of their songs.

They had just announced a tour around that time, and were coming close to me, and this whole campaign started online where I would do a video, and their fans would tag us and be like, we wanna see this guy play with you! Everyone from my home town was tweeting her and tagging her, sharing my video, like we wanna see this happen. I did two more videos that liked and shared, and this was all in the month before they were coming to Maryland.

The day came, I had a ticket already to the show, went to the show, hadn't heard anything from Hayley or anyone else. But, I had my sax in the car, because I'd played the night before. So, while I'm in line to wait for the show, there's a bunch of people who are like "yo, aren't you the guy who did the sax video?! Saxl Rose what's up are you playing tonight?" and I was like "nah man, I'm in line like you guys." During the opening band, I got a notification on my phone, and I was with one of my friends, I picked up the phone and it's like "you have a DM from Hayley Williams on Twitter." It was crazy. She said "hey, I'm not sure if you're at are you at the show, I talked it out with the band and, I'm not even sure if you have your instrument- or if you even want to - but if you wanna come jam with us "Ain't It Fun" is our finale so we'd love to have you. I start freaking out.

What's funny is maybe 20-25 people from my community - teachers, friends - came out to the show on the off chance that I was playing. Nobody actually knew anything, so I told nobody, except for one friend who was there when I found out. So, when the time comes to go backstage, I turn to my friends and say "I really need the bathroom" and they're like "you can't wait?! You gotta go now? Hurry back!" and I'm like "no problem". Next thing you know, I walk out on stage and they lose their minds, it was crazy.

Whoa! Was that the first big audience you'd played in front of?

I'd done some shows with Neck Deep before then, which were big shows too. They were anywhere from 2000-4000 cap rooms; one was in Maryland, one was in New York City at Playstation Theatre, which is the second largest venue next to Madison Square. The Paramore show was something ridiculous like 150,000 people or something like that. At that point, it was the biggest show I'd done. It was wild. I wasn't worried about the or anything, I was more worried about falling onstage or doing something stupid. Like, she handed me the mic, but when I came out there she's doing a whole monologue thing, and she's like "this is the first time we've gotten to meet you, we love your videos - is there anything you want to say to Maryland?" She just puts the mic in my face and I'm like, I have nothing to say, so I say "YO MARYLAND WHAT'S UP?" and everyone lost their minds. It was a really good experience.

You deserve it for your covers, and for your song credits. I love your song "Trap Nap" with Wiz Khalifa!

Everyone who knows me knows I've always been a fan of Wiz. He was just that person for me. In high school, when I used to record music, I was always trying to do my flows like him, and dress like him. I'd done some sax work for some of his artists on his label, and covered one of them. One of the artists shared my video of that, so, after I saw that I went down the line and covered every one of his artists. By the time it'd got back around to him, he'd already been seeing my name and my face. His security guard, the people who run his VIP, and some of his best friends were sharing me a lot.

Wiz was on Instagram Live and I was commenting like 'yo what's up?" and he was like "bro that stuff you did for my artist was really good and I'm gonna need you to do something like that soon." I was like, damn. Then he added me onto the live, he invited me in to chat with him. Long story short, he was working on a mixtape, said he needed someone to record sax and guitar for it. I did that. Then he sent me another song that made his album. I'm playing guitar on the song Trap Nap. Since then, I've been out to LA 3 or 4 times. We have a bunch of unreleased songs together, and worked on some new stuff recently.

Do you have any original stuff?

I recently shot my music video for my first single. I don't really know how to describe it, but it's the first Saxl Rose original. Sonically, it has a Bruno Mars kind of feeling. It's all sax led. You know in smooth jazz how the saxophone is leading, playing the melody? It's that idea, but a whole different kind of sound. There's a feature on it as well, so it's gonna be really cool.

Can't wait to hear it. What got you into music in the first place?

My dad's a musician, so he spent a lot of his life and a lot of mine on the road touring. When I was young, my mom would take me and my brother out to see his band playing. He played the sax, keyboard, drums, and he was the lead singer. Everyone in his band was able to just switch instruments. And, I don't know what it is, people always equate sax with this sexy love instrument. Whenever would pull out the sax, there was just a different kind of reaction and excitement around what he was doing.

Seeing that my dad was ripping on stage was enough for me to that this was something that I wanted to do. He was always really good about making sure I was practicing, and even asking me throughout middle school and high school like "Hey, I don't want you to feel like you ever have to do music. You can do whatever you want, I'm always going to support you." My mom was exactly the same way; she was a DJ in a club in my hometown, so she always had a lot of music - from country to what was playing on the hip hop radios and in-between, so I had a really eclectic upbringing. My dad supplying the R&B and 70's soul. and my mom providing the new wave stuff. My Uncle was Teddy Pendergrass' guitarist, too. Having those kinds of influences in my family right away just put me in a good creative space.

Wow! You were really born a multi-genre instrumentalist. It's phenomenal that you're paving your own way in the industry, and have your own sound.

There's so much dope music out there, why do we continue to rinse and repeat the same songs that have been played forever? Let's do something fresh, let's do something new. Let's not rinse and repeat the same Charlie Parker licks that every sax player plays. It's amazing, it takes a lot of talent and skill to play it, no disrespect, but I don't see the point in trying to sound like every other sax player. It's cool to be unique. It's cool to have your own kind of style. I've never wanted to sound alike.

You know yourself, you know your sound.

To wrap up, what's next for you?

I'm going on tour coming up with Halfnoise in November, we're doing a handful of dates in NYC, LA and Nashville. I want to get more into... I love recording, and I love making content, but I want to get more into touring. I want to be on the road a lot more. I did a tour with Neck Deep in 2019 in the U.K, so I was on that trajectory before the pandemic hit. I want to get back to performing live, that's what I really love to do. And also releasing original music, that's what's next.

Check out Saxl Rose at the links below

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