‘Songwriting is selfish for me’: Dean Lewis in his own words
Dean Lewis has opened up about his songwriting process, saying unlike other artists – who claim to write for other people – his process is all about him and his feelings.
He noted that when he attempted to make his writing more inclusive, on the advice of others – and not make it about “I” and “me” – it fell flat.
“I noticed the ‘general’ thing, for me, it just never connected. I almost view it as being selfish. Songwriting is selfish for me. And I hear a lot of artists say ‘I do this for everyone else’. And maybe they do. But I always look at that from my perspective, like I guess anyone would, and go ‘Well, no way, I don’t do it for anyone’, because if I did, it would probably suck, because it would be for everyone else. It wouldn’t be personal to me. It wouldn’t sing with the same emotion… The lyrics would be different. I always go more personal, more personal, more specific,” he said, talking with Ella Hooper on a LiSTNR exclusive podcast, Front & Centre: Dean Lewis In His Own Words.
This ‘selfishness’, it seems, resonates with some people, helping songs such as ‘Be Alright’ connect with more fans, he said.
“People come up to me all the time and they relate to ‘Be Alright’. And I think the interesting thing is, for me, I can gauge a song’s successfulness by how quickly people tell me their stories, without me even asking them,” he said. “That’s a weird thing when someone just opens up to you about seeing a message on someone’s phone.
“Look, I think it’s my job as a songwriter to turn terrible things or good things or whatever, or, but usually, to be honest, with me, I try to like turn the negative into good. And I turned something that was real that happened to me, you know, and to see those messages, and so I turned that, and I turned that into something good, you know?”
Lewis also paid tribute to Nicole Richards, the general manager of Island Records Australia, on the podcast, noting she’s “very strategic and very smart” and knew how to help him crack the market, with the right songs in the right order.
In publicity about the podcast episode, Lewis added: “We had a great chat, really going back to where it all began, we spoke about life before, during and after success, the crazy life on the road, how it affected me and about the lessons learnt along the way.”
SCA owns the LiSTNR platform, and its head of music, Mickey Maher said: “Until now Australia (and the world) have got to know and connected with Dean through his music and lyrics, now they get to go deeper to discover who he is as a person, not just the hit writing successful musicians we love.”
You can listen to the podcast here.