lee DeWyze’s new al­bum

Amer­i­canIdol win­ner Lee DeWyze stamps his cre­ative mark on his new al­bum.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FRONT PAGE - By NIKI CHEONG niki@thes­tar.com.my

FANS of pop­u­lar re­al­ity TV shows like Amer­i­can Idol would know how im­por­tant it is for the con­tes­tants to leave their own mark when per­form­ing cover ver­sions of songs week af­ter week on the sing­ing com­pe­ti­tion. Judges’ com­ments such as “It sounded like bad karaoke” or “You made it your own” could make or break their jour­ney in the com­pe­ti­tion.

Week af­ter week, the more promis­ing con­tes­tants come out with their own unique ver­sions of pop­u­lar hits. Among those that come to mind are Clay Aiken’s ren­di­tion of Bridge Over Trou­bled Wa­ter (in sea­son two of the show), Adam Lam­bert’s Mad World (sea­son eight), Fan­ta­sia’s Sum­mer­time (sea­son three), Blake Lewis’ You Give Love A Bad Name (sea­son six) and David Cook’s Bil­lie Jean (sea­son seven). Then this sea­son, which ended a lit­tle less than six months ago, there was Leonard Co­hen’s clas­sic Hal­lelu­jah sung by Lee DeWyze.

About his new al­bum Live It Up – his first since he was crowned Amer­i­can Idol – Dewyze said he kept the fo­cus on his own cre­ativ­ity while mak­ing the al­bum. “It’s nice to make my own kind of mu­sic,” he said in a phone in­ter­view from Los An­ge­les. “Some­times, when you get into the in­dus­try, it is easy to get lost and put out a song that isn’t you.”

If num­bers are any­thing to go by, then Live It Up is mostly DeWyze. He said that af­ter Idol, he wanted to pro­duce the kind of al­bum peo­ple were ex­pect­ing – fun, with some­thing for ev­ery­one and where “ev­ery song doesn’t sound the same”.

On the al­bum, DeWyze col­lab­o­rates with the likes of Toby Gad (who has worked with Ali­cia Keys and Fergie), John Shanks (Bon Jovi, Sh­eryl Crow) and David Hodges (Kelly Clark­son, Weezer), among oth­ers.

The 24-year-old rocker is also proud of hav­ing co-writ­ten 10 of the al­bum’s 11 tracks. DeWyze men­tioned singer-song­writer in­flu­ences like Cat Stevens, Dave Matthews, Ray LaMontagne and Kris Kristof­fer­son. Now he gets his chance to shine on his up­com­ing al­bum.

“To see my name listed in the cred­its was re­ally im­por­tant to me be­cause I’m a song­writer,” DeWyze had shared in a me­dia re­lease. “I also loved work­ing with such tal­ented writ­ers. They all brought so much to the ta­ble and re­ally helped me flesh out my ideas.”

To date, the world has only had a taste of the al­bum through the one sin­gle re­leased – Sweet Serendip­ity. The sin­gle re­ceived a warm re­sponse from crit­ics, but did not de­but on the Bill­board Hot 100 charts. Still, many peo­ple are ex­pect­ing the song to slowly make its way up the charts; af­ter all, the al­bum is yet to be re­leased. Live It Up will be re­leased in the United States and other parts of the world, in­clud­ing Malaysia, on Nov 16.

DeWyze com­mented that he has been busy do­ing tele­vi­sion, ra­dio and print in­ter­views to pro­mote the al­bum and his up­com­ing US tour next year.

“I’m feel­ing anx­ious and ex­cited at the same time,” he said, days be­fore the al­bum’s re­lease.

Live It Up is ac­tu­ally DeWyze’s third al­bum. His two ear­lier al­bums – I’m Told in 2007 and Slum­ber­land ear­lier this year – were recorded with Chicago in­de­pen­dent record la­bel WuLi Records as part of The Lee DeWyze Band. It was his fel­low band mem­bers who urged him to au­di­tion for Amer­i­can Idol.

DeWyze has a new band he’s work­ing with, for his tour next year, but he does not dis­count col­lab­o­rat­ing with his for­mer band mem­bers again.

He hopes to one day come over to Asia to meet his fans. “It would be cool to reach out to other parts of the world,” he said. How­ever, there are no con­crete plans for this yet.

In the mean time, DeWyze said that he wants to keep mak­ing “mu­sic that I love and that other peo­ple will love” and that he hopes “to be do­ing mu­sic for a long time”. n Lee DeWyze’s LiveItUp will be re­leased by Sony Mu­sic on Nov 16.

Mu­sic man: Lee Dewyze is thrilled to be mak­ing mu­sic his way. For his new al­bum LiveItUp, he co-wrote 10 out of the 11 tracks.

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