Lewis Watson

Lewis Watson, it’s fair to say, has put in his 10,000 hours. Now in his 30s, the singer-songwriter from small-town Oxfordshire received his first guitar at a young age. He pretty much hasn’t stopped playing – or writing – since.In 2012, in his late teens, Watson released his first EP, the pithily titled and exquisitely wrought ‘it’s got four sad songs on it btw’. Within a matter of days, he was fielding offers from multiple big record companies. Over the next 18 months he put out four more EP’s, and by the summer of 2014, his well-received debut album the morning was released.A heavy international touring schedule followed, as did some soul-searching and re-focusing: having had his fill of the major label system, for his second album Lewis pivoted back to his indie roots, releasing 2017’s midnight on indie label Cooking Vinyl. “The second album was my rebellious teenage stage: make an album without the input of anyone wearing a suit!” he smiles. “I wanted to release an album that was a snapshot of the music I was listening to at the time.”And it worked, catching a spark with his devoted fanbase. But this meant, he adds ruefully, “a pretty crazy time for me. I think I did at least 150 gigs in 2017. And honestly, towards the end of that year, I started to resent being on the road – which I hated! Touring is one of the best bits of this wonderful career I’ve stumbled into. But it got a bit heavy towards the end."So by the start of 2018, with those road-miles under his belt – not to mention some quarter of a billion cumulative streams of his songs – he was ready to refresh it all up again. Unable to write on the road, Watson had ideas brimming over and his third album firmly in his sights. “Each record I’ve made has been a very different process. The first album was made over two year period with eight or nine producers and their go-to guys on drums, strings and arrangements. The second one was done over two-and-a-half weeks with my band, a super-quick album in the way albums used to be made. I was very much in the control of the sonics, so that posed a different set of challenges.”For album #3, another change of tack: this time Watson, who studied music technology at Abingdon & Witney College, wanted to co-produce the album with his old collaborator Rich Wilkinson (HONNE, White Lies, Bombay Bicycle Club). He’d produced Watson’s very first session for Warner Music, in the famous Church studios in London’s Crouch End, so their history was deep and intuitive.That focus, dedication and unhurried pace are there in spades on a warm, enveloping, melodically rich, lyrically empathetic album that Lewis Watson has titled the love that you want. Explaining the title, he says: “A lot of people think I basically just write sad music. And I agree with that! Sad songs for me are much easier to write, as well as being much more important for me to write. When I sit down to listen to an album, I want it to wash over me, and I want to wallow. Ironically, I’m happiest when I’m sad listening to music, because I relate to that."Lewis Watson is currently working on his fourth studio album for his new label home Nettwerk Music Group.