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