John Lee Sanders comes from the deep roots of jazz, blues and roots music through his early years in the Mississippi Delta, Alabama, the Bayous of Louisiana, and The plains of Texas. John Lee has a universal gift to reach audiences from a broad and diverse musical spectrum. With blues at the core, he has evolved a complex musical gumbo, with the flavors of Americana, Rock, Gospel, Pop, Jazz, R&B, Soul, Country, classical, with a deep love of the traditions, and culture of New Orleans. John received a degree in classical and jazz composition from the University of North Texas, and the University of Louisiana, and Film Scoring at San Jose State University. John has 15 CD releases since 1995, and learned record production from Grammy Producer of the year, Narada Michael Walden, the most successful record producer of the 80s and 90s.
He comes from a gifted Memphis musical family, including his mom’s cousin who worked with WC Handy, father of the blues. His aunt lived only a few doors down from Elvis Presley. In his grandma’s neighborhood, the birthplace of Aretha Franklin, in Memphis, where Al Green recorded some of the greatest soul music of all time. He spent his formative teen years in Birmingham, Ala, whose great Gospel Quartet traditions later help form the Motown Vocal Sound. Birmingham concert promoters in the early 60s billed 13 year old “Little John” as Birmingham’s answer to “Little Stevie Wonder”, Upon graduation, John left Texas & Louisiana with the Bay Area legendary band, Uncle Rainbow in 1977, upon a production contract with the Late Michael Hossack of the Doobie Brothers. On the band’s first visit to Hollywood for recording, John Lee surprised everyone, auditioned for the Gong Show, and won!
John signed a large recording contract in 1980 with Rod Stewart’s, Riva Records. From 1977, until the present, John Lee works in the studios with hundreds of CDs demos, commercials, soundtracks, including a 2007 Emmy nomination for song of the year. A gifted composer/lyricist, in November 2014, John won Best blues CD, German Music Critics Award. He has a 2004 Blues music Award Nomination for song of the year, 2007 Emmy nomination, song of the year, 3 Canadian Music Awards. His childhood encounters with the Key players who shaped a generation, Elvis Presley, George Wallace, Richard Nixon and Dr. Martin Luther King, read like a surreal “Forrest Gump” epic of the Blues, that influenced the songs and stories of this gifted performer and composer.
John Lee has shared the stage, opened for, recorded or toured with some of the legends last 50 years, including Jimmy Page, Stevie Wonder, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Starship, Bill Withers, Chuck Berry, Bonnie Raitt, Freddie King,John**** John Lee Hooker, Tower of Power, and many more. His songs have been recorded by Eddie Kendricks of the Temptations, an unreleased cut from Aretha Franklin, and Marsha Ball, who received a Grammy nomination, for blues CD of the year, with the hit single from Sanders. He is a 2012 Canadian Maple Blues award nominee for Piano Player of the Year! His voice and music are used in advertisements for clients such as Wal-Mart, Nissan, Apple Computer, CBS Television, The Sierra Club, and many more.
John now lives in Palos ds La Frontera Spain, with his wife Maria, Where Christopher Columbus launched his legendary Voyage in 1492. He is touring the major citiies of Spain with his John Lee Sanders and the Gospel Messengers, in December 2021.