Lewis Watson is a singer/songwriter from Oxfordshire whose music career started from his Youtube covers dating back to 2010. Since then, he’s released EPs and two full length Albums: The Morning and Midnight. I’ve been listening to Lewis Watson since his early days of covering Bon Iver and the like, and despite being from Oxford myself and remembering Lewis performing in various Oxford venues, I only had the chance to see him in Brighton in March 2017.
As soon as Lewis announced tour dates for his new album, Midnight, I bought tickets to see him at The Haunt in Brighton. He also had a date in Oxford but I was still in Brighton so I couldn’t see him perform in our hometown. Nonetheless, Lewis Watson was so lovely! He played a lot of my old favourites as well as new songs from Midnight. His unplugged version of Halo was breath-taking, even more so from front row. Brighton loved Lewis as much as Lewis seemed to love us – it was great to hear the crowd singing to some of his older songs, Into The Wild, Sink Or Swim, Bones, because it just reminded me that seeing him live had been a long time coming! Watching Lewis perform live was like watching one of my friends do what they love doing – there’s a real sense of intimacy in his performances. It’s very raw. It’s Lewis Watson – what you hear is what you get.
He is possibly one of the most underrated artists I know. His songs are so beautiful, both lyrically and musically – you can hear and see the emotions behind them during his performances. That’s what I love about him. His voice leaves me nostalgic about feelings I haven’t felt, places I’m yet to go, and people I’ve never met. Some of my favourite songs and lyrics of all time are by Lewis Watson:
I’d be more of a morning person if I got to wake up next to you – Nothing
Step out into the wild
There’s a beautiful storm in your eyes
We’re perfectly intertwined
and if it’s quite alright
you could be my way of life – Into The Wild
It’s a wonder you don’t know
How wonderful you are
So maybe I should show you now – Halo
Am I three words too late and is it goodbye to me and us
Whilst I love you and leave you, you just leave me to love – #3
So I’ll spend the night looking into your eyes
Because I want to remember them if I ever fall blind – Bones
Recently, Lewis started a project on Youtube called Throwback Track (#tbt) where, every Thursday he revisits some of his old songs and records a new version of them. I was so excited to hear that he was starting this new project for many reasons. Firstly, it’s always great to see him going back to where he started and seeing how far he’s come ever since – it’s just humbling to know that he still enjoys making the videos that started him off! I have a lot of attachment to a number of songs from The Morning, and it’s nice to see that he, and many others, do too. Some of these songs have been around since 2011 and they mean differently to me now than they did back then.
His #tbt video of It Could Be Better is what prompted me to write about him. Initially, I was so happy to see that he was recording one of my old favourites but he started the video by saying, “This one isn’t good… I really, really dislike this song for many reasons,” and I was a bit disheartened. After performing the song, he explained his love/hate relationship with it. The song talks about struggling with bottled-up emotions as a result of the inability to open up and speak about your feelings. Lewis picks apart some of his favourite lyrics, of which are also my favourite, most notably: If the rain keeps falling then you can’t see the tears in my eyes. As someone who also struggles to speak about their own feelings, this song is very important to me – it discusses what Lewis calls an “eruption”, after one has accumulated emotions that have been locked up and put away. Ultimately, Lewis has just fallen out of love with the song, which is a shame because this #tbt project has made me fall in love with many of his old stuff again!
Lewis Watson is touring right now and I can’t recommend him enough – his live performances are some of the best I’ve seen. He’s also just released an acoustic version of his latest album Midnight which is now available to stream on most digital platforms.