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Travel Profile: Lee DeWyze
By Christopher Remmers | Published on January 29, 2018
Singer-Songwriter and winner of the 9th season of American Idol, Lee DeWyze has announced he will release his brand new album, “Paranoia” on February, 16 via Shanachie Entertainment. Paranoia is DeWyze’s seventh-studio album to date and first full-length set of new music since his 2016 “Oil & Water”. Lead single, “The Breakdown,” embedded below, was also selected for a key scene in Showtimes #1 hit show Shameless’s episode “A Gallagher Pedicure,” which aired on January 21, 2018 episode. Be on the lookout for the album’s upcoming release.
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Chris Remmers: One of our main objectives is to get people to go out and explore this great big planet we call home. Everyone’s been influenced or affected in some way by the region of the world they grew up in. Where is home to you, and what makes it special?
Lee DeWyze: I’m from Chicago originally. I grew up in the suburbs and bounced around a lot. I’ve lived in Los Angeles for the past several years, and this is also a place I like to call home. So, now when people ask me this question, I have to stop and think to myself, “Do I say LA or Chicago?” Now, when I go to Chicago it feels more like I’m visiting than coming home, so it’s an interesting feeling. So, yeah it’s definitely been a journey, and I’m excited for what the future holds.
CR: When did you decide you wanted to pursue life as a singer/songwriter? Where there any artists that influenced you?
LD: Yes, absolutely! I think my dad has been the biggest influence on my career as far as what really got me into music. Then, I would say my musical influences were bands like Pink Floyd and Paul Simon. It was always just this random assortment of artists. As a kid music is “wheels on the bus” and preschool rhymes, but once you hit a certain age and start listening to real music it changes everything. I remember listening to John Denver, and that, for me, was like a bridge from listening to music as a child and listening to music as an adult. Once I got older I really got into Cat Stevens and Paul Simon. Those guys really influenced my career in a big way.
CR: That’s really cool to hear. Those are some classics. How did you first start off performing?
LD: I remember my first show was at a book store and they paid me with a coffee and a muffin. But, I loved every bit of it and was completely content with preforming for coffee and food. Then I remember my first big show was at the House of Blues in Chicago, and there was a few hundred people. I remember being up there. I was so nervous that I wasn’t sure what to say or anything in between songs and stuff.
In the beginning you’re really singing for yourself, you worry, “Do I sound good? Do I sound okay?” Then, as time goes on, you start to realize your singing for them. I remember my first big show I was so worried about what everyone thought. I eventually got to an age where I stopped caring so much about what everyone thought and just did what made me happy. Once I did that I was just able to be myself on stage. I just hit a nice level of comfortability.
CR: You have been doing quite a bit of traveling recently being on tour, and your album “Paranoia” is dropping February 16th. Talk to us a little bit about that. What were some of your inspirations along the way?
LD: Oh man. Well, with this new record I have coming out, at the time [writing it] I didn’t even really know I was writing a record until I was almost done. I just wanted to keep writing music, keep writing songs, and before I knew it I had about three or four songs that worked together. I just kind of stepped back and realized I had a record in the making. Normally, I go into a project and the mentality is I’m working on this record to be put out, but with this, things were just different. The record just started to form as I wrote songs, but for me, every song I wrote had a strong personal connection.
I think that is what is a little different from past records where I was just writing songs, but with this one, I feel like each song has its own story. Even with the way the tracks are laid out on the album, it just has this flowing story line. There are high points, low points, points that are sad, and then parts that are super uplifting. I like to think you can find a little bit of everything. I was working on one of my tracks “Let Go,” and I started playing my guitar rift over and over and over with my headphones in and microphone on. All of a sudden, the lyrics just came to me and I knew what it was about, everything just rolled. Then, I had a few other songs where I just had to strip everything down and just work on them until I felt like they were just right. This record really taught me to open up and step out of my box, it has really been an incredible experience.
CR: Transitioning more into a travel sense of things, when you are looking to get away from work and all the craziness, are you looking for a trip to the beach? A hike in the mountains? A new city to explore? Or, something different all together?
LD: I love traveling. I love going to new places. I love being in different parts of the world, but when push comes to shove I would say I want my next period of vacation time to be spent in Ireland. I’m very Irish. I love Celtic music. It’s also one of my many influences over the years in regard to my songs and writing. I’ve always been attracted to that culture. I want to just wake up one day in Ireland just jamming out with the local musicians and create some memorable experiences. That’s truly a dream of mine and that’s something that I really have been wanting to do for the longest time now. My wife and I’ve actually been talking about making a trip soon when we tour in the [United Kingdom], so fingers crossed that we’ll make it happen.
CR: A really beautiful destination. I’ve never been, but I seem to think everything’s on my list. Where are some of the places around the United States that have stood out to you along the way?
LD: There are so many inspirational places I’ve been to in the US like Portland and Seattle. I love Austin. I love New York City, because it’s one of those places I love to go to, but I also love to leave, if you know what I mean. If I’m playing shows in NY it wears on you from time-to-time, but if I’m there for leisure, I could stay forever. I love traveling to different places and seeing different cultures. It’s just something I hope I get to do forever. I absolutely love playing music for my fans and seeing their reactions. It’s just an incredible feeling knowing I had an impact on someone’s life in a positive manner. Even after coming off tour, to be able to think back to giving my fans inspiring songs and motivation for their own lives is definitely something that continues to drive me as an artist, and as a person in general. I can’t wait to get back out there in February and rock out with my fans.
CR: That must be absolutely incredible to wake up every day, do what you love, inspire other people and help bring some perspective to this one life we all get to live. Lastly, other than touring, when’s your next big trip and what’s it for?
LD: Honestly, after all this talk about Ireland, I’ve decided throughout this interview that it will definitely be Ireland. So, I think that is the next big one. My wife and I are definitely going to make this happen! I just want to live the experience of waking up in the hills of Ireland and walking down to a local, no-name pub, just showing up and rocking out with local musicians. So many places encourage people to come in and play. It’s truthfully the next place I would really like to visit with my wife, and hopefully, we’ll make lifelong memories while we’re there. I can’t wait, honestly.