What is your name?A: John Klezmer, but I go by KLEZ
What is your genre of music?
A: Indie Soul
Give us a little bio about you.
A: I was born and raised in California listening to Soul and R&B classics. Mixing my own life story with the inspirational songwriting style of many prominent Soul artists before me, I have found a way to connect with a wide array of people through my music. Though I am currently finishing up my time in college, you can find me performing at various clubs and venues in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
What made you go in to music?
A: Music has always been something that has made sense and worked for me. Through trials and triumph alike, from childhood to present day, music has always been there to narrate my life and allow me a creative outlet as a musician. I have always been filled with respect and admiration for those who create positive change with their music, so it made at a young age to seek a career as a singer/songwriter, and a performer. It also helps that my family was/still is loving and supportive in all that I do.
Are you signed?
A: Yes, I am a signed artist with Sx3 Music
You have releasing ‘Holidays Are Here Again’, tell us more about the track.
A: ‘Holidays Are Here Again’ tells the story of someone driven by love and nostalgia, to make it home to their loved ones for the holidays. I was fortunate enough to have assistance from producer/songwriters Roger Gisborne and Dylan Kelly, who really brought a lot of holiday spirit to the production of the track. A graceful intro and chord progression by pianist Corey Walles sets the initial scene of the song and from there it continues to build.
What was the writing process like, to make it more original and not similar to other original christmas songs?
A: The writing process was challenging, because I wanted the song to feel familiar without actually being something that was done or heard before(which is often easier said than done). There’s a distinct difference between paying homage and replication, so I made sure that this song had it’s own distinct production and sonic quality that set it apart from previous holiday classics.
Would you ever do a Christmas EP or Album in the future?
A: Though I don’t currently have any plans to create a Christmas EP or Album, I don’t see any reason why that can’t be a possibility in the future.
Will you be heading out for any gigs this festive season?
A: I’ll be spending the remainder of the year working on my second EP, but you should be able to find me performing around San Francisco and Los Angeles in January.
Who was the first person you showed your new single to once completed?
A: I think I either showed my mom or my brother the song before I showed anyone else. Both of them have an eclectic taste in music, so I often show them my music first.
If you could perform for 5 people in the music industry who would they be and why?
A: It’s difficult for me to name anyone specifically. Though I have been greatly inspired by many people in the music industry, I believe that everyone’s opinion and reaction to my music holds equal importance and gravity. The opportunity to perform for any number of people and leave them with a positive and memorable experience is more important to me than anything.
Do you play any instruments?
A: Yes, I began playing guitar around 10 or 11 years old. Despite my nearly non-existent attention span and my inability to afford lessons (for more than a couple of months), I found a way to teach myself to play guitar, piano, and bass. I continued to experiment with instruments and play by ear until I learned to read music as a young teenager. Since my younger years as a musician, I have received more music lessons and theory training here and there, but I prefer to focus more on the emotion of a song than the theoretical “correctness”. Learn the rules so that you can break them…I’m not sure who came up with that saying, but it’s great.
Who are your influences?
A: My list of influences is always getting larger, as I am always pushing myself to broaden my musical horizons, but my main influences include: Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, and Otis Redding. I think that more people will get a better feel for this on my second EP, but in the meantime, a live performance always makes these influences very apparent.
How do you get inspiration to write songs?
A: I usually get my inspiration from memories and experiences in life. I do my best to not have a closed mind about sources for potential inspiration though, and I always make sure to embrace it when I have it. If inspiration strikes in the dead of night, then I will wake up so that I can record, then go back to sleep after. You can always catch up on sleep, but you can’t always remember a great song idea, if you let the moment pass.
Where do you see yourself now in 5 Years?
A: I see myself continuing to make music in a community that inspires me and that I can affect in a positive way. I will continue to follow opportunities on the road, I will continue to make connections along the way, and I will continue to enjoy the journey…wherever it is that it might take me.
When you’re not doing music, what do you do?
A: Whether or not I am making music, I am always listening to music. That being said, any time that isn’t spent making music is usually spent cooking or dancing. I used to ride my motorcycle around as well, but it I need to fix it, so that hasn’t been part of the routine for a little while.
What was the song you listened to most that influenced you to go more in to the music scene?
A: There wasn’t a song that influenced me to get more involved in the music scene, but there was a person. My brother, who was on the board of directors at the college radio station where I worked, really encouraged me to be more active in the local music scene. If it weren’t for him encouraging me to do a singer-songwriter competition, then I might not be where I am today. A lot of great things happened and connections were made that night, and I don’t know how things would have gone otherwise.
What’s the best advice you have ever been given?
A: To enjoy the ride more and worry about the destinations less. If you’re always focusing on where you were yesterday or where you need to be tomorrow, then you’re never really appreciating the moment that you are currently experiencing.
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians not about the industry and just as an artist?
A: Don’t lose sight of who you are. There are billions of people in this world, and though we are all similar in many ways, each of us also has our own unique qualities. Many artists are put in situations where they may feel pressured to change themselves or their craft, but if there’s one thing that this world can’t get enough of, it’s authenticity. Also, don’t be deterred by people who try to drag you down with negativity. There are plenty of people like that, but they can’t harm you or your music if you don’t allow it to bother you.
What quote or saying do you always stick by?
A: “If you’re not constantly evolving, then you’re becoming obsolete” – KLEZ
Yes, I realize that I just gave you my own quote, but I do live by that saying. I think that it’s important to strive for progress and change. Whether you are a musician or not, I think we can all agree that if people never changed their ways of thinking then this world would be a sad place to live.
Where is your dream venue to perform?
A: I don’t have a dream venue. The venue doesn’t make or break an experience as a performer. I’d rather perform at an intimate venue with an interactive audience, than perform at a gigantic venue with a static crowd.
When you are at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget?
A: For me, it is essential to not forget the following: a positive behavior, stretches before performing, water, instruments, and my bandmates.
You just come back off tour, back in your hometown;
1/ where do you visit first?
A: I would return to my grandmother’s house, as I lived with her for a number of years, and my parents don’t live in my hometown. Also, my grandmother listens to great music, cooks great food, and we get along very well.
2/where do you eat first?
A: I would eat at my grandmother’s house. I guarantee you that my grandma cooks better than any restaurant that I could go to.
3/who do you see first?
A: I would see my brother first. We grew up close to one another and we have remained close. We usually show each other new music and original songs as well, so that’s plenty reason for me.
Do you have social media accounts so your fans can follow you?
Instagram and Twitter: @KLEZmusic