Lee DeWyze isn’t the first person to hear the soon-to-be-disproven words, “your life is about to change forever” on a reality TV show, nor will he be the last. It is what it is, a short term boost of name recognition. You do your best to make the most of your time in the spotlight. For DeWyze, the afterglow meant business as usual. He toured clubs and released two records on an indie prior to his TV tenure. In 2013, he returned to indie with a fourth album, Frames, on Vanguard and is still touring to this day.
One Frames single, ‘Stay Away’, is a duet with Katie Stevens who subsequently went on to reinvent herself as a bonafide TV star on MTV’s hit series, Faking It (the first worthwhile thing to air on MTV since the demise of 120 Minutes).
For the next single, DeWyze reinvented himself as a director, co-helming the utterly charming video for ‘Fight’. This Being John Malkovich-worthy clip won the “Best Music Video” award at the LA INDIE Film Festival.
POPDOSE caught up with Lee on the eve of his concert in Seattle to talk about the video and life on the road…
POPDOSE: The video was wildly inventive — a fresh take on Blur’s classic clip for Coffee & TV. How did the idea come together?
LEE DEWYZE: Basically we wanted to make something (Andrew Golden, myself, and my manager Brett Radin) that was different and appealed to all audiences. The song is about hope, so we decided to go with these small little puppets created by “Leeasaur”, an artist out of Los Angeles. She nailed it, so Andrew and I got together and just blocked it out. After shooting, reshooting, and countless funny ideas… including an homage to Jurassic Park (our favorite movie), we finally finished. With Andrew’s amazing graphics work and me doing the puppeteering, it was magic!!
It seems like the Americana genre is the place to be these days with bands like Mumford & Sons, The Lone Bellow and Delta Spirit being commercially and artistically successful.
Well, yes it is nice to see singer/songwriters making waves in the industry. I’ve always been a fan of Americana, especially Paul Simon, the Everly Brothers and Cat Stevens. Growing up I was heavily influenced. Imitation is the first step for any starting musician, and as I became older, I became more musically creative and started writing my own music, and really found my sound.
If you could secure your dream duet, who would it be with?
Are you a road warrior — or do you still do kick back and do residencies in Chicago, LA or wherever you call home these days?
Definitely a mix of both. The road is a delicate thing. Walking the line between “grinding it out”, and enjoying it is a fine line. But I always love the opportunity to play. And being in front of so many amazing fans, it’s hard not to love. Being away from my wife, family and friends is a tough thing at times. But they are so supportive… she makes it easy for me to follow my passion. As I do for her. It’s a great thing.
DeWyze also has a new hit on his hands: the dark, bluesy single, ‘Blackbird Song’ (on iTunes and Amazon) from the soundtrack to AMC’s smash, The Walking Dead: