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News July 23, 2019

Dean Lewis joins exclusive Billions Club for Australian songwriters

Former Executive Editor
Dean Lewis joins exclusive Billions Club for Australian songwriters
Image: Singer-songwriter Dean Lewis (L) & APRA AMCOS chief executive Dean Ormston (R)

Dean Lewis has joined a new and illustrious club for streaming billionaires.

The Sydney singer-songwriter was honoured by APRA AMCOS at an event on Tuesday with a place on The 1,000,000,000 List.

Lewis told TMN he felt like “a billionaire of streams, not money” after accepting the award.

His chart-topping hit ‘Be Alright’ hit one billion streams in June.

“You go for that first million streams and then it just blends,” says Lewis. “You sort of lose perspective, and then you do shows and it all feels real.

“It’s been four years in the making. Early flights, radio visits, shows, meeting people. I’m aware of how lucky I am.

“If I knew how intense it would be to get here, and break through the gatekeepers, I would have struggled. I think naivety really helped me.”

Lewis credited record executive Cindy James, VP of streaming & playlisting strategy at Island Records in New York, as one of the masterminds behind the North American success of ‘Be Alright’.

“Cindy is an absolute genius, and an Aussie as well,” says Lewis.

“She’s done so much for ‘Be Alright’, and to get my songs off the ground. She knows the game inside out and the tactics to make things work.

“How she strategically worked ‘Be Alright’ to get on those playlists was incredible.”

The record spent five weeks at #1 on the ARIA Singles Chart and eight weeks at #1 on the TMN Hot 100 Airplay Chart.

Publishers Specific Music (Rob & Leonie Conley), Kobalt (Simon Moore), Island Records Australia (Michael Taylor & Nicole Richards) and APRA AMCOS (Dean Ormston & Milly Petriella) were also acknowledged by Lewis.

Watch ‘Be Alright’ by Dean Lewis:

According to Universal Music Australia managing director Michael Taylor, the record was mixed 29 times prior to its June 2018 release.

“The recording of ‘Be Alright’ was not really an easy process,” admitted Taylor.

“There was a lot of early 3am phone calls, because [Dean] was in America. He would want to talk about snare sounds and backing vocals.

“We recorded this song three separate times and we mixed it 29 times,” recalls Taylor, “which was not only a record for me, but was a record for [mix engineer] Spike Stent.”

Lewis has performed ‘Be Alright’ to television audiences in the millions, with appearances on The Ellen Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live and the US Today Show.

His debut album A Place We Knew landed at  #1 ARIA Albums Chart in March.

Lewis is in good company on The List.

He joins hitmaker Nat Dunn, who was the first songwriter to be inducted last month for her contribution to the Marshmello smash ‘FRIENDS’.

APRA AMCOS awards a coveted position on The List to members who have achieved “extraordinary success by accumulating over one billion streams globally” for an original song.

Streaming numbers from all the major digital services are counted.

APRA AMCOS tells TMN that the list will not be exclusive to Lewis and Dunn for long, with more Australian songwriters to be inducted in the coming months.

Watch Dean Lewis on ‘Be Alright’ lyrics & meaning:


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