AJ Jackson: An Enthusiastic, Charismatic Lead Singer
The band’s charismatic frontman, Alexander “AJ” Jackson, was born on September 14, 1983. He is 37 years old. Jackson was born in Los Angeles, and he started making music when he was just seven years old.
He formed his first bands in grade school, playing bass and guitar as well as singing. While in college in 2007, AJ met Aaron Sharp, with whom he formed Saint Motel. The band released their first EP a few years later, and they received positive reviews from outlets like The Washington Post.
In addition to his creative work as a musician, Jackson has directed music videos for numerous bands, including Royal Teeth and Futurecop. He was also a member of the comedy group Craptastic in the late 2000s.
Saint Motel: The Music
Below are descriptions of the band’s three studio albums, including their most recent release, 2021’s The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack.
The band’s self-produced debut album was recorded in Los Angeles at the group’s personal studio. Released via OnThe Records, the album includes the singles “Puzzle Pieces,” “Benny Goodman,” “At Least I Have Nothing,” and “1997,” tracks that have been described as a blend of power pop, funk rock, and indie-pop. The record was an auteurist effort from the band, which covered all of the bases in terms of production.
Voyeur received positive reviews from KCRW and The Washington Post. Mark Jenkins, writing for The Washington Post, said, "Channeling British glam-pop as only a Los Angeles band can, Saint Motel makes chic and sprightly music with hints of ironic malevolence."
2014: My Type – Single
In 2014, the band released “My Type,” which has become one of their biggest hits to date. The track was produced by AJ Jackson and Joe Napolitano and released via Elektra Records.
The infectious single has been described as a combination of nu-disco, funk rock, alternative dance, and indie-pop. It has been featured in several films and video games, including Paper Towns, Mr. Right, FIFA 15, and Pro Evolution Soccer 2016, as well as in an episode of The Blacklist and several Volkswagen TV commercials.
The single was certified Platinum in Canada and Italy and Silver in the United Kingdom.
The band’s sophomore album features the singles “Move,” “Happy Accidents,” “Born Again,” and “Destroyer.” The record was produced by AJ Jackson, Tim Pagnotta, Lars Stalfors, and Frederik Thaae and released via Electra.
The album’s lead single “Move” was featured on the soundtrack for FIFA 17, marking the band’s second inclusion in an installment of the popular soccer video game series.
Marcy Donelson of Allmusic described the album as being full of “agile melodies, quirky arrangements, and a tone that resists saccharinity.”
2019-2021: The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
The band’s third record is a combination of three EPs, produced by AJ Jackson and Mark Needham. It is their first full-length release since Saintmotelevision in 2016.
Pt. 1 features “Old Soul,” a song that AJ Jackson described as feeling “like it sets the tone of the entire album.” Jackson went on to tell Billboard that the song was written at a cabin in the San Gabriel Mountains of California.
Another song on the record, “Sisters,” was described by Jackson as being inspired by the death of his beloved 2001 Toyota RAV 4. Cook told Billboard that he got a new car and couldn’t stop listening to 40s and 50s music on the included SiriusXM radio. Jackson especially favored The Shepherd Sisters, a group that is sampled on “Sisters.”
Another track on Pt. 1 is “Save Me,” which Jackson describes as tying Pt. 1 of The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to its second installment, which was released on September 18, 2020. Regarding the song, AJ Jackson told American Songwriter magazine, “It really is the part in the movie where the princess gets taken by Bowzer and you have to rise to the challenge and figure out a way to save the day.”
In 2021, the band released the third and final installment of The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. The collection of EPs is now available on streaming platforms as a full-length album.