When most of us were teenagers, the very last thing on our minds was the idea of working in a day-to-day career. Instead, our focus was on boyfriends and girlfriends, spending time with friends outside of school, and finding a way to get out of sixth period math. Professionalism was a ways away.
This is not the case for AJ Lehrman, a seventeen-year-old musical prodigy who has taken the world by storm with a boyish-yet-professional demeanor. On Saturday, April 30, Lehrman will be performing at the Santa Barbara Bowl as an opening act for the world-renowned, Grammy-winning a capella group Pentatonix as part of the Pentatonix World Tour.
So far he says that his experience touring with the group has been educational and fulfilling. “They’re really amazing. Overall they’re just such incredible people, very sweet people
and the fans especially… It’s so special being on tour like this because everyone really appreciates musicality in general,” says Lehrman.
AJ possesses an incredible awareness of his role as a performer and musician, especially given his young age. Nevertheless, he knows that he has an important opportunity at his disposal and owns up to the social responsibility that comes along with being a touring singer-songwriter.
“I’m an advocate for social change in the world. I want to have an impact on the world, not just through my music but also through the platform it provides me. I want to spread ideas of self-love and preventing bullying,” he said. “Last year, I did my own headlining tour throughout southern California where I went to different middle schools and talked about our anti-bullying campaign #NoBull, and then we set up different phone lines for anyone that needed advice on bullying.”
As AJ raves about the opportunity to give back to the community through his position as a Teen Ambassador for DoSomething.org, it’s hard to envision a more appropriate teenage role model for today’s youth and youngsters. That’s not to say that Lehrman has everything figured out at 17. Still growing as a musician and person, AJ has had to mature much faster than others at his age, and he has had to deal with the difficult task of being away from his family for extended periods of time while on tour performing.
“Being away from my family [has been the hardest part]. Being away from them for so long is hard because I’m still a kid,” he said. His family remains supportive as Lehrman continues on his journey to becoming a world-class performer. And his early success has been instrumental in reinforcing his inner drive to make a long career out of performing and creating music.
“I’ve definitely learned that I love music even more than I thought I did. I love recording, I love the rush of performing onstage in front of a big crowd. [I’m aware of] how special it is being up there.”
In addition to his family’s support, AJ has found solace as the protégé of Disney stars like Nick Jonas and Demi Lovato. Their tutelage has kept him on track and focused on the music, while also providing him with an invaluable resource (given that both Jonas and Lovato were in similar shoes once as teenage popstars).
As for his current projects, Lehrman recently released a brand new single titled “Tongue,” and he is hard at work finishing up his debut album. His sound can be described as urban acoustic, and he draws inspiration from older stars like Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder in addition to younger singer-songwriters like Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars, Gavin DeGraw, and Andy Grammer.
With a wealth of raw talent at his disposal, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that AJ is finding early success in the music business. And if he continues on the right track, we should expect to see him remain in the spotlight for years to come as a prominent musician and advocate for social change.