INTERVIEW: Payson Lewis


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Payson Lewis


MY last piece until later...

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is an interview with Payson Lewis who has been talking with me about his new track, Better Run, and filming its rather interesting video. I ask him what is coming up and whether there will be more material afoot; which artists inspire him and when music struck.

I was keen to know about future gigs and some approaching talent to keep an ear out for; which albums mean the most to him and what advice he’d provide rising musicians – he picks a great cut to end things with. and what advice he’d provide rising musicians – he picks a great cut to end things with.


Hi, Payson. How are you? How has your week been?

Hey! I'm doing great - thank you so much for asking. And it's been an awesome week. I mean; we just had Thanksgiving, so I feel like I'm still stuffed from that and still buzzing from being able to spend a lot of time with family and friends. It's been a good week!

For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?

Umm, yeah, sure. My name is Payson Lewis. I'm an Indie-Pop artist. Originally from Philly, now permanently in L.A. I don't know. I never know what else to say about myself. I'm a Pisces; favorite color is blue; take my coffee black?

Better Run is your new video. Is there a story behind it?

Well. The story behind the song is about taking back control in an otherwise controlling relationship. So, when we were thinking about ways to portray that on screen for the video, we came up with this idea of being held hostage by these dominatrixes in a futuristic ‘neon prison’ and then breaking free and ultimately coming back to exact my revenge.

The video looks like it was interesting to shoot. What was that like?

Oh, man. This was one of the most fun video shoots I've ever been a part of. First of all, shooting with the dominatrixes was awesome. The actors portraying them in the video, Serena Koo and Janis Valdez, were so fun to work with; were totally game to leave their comfort zone a little and honestly really made me enjoy being ‘tortured’.

And then, as far as the filming in the desert...we used this unbelievably awesome picture car, a 1972 Scout II, which was probably the most fun thing I've ever driven. So, both days of filming were just a blast. And James, the director, is one of my best friends, so that made it all that much better.

Might we see more material next year?

Oh, yeah. So much. I don't want to give it all away...but expect new music, new videos; live stuff, maybe a tour. The whole compliment of tricks are coming out of the bag next year.

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Can you give me an idea of the artists, older and new, who inspire you and compel your own sound?

I mean, it's impossible to list them all. But, I grew up on Classic-Rock; Queen, The Beatles and Elton John. Now, I'm definitely listening to a more Pop-driven palette. Mostly Indie-Pop stuff but also some top-forty like Shawn Mendes or Troye Sivan. For a specific example, on my first E.P., a lot of the vocal production and background parts were really inspired by HAIM who I was pretty into around the time we were laying down the tracks.

Do you already have plans for 2019?

I definitely have plans. Like I said; lots of music and videos are on the way. I'm incredibly excited about 2019 actually. If we didn't have Christmas and New Year’s coming...I'd just like fast-forward and get it going!

Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?

I feel like this is an easy one - and I've heard it before from other artists, so I apologize if I come off cliché but the first time playing a show and hearing the crowd sing my music back to me; singing along to the hooks, knowing all the lyrics. Man, that was amazing! I will also say that hearing from fans all over the world who have been listening to my music is really cool too. I wasn't expecting that, so it's really just kind of eye opening about the global reach of music today.

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Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?

Wow. Most meaningful is hard. But, I can tell you the three that I most often go back to - so maybe that is what meaningful is. But, I can't quit listening to Lauryn Hill’s The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, Continuum by John Mayer or Prince by Prince. And a bonus fourth is Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black.

As Christmas is coming up; if you had to ask for one present what would it be?

Oh, gosh. I mean, there's not any material thing that I can't live without, so I have to go a bit more ‘generic’ I suppose (or ideological) and I would just ask my man Santa to make sure my family and friends were happy and healthy. I wouldn't be anywhere without them so I just want the best for them all. Oh, and I promised my dad a Rolls Royce if I ever get rich and famous. So maybe throw one of those in the back of the old sleigh.

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If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?

You are asking all these big questions - this is so hard. Actually, no, this is easy: Paul McCartney. And the rider would just say ‘thank you’.

What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

Again, it may sound cliché, but you just gotta be true to yourself. Be you. So much of the music I hear coming out these days sounds the same. It feels like people are chasing what's cool or what's happening. But, the ones that always cut through are the ones who are just themselves because by definition - that means they are unique.

Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?

Unfortunately, I don't have anything lined up for the rest of 2018. But 2019 is gonna be filled with lots of live music from me, so stay tuned and I'll let you know!


 IN THIS PHOTO: Carrie Manolakos

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

Definitely. How about I give you some variety; check out Bridesman, Joe Leone; Carrie Manolakos, James Byous or Meg DeLacy.


 IN THIS PHOTO: James Byous/PHOTO CREDIT: Dalen Muster

Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?

Going to an empty gym and shooting hoops is like church to me. I'm not a religious person, but there's just something about being alone in the gym and seeing that ball go through the hoop that makes me feel centered and in control. It's the best way for me to blow off steam and also to relax within myself.

Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).

First of all, thank you so much. This was so fun. But, if it's totally up to me; it's a bit moody but I can't get enough of this song by Lennon Stella, Like Everybody Else (Acoustic). It's haunting and just so timely for our day and age of constant and crippling comparison. If you need something slightly less depressing check out another one of her tunes, Bad. Basically, check her out


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