Lewis Watson Interview - 13/06/2013

Fri 14th June, 2013 @ 6:57pm by tanyelala

Lewis Watson Interview - 13/06/2013

Lewis Watson, a name you'll all know already. Though if you don't right now, for reasons which must only be that you've been living under a rock or living in the hills of Norway for the past year, you'll know the name soon enough. The 20 year old from Oxford has had a pretty crazy year. Since uploading videos to YouTube in 2009 after teaching himself how to play the guitar, Lewis has hit targets that the greatest musicians would have once dreamed of. With 3 chart topping EPs and a fourth 'Four More Songs' being released on July 1st, under his belt, it's no surprise that Lewis made it as Zane Lowe's 'hottest record in the world' with his new single Calling.

As I arrived outside the Scholar Bar in Leicester at 6:15pm on 13th June, I wasn't surprised to see a long queue of girls telling me 'We've been here an hour! Are you joining the queue?' as I told them I was here to interview Lewis (read on), suddenly £10 notes were wafted in my face along with pleading begs for me to 'sneak them in'. Being led backstage to the dressing rooms, Lewis welcomed myself and my sister with a hug before telling us that he recognised us from his previous tour (review here) and offering to make us a cup of tea (he's more of a 'Yorkshire tea kinda guy' opposed to my taste for 'Typhoo') - if that isn't signs of a young artist who truly values his listeners, I don't know what is!

Hello, it’s lovely to meet you! For any new listeners please can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your music?

Hello! I’m Lewis Watson and I’m an acoustic musician from Oxford.

How are you finding Leicester? Did you get to look around earlier?

We were in a lot of traffic when we came down from Manchester so we’ve only really just got here and did a sound-check so now we’re all just chilling out and thinking about food! So when we go out later we’ll have a look around.

That would explain the lack of Instagram (@levvis) photo!

Yes of course, I’ll try and do one later!

You’re currently half way through your massive 17 date UK tour, how’s it been so far?

It’s been great! We did a tour in March – as you know because you came! And we kinda hit the bigger cities and it went really well so you know I kind of had an idea to come to the smaller places and play smaller venues here. It was kinda tough because it’s exam time so some of the shows have been a bit scarce, but it’s been a lot of fun and we’ve played some really cool venues. And yeah it’s been a lot of fun!

Did you ever expect to be recognised in places such as IKEA – which I heard you being played in (Amazing!) and Starbucks in New York?!

*Support Frank Hamilton comes in* Frank you’re in my room! Sorry man! Amazing, like so overwhelming! I never knew that I’d be played in IKEA. And in New York like that’s on the other side of the world so yeah it’s amazing; I don’t think I’ll ever get used to that!

It’s pretty cool!

Thank you!

Your fourth EP Four More Songs is released on July 1st, how was this one to produce and is it different to the others?

It’s a bit more optimistic than my others! My others have been quite mellow and sad – which is cool because those songs kinda just wrote themselves. But it was produced in a similar way, I’ve stuck a potential album track on there – like a demo of an album track! So I’ve taken a risk, well not taken a risk, kind of just thought about giving that away and I’m excited to hear the feedback from it cus I really like the song. So it’s slightly more optimistic in looking towards the album.

Watch Lewis talk about Calling

You also made a video for Calling. How was that to make? You received a lot of comments containing the word ‘Skins!’ was that intentional?

Yeah! Not at all! I don’t know why really as I’ve never watched Skins! I don’t know why really, I think I kind of missed that boat. But my brother and my sister were big fans and a lot of my friends were but I guess I never got into it! Yeah but the video and the song are just about having a good time and I think that’s what the video depicts and when people started saying ‘Skins’ I was like ooh yeah but y’know at the time it wasn’t there!

It’s a good video!

Why thank you very much! It was a lot of fun to make!

2013 has been a big year for you, you’ve travelled a lot, opened up for people and had two tours. You also had your first live TV performance, how was that and was it the highlight of your adventure?

It was....wacky! It was quite tough. The performance side of it I’ve kind of learnt to control my nerves and just kind of do a performance regardless of where I am and do it. But I got there and I was worried that being on live TV would affect the way I dealt with it but the hardest thing was the waiting. I was standing there for an hour I think just listening to the presenters live on air talk to guests and in the breaks they were like ‘you can sound check!’ so I’d do like a minute of the song then they’d be like ‘stop! We’re back live!’ So if I could have gone straight on, done the performance and then gone off I’d have felt fine, but the waiting was hell!

The anticipation! And your year is just getting busier; your diary must be so busy! And you’re going to Glastonbury!

I can’t believe how busy it is, I think like this year I’ve probably had under ten days off which like it means it’s going well – I get to sing for a living so I’m the happiest guy ever!

Watch Lewis talk about Glastonbury.

You have so many fans and a lot of them are teenage girls, which might be because of what you just said. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but I once read that you upload to Instagram and social media and videos on YouTube as often as you’d have liked somebody you were following and admired to do so?

Yeah yeah! That’s kinda right cus yeah I think about what I say and what I do as – like this is really hard to explain! But like if I was following an artist, the things that I do are like the kind of things I’d like that artist to do, you know with interacting with people and stuff! So I’ve taken that on and that happened! But like with the teenage girl thing, you know they’re great and I absolutely love them! I think it’s because they’re the ones using social media and like the early sort of users on it! But like there’s a lot of guys coming to my show now – I think the girls are just easier to spot cus they’re louder and can say the weirder things! I’ve signed a lot of guitars for guys and my audience now is definitely broadening which is really cool!

It’s expanded so much since I found your YouTube! Have you got any plans for after the summer? You mentioned an album earlier...have you got any information?

Thank you! Welllll after the summer hopefully I’ll be back to Australia but I don’t know, I’ll be writing a lot which will be awesome because I haven’t had much time to do that this year. And recording for the album which will probably be early next year, January or February!

Watch Lewis talk about the album.


After the interview, it was gig time. With high expectations from the March tour, I knew I wasn't going to be let down and let's just say, it was a night to remember. Lewis' first open up was Shannon Saunders who kicked off the evening with her beautiful instruments, voice, sound and being honest here, appearance. Getting the entire crowd involved saying 'Whichever town sings the best will have the video of it posted onto my YouTube!' Leicester exploded in the small venue, determined to keep our pride and win this competition! Then came Frank Hamilton, the 27 year old who during 2012 released a song a week onto his YouTube channel, which must have made choosing a set list incredibly difficult! Despite this, the room was in total awe of Hamilton from the second he stood on the stage, we were stunned into silence holding onto every word of his quirky, totally unique lyrics accompanied by upbeat acoustics. As the whole crowd joined in on the chorus' upon his requests, the room all joined together and got into the rhythm of shouting 'UP YOURS' during Tiny Chemicals it became clear to me that the crowd, which was filled of people of all ages, could relate to Frank's speech 'Sing this if you've been hurt by somebody that you definitely won't be running back to!' After this, we were provided the option of what cover we would like Teenage Dirtbag (Wheatus) or Please, Please, Please (The Smiths) which may have been one of my hardest decisions to make in life, Leicester decided on Teenage Dirtbag.

Then came Lewis Watson, the sound of screams and 'LEWISSSSSS!' definitely confirmed this. Opening with his upbeat Once Before the crowd responded, silenced for a second as though Lewis had cast a spell with his talents and even just his presence, before joining in. Followed by Even If which proves that his music, as 'sad' as the EP titles suggests, aren't sad at all melancholy. Windows came after, a song from Watson's first EP It's Got Four Sad Songs On BTW which is his 'baby' he smiled upon realising that his lyrics were being sung back to him, and it's no surprise there. They're beautiful and transfer excellently live, in small venues where the fans hold a shared understanding, there's certainly a personal feel to the gig which was carried throughout the hour set. Showing the evolution in his voice and sound, Little Darling was next, from the Wild EP it's evident that Lewis has changed his style over the years and every song seems to tell a story, which he often tells the audience during the small breaks in between songs. That's if fans aren't screaming their affections of course, which are modestly laughed off by the songwriter. It was great to see massive grins break out in between the crowds as the chiming from his new single Calling blasts out and everybody began to dance. Bones was next, captivating the audience into quietness until the chorus 'we can jump in the ocean and sink like stones, but that's okay with me baby cus I'll be next to your bones.' which is enough to send shivers down even the toughest of man's spine and the Scholar echoed with the lyrics. For a new cover Made Up Love Song #43 Lewis entered the crowd, a circle flocked around him desperate to see as the song nearly reached an end, his voice became much quieter and hushed before an incredible end line. Back on stage, where Watson was born to be, his set ended with the third song that he ever wrote #3 a crowd pleaser every time, the roughness of Sink or Swim and the popular Into The Wild. A brilliant night for all.

Filmed by - Yasemin Gumushan

Words and interview - Tanyel Gumushan


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