Lewis Watson. If you don’t recognise the name, you will do soon enough. Despite never having a guitar lesson, the 22-year-old singer/songwriter from Oxford has gathered over 73,000 Twitter followers and 80,000 subscribers on YouTube. He took some time out from his North America tour to chat to Wriggy.
Like many modern artists, Lewis Watson began his music career on video-sharing website YouTube. After receiving a guitar for his 16th birthday, Lewis uploaded videos of him playing and he quickly gathered a following, much to his surprise: “YouTube was very new at the time and I used it as a tool to teach myself guitar. I was just uploading videos so that I could look back a week later and see what I’d improved on. I never thought that anybody else would watch the videos.”
His success on YouTube led to the release of five EPs within two years on the Warner Music label, including “It’s Got Four Sad Songs on It BTW”, “The Wild” and “Some Songs with Some Friends”. These were closely followed by the launch of his debut album “The Morning” in July 2014. “There was a lot more pressure around the album, mostly self-inflicted,” Lewis explained. “I think that’s the main difference. Everything else was released as it was completed.” He added, “the album was what everything led up to and that brought a lot of pressure. I wanted it to be perfect.”
Lewis described the reaction to his album as “overwhelming”. He continued: “To have people listen to the album at all is amazing. I’ve seen tattoos of my lyrics, received letters saying that the album has inspired songs, artwork and even novels. I’m a very lucky guy.”
On the back of the album, Lewis embarked on a nationwide tour in September 2014, including an “insane” sold-out headline gig at Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London, which he described as one of the highlights of his career. He said, “playing 3 sold out nights at the Sydney Opera House on the Birdy tour is another highlight. I’d be a fool not to put supporting Coldplay in a tiny pub last Christmas on that list too.”
Lewis, whose inspiration comes from anybody that he has ever met and anything that he has ever experienced, offered some advice to budding musicians: “It’s really cliché, but just keep at it. The music industry is relentless and it really a very hard ‘job’, but the rewards are so high because of this. I have the best job in the world and it’s all because of the hard work that I’ve put in for 5 years. I’m a firm believer that all good music will rise to the top eventually. Keep it up and you’ll get there.”
Looking to the future, Lewis hopes to be able to play music for as long as possible. “I love what I do and I feel so fortunate to be able to do it. To be able to do this forever is my goal.” He added: “I almost have the second record written and I can’t wait to record that after this tour of North America!”
Lewis Watson is currently in the midst of an eight-date long tour of North America, which began in Los Angeles on Sunday, November 9th, 2014. The tour concludes in Toronto on Thursday, November 20th, 2014.