Attending a Dean Lewis concert is proof enough of his overwhelming success in a short amount of time. There is the packed venues, deafening screams from die-hard fans and a stellar performance that lends the Sydney local as a seasoned professional. After touring across America and the UK earlier this year, the 31-year-old returned to Australia to debut his first album to a series of sold out venues.
Thanks to hit singles ‘Waves’ and ‘Be Alright’, Lewis’ fame sky rocketed at an exponential rate, though he describes it as a “slow, natural progression” and just last year he was nominated for five ARIA Awards. Less than six months later and the musician’s debut album A Place We Knew has made Lewis a household name across the globe. In a matter of three years his small town gigs have eventuated into huge concerts.
“We did two Shepard Bush Empires in London which was playing to like 5,000 people which was amazing to do that in London. I played a small show in the bar next door, two years before that. So that was a real moment,” Lewis explained to ICON.
While the Dean Lewis fan base is incredibly strong, the music speaks for itself. Nowadays, the pop sphere is saturated but when it comes to the heart wrenching ballads and emotionally-fuelled hits of the Sydney-based musician, the sound is all his own. When it comes to writing, the process for award-winning artist is a natural process albeit a vulnerable one. Perhaps the most powerful song on his debut album is ‘Half A Man’, though according to Lewis, performing the raw lyrics isn’t always easy.
“The process is usually me sitting down on my bed with a shitty guitar and I’ll listen to an amazing song that inspires me or sometimes it’s just procrastinating, and I’ll pick up the guitar and hit record on my phone.”
“There’s a line in ‘Half A Man’ which is “How am I supposed to love you when I don’t love who I am?”, and I wrote that when I was sitting on the floor of my bathroom four years ago. I had my guitar and when I wrote that line I had the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I didn’t really think how as a guy it’s weird to sing that live, I feel a little awkward sometimes singing that but at the time I didn’t really think about it, I was like this feels really good so I recorded it and when I started playing it, I was like “Oh God, this is going to be interesting”.”
Nevertheless, his passionate voice and knack for storytelling through his lyrics is unprecedented, particularly in the short span of time he has had in the public eye. He got his initial start in the industry by writing material for others and it was this experience that pushed him to perform his own work. While Lewis explained to ICON that he didn’t have the same strong work ethic in the past, he also revealed, “this is the one time I’m not going to waste the opportunity.”
“It was a moment in my life where everything had to be really good … There is this perfectionism that I have even with performing that I didn’t really have when I was younger but definitely developed,” Lewis said. “I think it’s helped me because I say no to a lot of things in regard to certain songs people might think are the ones to release, that they think are a hit, but that’s not me. I don’t want to release that [song].”
Like many artists, there is always a strive for perfection and though Lewis on and off the stage is bright and confident, anxiety is something he has had to deal with. “Anxiety, it’s off the chain.” In a recent interview, the artist opened up about his struggles with what is quite prevalent across many people today, though in some aspects he believe it can be good. “It means that you care and you work really hard to make whatever you’re doing really good, but it just isn’t always a healthy way to live.”
With a short stint back in Australia and after visiting Asia last month, Lewis is heading on the road to take his music global – again. As summer makes its way across the Northern Hemisphere, the artist and his crew will be taking to Europe for a series of festivals and shows, then will head to America for another set of sold out concerts. Touring up until March next year, as for new music Lewis says he is always working on three or four ideas that always keeps him really “excited”. In the meantime, stay tuned.
For more information on his upcoming tours, visit here.