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Music Blog: Lewis Watson Interview

The first weekend of May saw myself and Helen Kelly reporting on the multi-venue Live at Leeds festival, which took place across the city over the bank holiday weekend. One of the artists that I caught up for a chat with was 20 year old Lewis Watson, an up and coming singer-songwriter. I asked him a few questions following his acoustic session for LSRfm

Hi Lewis, how did your session go here at LSRfm this morning, and what do you think to the station?
It’s cool thank you, a really great team, I like everybody here which is always important. I just sang a few songs, I hope they went well. 
Have you ever played in Leeds before?
This is my first time in the city, which is strange considering that my dad is a big Leeds supporter. We’re originally from up north, I was born in Preston, so kind of close.
And are you excited to play Live at Leeds? 
Yeah I really am, it’s a great bill and I’m very excited to be on it. Unfortunately I can’t stay, because I’ve got another show tomorrow in Cambridge. I really wanted to see The 1975, I really wanted to see Everything Everything, and Darwin Deez. It’s a shame, but next time.
You didn’t start playing guitar until you were 16, how did it all come about and what got you started?
Basically I just really needed a hobby, to be honest. I’ve grown up with music around me, but none of my family play an instrument or anything. I was already interested in music. I was really average at sports at school and so when that wasn’t compulsory anymore I just stopped doing it. So I really wanted to do something that would keep me occupied and that was fun,  so yeah, here we are.
It seemed to go alright! Were you self taught?
Yeah I was completely self taught, I just played songs that I enjoyed listening to. I still have a lot of improving to do and I’m nowhere near as good as I’d like to be, so I still have to teach myself. It’s quite frustrating,  but once you get past a certain point it just gets a lot easier and a lot more fun. 
You wrote your first EP about the breakdown of a relationship, were you a little bit worried about fulfilling the cliché of being a singer-songwriter who writes about love and relationships?
Yeah always, I try to be a bit smarter with my songwriting, by not revealing too much, to kind of try and avoid that cliché a bit. But they’re the songs that wrote themselves and I wasn’t going to stop writing them because I was afraid of what people thought so, yeah, I just wrote them and it went really well. I was very lucky.
Can you tell us a little bit about how you used your online presence to get discovered?
I think it was all about timing. I was super lucky to catch the boom of social media and how it really started to become the standard thing to use. I think that I was very lucky to catch that wave and I just made the most out of it, I tried to make the most out of it as possible. It actually was quite tough because I was in college all week, then I was working, all weekend, and doing gigs in between, and so I was kind of trying to keep an online presence, 24/7, which I didn’t really have the time to do. But it was a lot of fun, and it paid off.
So how did the deal with Warner come about?
It was after I released my first EP independently, it was really successful on the iTunes chart and I think it made people think “ooh, this guy’s just released an EP, and it’s done really well.” I met with a few record companies, but Warner was the one that got my attention, and I’m really glad that I chose them, I’ve got a great team around me. I’m very very lucky.
Tell us a little bit about the new EP that you’re releasing…
My second EP was released last October, and I’ve just released my third. I’ve kind of drip-fed a bit more production into it so we’ve got a full band on the first song, which is pretty cool and something I’ve always wanted. The other three songs are true to my other two EPs, they’re very stripped back and a guy and his guitar with a few textures. Then the fourth song is a cover of SBTRKT’s  ‘Hold On’. So yeah, I hope that people like it.
How’s all the touring going at the moment?
Well I finished one in march, a month long tour, then I went to Australia and supported Birdy for two weeks, including three nights at the Opera House. She’s fantastic and a really nice person too. I’m so grateful to her for bringing me from the UK to Australia. Then I support Benjamin Francis Leftwich late may, and my own tour is in June. This tour in June is like a carbon copy of my March one, but going to different places. So like instead of Cardiff, we’re going to Swansea. They’re are quite a few, not weird ones, but I’m going to Stockton for example, and Aberdeen and Liverpool – places which I didn’t go on the first tour, which I’m excited to do. 
There are quite a lot of male singer-songwriters around at the moment, who do you take influence from?
I think they’re all great and it’s amazing to be part of that genre with these people. I think one thing that I’ve loved watching unfold is the Ben Howard thing, purely because I’ve been a fan of his for quite a while actually. To see him play the same music he was playing years ago but getting it on the radio and having a very successful album with it, winning a Brit, etc. was a really cool story to spectate. If I can get to be half as successful as he is then I’ll be a very happy guy. 
You’re still only 20, do you worry that this is quite young to have so much success?
I hope not. I like to think that I’m a bit mature. When it comes to my humour I’m like a 14 year old, but when it comes to serious things I can have a perspective on things that is mature, and safe. I don’t rush into anything and again, I have a great team around me so I don’t think I’d be allowed to do anything ridiculous or let anything get to me. But I’m very grateful for where I am and I hope to keep that outlook on everything because I’m a very lucky guy and I think that people would kill to be in my position. So yeah, I’m very happy. I hope it’s not too much too young, but we’ll see. 
What are your plans for the future? Where do you see yourself in five years time for example?
Well, they’ll be an album, hopefully, early next year I think. Only pencilled in though, no dates. In five years time, if I’m still here and still enjoying it then I’ll be a very happy guy. I don’t wanna say touring the world because it might not work out that way! But yeah, just still doing music. I’d love to have a career in this, it’s amazing. It’s a hobby turned into something that I can make a career out of, which is amazing. 
You can listen to Lewis’s songs and find out more about the new EP and the tour at http://lewiswatsonmusic.com/
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