Fresh from releasing his debut EP and thrilling audiences at festivals around the world, Sydney singer-songwriter Dean Lewis has announced his first Australian headline tour.
The EP's lead single, 'Waves', recently achieved platinum status, earning the young artist a swag of critical praise.Tell us about your debut EP, 'Same Kind Of Different'?
[Dean] It's five songs of mine that I really love. It was hard to chose them because I've been so obsessed with writing new songs. I'm pretty ADD, so I'm always more interested in starting something new so I really had to focus in, chose the songs I wanted to record and finish them off.
It was released earlier in May. What has the live response been like so far?
It came out only a week before I went to the London to start recording the album, so I haven't really seen the live response. But it's been so crazy just with 'Waves' being on the radio and people singing it back to me. I was touring with Boo Seeka recently and it in the space of two weeks where no one was singing it back to me, everyone in the room was singing it back! It's been so amazing.Who or what first motivated you to become a singer-songwriter?
My dad played my brother and I this 'Oasis Live Manchester 2005' DVD and it just blew my mind. I was hooked ever since then. So I guess I started a little later. I loved the songs and how cool they were; true rock stars. It's funny 'cause I'm nothing at all like them. But I think fundamentally I try not to just write what I'm into and not over-think it like Noel [Gallagher]. So I took a lot of things away from them.How are you feeling about your first Australian headline tour?
I'm so excited. Doing supports can be brutal and that's basically all I've done so far. So I'm used to having line-checks and no soundchecks and just hoping it all works out. Having time to actually set-up and have everything sound great feels like a luxury.
It's also going to be weird going out and not having to try to win people over, which is essentially what you are as a support. Some people view you as an inconvenience between them seeing who they came to see, which I totally understand. It's going to be great to go in knowing people are there to see me and then to try my best to blow them away and give them what they want.What can audiences expect from these shows?
I've decided I'm going perform solo. I'm trying to hold off on getting a band for as long as I can. When I write and record the songs I like them to be as good and as big as they can. So full production. But when I play them live, I play it just me on either my guitar or piano and people can really feel the emotion of the song.
It's funny because I put out this acoustic version of 'Waves' and people seem to like it more than the original. I'll also be playing a bunch of new songs; songs for the album that I haven’t played yet. I can't wait.Do you have plans for a bigger national tour?
Yes, I hope to do a full, national tour in Australia by the end of the year.
You recently played The Great Escape Festival in Brighton (England). Apart from the rain, how did it go?
It was great and interesting at the same time. I've had such great responses with the crowds singing back 'Waves' in Australia and getting into it. Then playing in Brighton, I was kind of taken back a bit because it was kind of a good but very chilled response. No one knows me or my songs in England.
So I spent that night asking myself what I could do better tomorrow at the next show and I came to the realisation that I can never expect a crowd to respond in a massive way, I’ve always gotta give it my all and bring myself 100 per cent wherever I am. The next night I put 10,000 per cent into it and I think the crowd got into it a bit more. I think a lot of bands don’t like the feeling of 'starting again' when you go into a new territory and play your songs. Especially when your song is connecting and building a fan base back home, which is the case for me in Australia. But it's like starting all over again. It's been great for me.Speaking of festivals, it sounds like Groovin' The Moo was a particularly successful performance for you?
Groovin was a real moment for me. My manager and I got there at like 9am because I was the first artist playing on the bill. I was expecting to play to like 100 people when my manager got the call that Tash Sultana was really sick and had to cancel. They asked if I could take Amy Shark's spot, as Amy was moving to Tash's spot later in the day. My manager and I just said: “Yes, absolutely no problem” because it meant we had a chance to play to potentially a lot more people.
What I didn't realise was that I had to go out and tell the crowd of 3,000 people that “Amy Shark's not here; she's going to be playing a bit later, but hi, I'm Dean Lewis” and there was this audible disappointment. But I totally understood. If I came to see someone and someone else started playing I'd be like 'Who is this dude?'. But then I sang 'Waves' and there were 3,000 people singing it back. It was just crazy. Since then things have really gone to a new level festival wise.Having played festivals in Australia and overseas, do you have a preference?
Playing in Australia is definitely a preference for the moment because it feels like home and people know 'Waves'. I also know a few of the bands now, so it's good to have them around and supporting each other.What are your plans for the rest of the year?
I'm over here in London right now. There's a bunch of festivals coming up. And I just started recording the first album, which is very exciting. All the songs are done, so it's a mix of recording them and finishing up demos and bits and pieces I've already recorded. I can't wait.'Same Kind Of Different' EP is out now.
Dean Lewis Shows
Thu 27 Jul - Oxford Art Factory (Sydney)5-6 Aug - Howler (Melbourne)11-12 Aug - Black Bear Lodge (Brisbane)Sat 25 Nov - Spilt Milk Festival (Canberra)