At just 17 years old, musician and songwriter AJ Lehrman is already making a name for himself in the music industry. See for yourself next week—he’s opening for the Grammy award-winning acapella group Pentatonix when they play at the Pan American Center on May 5. In an exclusive interview with Las Cruces magazine, he shares his musical journey, insider tips on getting inspired, and what to expect at the show next week.
How did you get started in the music industry?
I started writing songs in the 4th grade. So mostly just writing, writing, writing for years. I finally got into the studio and recorded some cover songs, then I just went crazy sending it out to anyone I could find in the music industry. I got a call from a producer in LA. He said, “Can we fly you out to LA?” So of course I went to LA and recorded some songs and it took off from there. I’ve been falling in love with the songwriting process. I love the creative process. It’s magical to see an idea and a concept evolve into something special. I’ve been writing for other artists, for TV and movies, and I’ve been touring as a musician. I’ve been all across America and on a world tour with S Club 7. My social media fans have been a huge part of all this and I’m so excited to be here now.
You say you love the creative process. What’s your creative process? Where do you find inspiration?
It’s weird where inspiration comes from. Sometimes it’s just something I see when I’m on the sidewalk, like a street sign. I’ll think, “Wow, that’s cool. What could I do with that name? How can I turn it into a double meaning or a metaphor?” That’s mostly how I get concepts; just thinking of things in a different way. My new single “Tongue” for example, people may take it as having a sexual context, but really it’s about my perspective of people saying they’re going to do something, but not really following through. It reminds me that I can’t focus on others, I can only focus on myself.
How has this tour with Pentatonix been going? What can we expect at the show in Las Cruces?
This tour has been incredible. I’ve been meeting some amazing people. Pentatonix has been so kind to me, and so have the other openers in the show. It’s been a really positive experience. Plus, Pentatonix fans are true music lovers, so that’s lucky for me. What can you expect at the show? Expect to be sitting at the beginning, but jumping up and down at the end.
What’s next for you? Where do you see yourself in the future?
I’m still young, so I don’t want to put limits on my future or force myself to go in any one direction. I’d rather just continue to see where this journey takes me. But my future is definitely in music. Yes, I would love to win a Grammy and an Emmy, but I don’t want to say that has to happen by say, age 25. At the end of the day, I see myself as a creator, so 10, 20 years from now, that’s where I see myself: creating music and writing songs.
What would you like someone who’s never seen you perform to know about you?
I’d like people to know that I’m doing this for one reason: because I love it. Music is so amazing. It has the power to make people feel a certain way. It has the power to bring us all together. My message is one of self love and happiness.
Learn more about AJ and link to his social media here:
Listen to AJ’s Single “Tongue” here:
Watch AJ on Top Five Live: https://vimeo.com/user3646117/review/160914476/1572d5766d
The show starts at 7:30pm on May 5 at the Pan American Center. Visit ticketmaster.com or the Pan Am Ticket Office to get your tickets right now.
Interviewed by Jessica Muncrief