The Ambassador is the stage name of singer-guitarist Stephen Gabriel Lewis. “I adopted the title because of the passion I have for travel abroad,” he says, “and because of something my mother used to say to me. She’d remind me to always be a positive representative and to act as an ‘ambassador’ for the people and places where I come from.”
Before arriving in California, Lewis hosted a series of acoustic and electric shows entitled “The Ambassador Presents” in Roanoke, Virginia. After serving several stints overseas as an English teacher in Korea, he returned stateside to tour, write, and record as front man and guitarist for the Seed, whose self-titled debut album was released in April 2008.
Later that year, Lewis moved to California, landing in Pacific Beach to launch a new career as a solo performer. “My music is a soulful mix of reggae, blues, and rock,” he says, “with influences that reflect many of the places I’ve lived and visited. Most of the songs are written with the purpose of inspiring and uplifting. That’s just the kind of thing that ambassadors are supposed to do.”
The Ambassador performs Friday, December 11, at the Loft in Point Loma.
WHAT’S IN YOUR CD PLAYER?
Clinton Fearon, Living Is an Art. “A true reggae ambassador, with one of the best combinations of messages and music, at least in current reggae.”
Al Green, Lay It Down. “I always loved the classic soul singers, and Al Green was one of my first vocal inspirations.”
John Brown’s Body, Pressure Points. “I just saw them at the Belly Up. Through the many lineup changes, JBB has continued to write good music, although I’m partial to the older, more rootsy tunes.”
B.B. King, Greatest Hits.“One of the most fun live shows I’ve ever seen, and his music is great to practice my blues scales to.”
BRUSH WITH FAME?
“My favorite vocalist is reggae great Beres Hammond, and meeting him was one of the coolest encounters.”
“So many to pick from, but the worst I’ve seen lately was Internet Dating. Not even Katt Williams could save this film, even though I’m a big fan.”
MOST VISITED WEBSITES?
“ESPN.com, for sports news.”
“BBC.co.uk, for world news.”
“MySpace.com, for checking out San Diego bands.”
WHAT VIDEO GAME ARE YOU PLAYING?
“Although I used to love Halo, lightning struck my TV and Xbox during a storm and destroyed them a year ago, and I considered it a sign that I was wasting too much time on video games. Since then, I’ve only had the urge to buy a new system once or twice. I’m still resisting.”
ANY MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTIONS?
“Now that I’m in San Diego, I like reading the Reader and CityBeat, but other than that I go to the internet for news and pretty much everything else. I don’t currently have any magazine subscriptions.”
WHERE DO YOU HANG OUT?
“I like going to spots where I can see up-and-coming musicians, like Portugalia and Gallagher’s in O.B. and Longboard in P.B. To check out established musicians, I go to the Belly Up. I also like to catch the Devastators on Sundays at Longboard when I can.”
WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU COULD READ MINDS?
“Sometimes, ignorance is bliss. So I guess I would attempt to revert the process and instead hope that people will just say what’s on their mind instead.”
CARE TO RATE THE PRESIDENT’S FIRST YEAR ON THE JOB?
“So far, so good. I like the level of importance his administration has placed on transparency in policy making and the spending of public funds. I only hope he remains the same strong-willed idealist that we have seen thus far.”
SOMETHING ABOUT YOU FEW WOULD KNOW OR GUESS?
“People may not know that I’m a perfectionist and will work tirelessly on a project and still be unsatisfied. Most people wouldn’t think I’m so picky about details, because I’m generally laid back with friends and at parties. But when I’m alone on a project or a new song, I hide myself away for hours at a time. Or days.”