An Interview With The Singer-Songwriter LEE DEWYZE On His Newest Music, Writing A Song For The Walking Dead, Upcoming Tour And More!!
Posted On 15 Aug 2017
Singer-songwriter Lee DeWyze’s real breakout moment came when he wrote an original song for The Walking Dead. “Blackbird Song” has over 10Million YouTube views collectively, and 5M Spotify streams. The single has gone on to sell more than 100k copies and was considered one of the top 10 most influential syncs in 2014 from the Musicians Guild of America. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wbgb3lgMluA
Since the release of “Blackbird Song,” Lee has gone on to have more than 35 syncs and placements in TV shows such as Elementary, Suits, The Fosters, Nashville, Reign, Hart of Dixie, Bull, and many others. His song “Don’t Be Afraid” was the national campaign song for 2 years for Blue Cross Blue Shield, and ESPN used his song “The Ride” in several NASCAR commercials. His song “Fight” which was on the Hot AC Top 40 chart for 10 weeks straight was featured in the highly acclaimed independent movie, Sister. Lee also won an award from the LA Indie Film Festival for his video for the song “Fight”, which he wrote and directed himself. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-0z3xHzUJAQ
In 2016, Lee released his album “Oil and Water” which received high praise from both Billboard and Huffington Post, and was also considered a top 10 album of the year by PopDose Magazine.
Lee also released the single, “Weight” in Dec of 2016, which was featured in the season finale of CBS’ Elementary. Originally written for the feature “Collateral Beauty”, this song was a turning point in Lee’s writing career. http://thisisasides.com/lee-dewyzes-worth-weight-heated-jacket-required/
In June of 2017, Lee signed a publishing deal with SONGS publishing (home to Lorde, The Weeknd, Diplo). http://variety.com/2017/music/news/lee-dewyze-american-idol-walking-dead-publishing-deal-songs-1202476849/
His newest single “The Breakdown” was released on July 21st. When not in his studio writing, Lee is consistently touring the US, performing over 100 shows per year for the past 4 years. He has most recently opened for Lady Antebellum, and also performed at The Sundance Film Festival, The Grammy Foundation, MusiCares, and SXSW.
Connect With Lee DeWyze Here:
Twitter – https://twitter.com/LeeDeWyze
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/leedewyzeofficial/
Official Website: – http://leedewyzeofficial.com/
Learn more about Lee in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! How has 2017 been treating you? Musically, did you approach this year any differently then you did last year?
I would say that I approached this new music without any preconceived idea about what I wanted to write or record. I just wanted to really stretch my musical legs. 2017 has been great so far, looking forward to releasing more music and working on various different projects.
Where does this interview find you today? Is there music playing in the background? If so, what is it? What kind of music do you listen to when you are working? What music gets you instantly out of a bad mood?
I’m in Los Angeles. When I’m working I like to throw on whatever I’m feeling. Sometimes it’s a Paul Simon record, or Death Cab.. it jut depends on my mood I guess.
Growing up, have you always wanted to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory?
I have always wanted to be a musician. My earliest musical memory would be my dad Playing “Tea For The Tillerman” by Cat Stevens for me
If you weren’t a musician today, what else could you see yourself doing?
I think a fireman. I was always drawn to that line of work. Maybe something with animals. I love animals.
So how do you think your hometown has affected who you are as a musician and the art that you create?
Well I think everyone is influenced by their surroundings. I grew up in the Midwest, so you have your hot hot summers, and freezing cold winters. That lends itself to some great emotional writing.
What was the inspiration for your newest single “The Breakdown”? How do you think this song prepares listeners for the rest of your forthcoming album?
It’s really a song about opening your eyes. Whenever people go through a “breakup”, wherever it be with a significant other or whoever. Your body prepares emotionally and mentally. There’s no mention of He or She, it can really be from any perspective.
How do you think you have grown as an artist over the years? Do you think that what drives you to make music has changed at all?
I think all people and artists grow and evolve over time. As an artist I’m always challenging myself and trying new things. And no. I make music because I love to write and perform. That’s been the case some day one.
As a fan of The Walking Dead, I must ask you about your original song that you wrote for the show! How did “Blackbird Song” come together? Were you surprised at all by the huge positive reception to it?
It was actually unexpectedly simple. One night, I wrote a song inspired by the show in the sense of the vibe of the show and characters. I loved writing it actually. Went into the studio, we recorded it in about 4 hours. It was sent over to AMC and they loved it which was awesome as I’m a huge fan of the show. Being able to watch it at home with my wife Jonna was pretty awesome.
The response was great. I think that it really opened the door wide open to a wider audience and let people discover in a more organic way, and really allowed people to see I’m a songwriter first and foremost.
Do you still get excited when you hear one of your songs on a TV show or elsewhere? Can you remember the first time you heard one of your songs on TV?
I do. Writing music is my passion. When it lends itself to a wider audience, and can be coupled with visual media it’s a special thing. I think my writing lends itself to that as I’m always trying to write with an honest feeling. Ad then there’s writing for a specific project which is fun and challenging as I get to aim
My writing toward a specific thing.
What do you think is the biggest lesson you learned from being on American Idol Season 9 and ultimately winning? Are you still in touch today with any of the other contestants?
Well I was songwriter long before American Idol, but I was not used to public attention. I think it allowed me to open up more not just on stage, but generally. I do talk to a few people from the show. I’m always hoping the best for everyone’s career.
How do you think that being a musician has helped you live your best life? Can you talk about the joy that it brings you today?
Well for me, writing and performing is very therapeutic.So it helps in that sense I suppose a great deal. You could say it’s my form of meditation. I love what I do. Always have. At the end of the day if I can keep writing songs, I feel artistically fulfilled.
You have a busy tour coming up next month. Where are you most excited to play at? Have you performed at some of the venues before or will it be the first time for most of them? Can you talk about playing at the now defunct Ohio State Reformatory which is where Shawshank Redemption was filmed?!
I’m most excited to play at OSR Reformatory. It’s where they shot Shawshank redemption. We worked with them and August 27th, I’ll be performing my new music acoustically in a 140 year old chapel inside the Prison. It’s a very special show, and we can’t wait! I have performed at some and not others. I’m always excited about new venues, and of course seeing the fans.
Who are some of your very favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? What musicians would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
Cat Stevens taught me how to sing and write with passion. Simon and Garfunkle taught me how beautiful a great harmony can be, and the beauty in simplicity. Working with any of those artists would be a dream come true.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
The message of my music if honesty, and storytelling. If even one person can connect with a song or lyric, that’s the most fulfilling of all. I’m always evolving and always letting my imagination run away. I just want people to feel something. If they do, I’ve done my job.
What advice would you give to someone just getting started on this music path? Or even to someone
young that is thinking of becoming a musician one day?
It’s hard out there. It’s easy to give up. Don’t. Be the artist you want to be, and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Write. Write. Write. And write.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?
My new music is really a window into where I at musically in my career. I’m very excited for people to hear the new stuff, starting with “The Breakdown”. I hope people will be pleasantly surprised. I’m stoked to get out on the road and play the new material, and of course see my amazing fans. And make new ones. I’ll see you guys on the road!!!