Quintin Gerard W & Lemek: Behind the Beats
Updated: Nov 9
Each week we'll take you 'Behind the Beats' to learn more about the artists that play on our airwaves. This week: Quintin Gerard W. & Lemek.
Quintin Gerard W and his son, Lemek, are both currently tracking on the Smooth Jazz TOP 20 chart! Quintin takes over Lemek’s position at #17 and Lemek leaps to #6 on this week’s countdown show. We grabbed a few moments with these talented artists.
First off, I want to congratulate both of you on your chart success and say thanks for the wonderful music!
Quintin: Right away I would like to say “Thank You” Mr. Allen for taking out time in your busy schedule to speak with us! You come highly respected in first our family, and also in our world of Music! It is truly an Honor to be a part of your SJN Family so “Thank You” for appreciating and supporting our Music!
Lemek: Yeah, thanks for giving us this opportunity to speak with SJN and talk about music! This is very cool.
Quintin, you are a veteran in the music business, but 2022 has been a real breakout year for you in the smooth jazz world. How does it feel and why now do you think?
Quintin: Yes sir...! I’ve been around for a long while now and for me it’s mostly been a function of the “Cycle of Life” it seems. You know, there are/were times when you feel as though all hope is lost but that little voice within you says “keep going” because this is who and what you are all about. I can say emphatically that 2022 is a breakout year for me simply because at a certain point in this game you start to figure it out in terms of how the business works. For some, like Lemek for example, it comes at an early age, however for others like myself that did not have any “relationships” in this business it takes years to figure out how to break through.
For many of those years I thought or believed it was all about how well you played the saxophone is what gets you over the hump, but later came to find out that is only part of the equation. That said, I now understand this business is all about building relationships, such as the one I have with SJN, e.g., and a producers like Michael Broening, Jacob Webb, and Adam Hawley, who I’m currently working with which helps build your reputation and name in this game. Finding the right people who understand who you are and what you are trying to do is absolutely paramount to opening the musical doors which will allow you to have a break out year such as the one I’m currently experiencing.
And now your son Lemek, is rocketing up the charts with his single.
Quintin: Simply put, there is absolutely no greater love that a Father can have than that which he has for his Son. I mean really...What can I say...? It brings me absolute joy and pleasure to see Lemek, first of all, decide to follow in my footsteps and become a musician in his own right and then experience the joys of success in which he is achieving at the highest level in this business! For him it was either Music or Mathematics/Statistics which is what his Mom was laying down on him very early as well. So, needless to say he chose music as a career path really quick. Be it known also that this young man has worked VERY HARD to get where is today and deserves every bit of the chart success he is obtaining. Big shout out to his record Label Trippin’ N Rhythm, Les Cutmore, and Jeff Lunt for being the visionaries they are about the future of Smooth Jazz Music and taking a chance and recognizing Lemek’s talent, handsome features, and ability to perform and record at a high level. We both are forever grateful for that!
Now to Lemek, this also seems to be a breakout year for you! What do you tribute your newly found success to?
Lemek: First of all I would like to say that I wouldn’t have gotten this far without the help and support of my family. My parents created the perfect learning environment for me to focus and concentrate on what exactly I needed to do to obtain the skill level needed to be able to execute the guitar at a professional level and be a competent musician. I would also like to thank my label Trippin’ N Rhythm for giving me the opportunity to show what I can do and put me in a position for people like you Mr. Allen to hear what I have to say musically.
Each of you… Please tell us how you got started playing music and your journey along the way.
Quintin: Sure...! My mom sang in church and my older brothers played clarinet in the high school band, so music was all around me growing up. Growing up in New Orleans was also a benefit because I was always exposed to music wherever I went. That said my mom took me to the local Christmas parade to see my brother in the marching band and it was the first recollection of seeing live music. I was only about 5yrs old and the sound of a 100 piece marching band made such an huge impact on me that I knew that music was it for me. I was done. From there it evolved into my school years, then college, and culminating into a professional career in Los Angeles, where I did any kind of gig I could find. I remember my first gig in L.A. was at a Tony Romas Rib Restaurant. Yeah man...that’s for real. From there I met people which led me to a phone call from Stevie Wonder one day telling me I was ready to record and recommended me for my first record deal with the now defunct label MoJazz Records. Needless to say the deal never went through because of what I call “musical politics,” but if Jeff Lorber produces your demo you should get signed, right? Doesn’t matter though because the business has change so much that I created my own label (O.T.S. Music!) so I never again have to deal with that kind of stuff ever again.
Lemek: My dad bought me an electronic drum kit when I was about 2yrs old and it was my first introduction to music. He told me not to worry about learning music or anything like that, and to just play them and have fun. Well after a while I started to figure out rhythm and started to play grooves and he was impressed and happy about that. Well, unfortunately, I had to put my drum career to rest when we moved back to Louisiana to help take care of my grandpa and the drums were packed up and put in the attic because of space constraints in the house. Then one day my dad’s friend Mr. Albert bought over a little acoustic guitar for me and I started noodling around with it until I started to figure it out. Once I showed I could play it a little bit my dad then bought me a little electric guitar and that’s where and how I became a guitar player.
Who are some of your favorite artists or musical influences?
Quintin: Man, this is a loaded question, right? LOL. Ok, so here we go...the artist who has made or had the biggest impact on me and my career as a person and saxophonist would have to be none other than my good friend Kenny Garrett, who I met many years ago on the sidewalk outside of Catalina’s Bar & Grill in Hollywood. That night changed my life as Kenny would be just a phone call away if I needed anything, had any questions about playing the saxophone, or just how to carry myself as a professional. He came into my life at a pivotal point when I really needed someone to look up to since I had just lost my mother to breast cancer in 1992 and became a very angry person at that time because of that loss. Kenny calmed me down and directed my focus back to music, which I used as therapy to handle the grief. That said, Kenny Garrett is not just an artist to me but he’s like a big brother in this business as well. Other influences are Ronnie Laws, Najee, Kenny G., Jay Beckenstein, Rick Margitza, and Bob Mintzer!
Lemek: I can say that I’ve been exposed to a plethora of artist over my short years that I’ve listened to, but I guess I would have to say that Stevie Ray Vaughan, Charlie Parra, Stanley Jordan, Dezolve, and Intervals have had the biggest impact on me and my playing. All of those guys have a unique approach to music and I love what they all did and are doing. My sound, I guess, is a mixed bag of all of them together. They all challenge me to hear music differently with respect to how they approach it.
Tell us about your live performance experiences. Some highlights maybe?
Quintin: Too many to list here but I would have to say Man...touring with Jeff Lorber and having the opportunity to play on stage live with the likes of Dave Koz, and Najee was awesome! Opening for Joe Sample in Maui with Under The Lake, and performing live at a host of Smooth Jazz Festivals, clubs, and venues with my band round out the highlights.
Lemek: The ABC affiliate WGNO’s News With a Twist Stage, the Treme 7th Ward Festival Under the Bridge in New Orleans, and the 2020 NAMM Guitar Competition in Anaheim, CA in which I won the First Place Grand Prize!
Do you two plan on recording together in the future? Maybe a collaboration album?
Quintin: Actually we already have recorded together...! Lemek is playing guitar on a few tracks on my “Cleared For Takeoff” CD. As far as an album or CD is concerned, we will see what the future holds in terms of releasing a collaboration CD. We are each busy in our respective musical worlds currently, but will never leave out the possibility of doing something formally together in the future as that would be very exciting!