Photos courtesy of Zach Le
Singer-songwriter John Anderson, who goes by the stage name John Lowell, is the type of person who is immediately noticeable when he walks into a room. His considerable height of 6’6” could play a part in his prominence, but it’s his positive aura that makes him memorable. Having released an EP in September, Lowell came by for an interview at the Sandbar, where his soft voice was nearly drowned out by the whirring of the blenders. However, behind his quiet demeanor, Lowell’s evident passion for music spoke volumes.
After releasing your EP “Shark” on Sept. 24th, what kind of feedback have you been receiving?
The reaction has been really encouraging. All of the feedback I’ve gotten has been more than I could ask for. It really means a lot what people say because it’s so personal to me. But honestly, I just want people to hear my music.
When did you start playing music?
I started playing guitar in sixth grade, so around 12 years old. I started singing about five years ago; that’s when I wrote my first song. In high school, I would lead worship once or twice a week. That’s really what gave me the practice I needed to pursue music here.
What inspires you to write music?
Going to concerts of artists that I love and admire. It’s easy to forget about doing music at Pepperdine because you are constantly in school, so any time I get to see an artist that I love, it’s just like, “This is what I want to do.”
When it comes to material, my inspiration has usually always been about friendship, God and relationships. Hearing what other people write is really inspiring as well. More specifically, seeing an artist be honest and vulnerable, which is what it’s all about, is pretty incredible. When you see someone giving that to an audience, it’s like, “Wow, I feel somehow loved or cared for or important,” and then you, as a musician, want to do that as well.
What have been your biggest struggle and your biggest triumph pursuing music for as long as you have?
I don’t know if this is shallow, but one of the biggest struggles has probably been funding. I recorded the EP in my bedroom, then brought it to a friend, who has a makeshift studio and paid him to work on it a bit. It takes money to make quality stuff.
But I think a struggle exists with also knowing that there are so many talented people out there, and just thinking that it’s a long shot to try to make this a career. But you know, that’s all right. It’s not really about being famous or about only writing music. As long as I can write music, if I have to do something else too, that would be fine.
The biggest triumph would be getting to play at venues in LA, like for instance The Hotel Cafe. And even more than just playing there, the triumph has been getting together with friends who are musicians and see what they bring to my music as well.
How does it feel being a senior?
Scary. Exciting. Scary. The thing I’ll miss about school is honestly being so close to creative people. People who expand on your vision, change your vision — it’s so cool. I hope to keep that proximity somehow when I leave, maybe not location-wise, but connection-wise for sure.
What do you want to tell your fans?
That I’m endlessly grateful. Especially at school, when people are on a budget, so the fact that people will buy something I’ve done or come to a show even when they have a test the next day — it still doesn’t make sense to me that people make time out of their schedule to come support me with something I love so much.
I want to encourage them, sympathize with them and help them feel known through my [music] because that’s what music has done for me. So if I can do that in any way for them and turn their heads upwards toward God, I’ve done my job. To me, He is the source of everything that is good, so anything I am given, I hope that they can see that He’s the source. If I could tell my fans one thing it would be, “Thank you, and I hope this can help you in your walk.”
Lowell plans on using his last year at Pepperdine to create music with friends, learn from professors and play for local fans, before going wherever music takes him.
You can find John Lowell’s newest EP “Shark” on iTunes and Spotify. Check out his YouTube channel.
Follow Breanna Podgorski on Twitter at @brelynnmusic