Return to Lee DeWyze

On Stage: DeWyze looks to move past American Idol

Feb 19th, 2018 

By Denny DyroffEntertainment Editor, The Times

Lee DeWyze

Many musicians are reaping benefits from exposure of their music via television — in reality competitions or show placements in popular series.

Lee DeWyze had fared well with his experience in what used to be called “the small screen.”

The talented singer-songwriter built a legion of fans through his performances on the “American Idol” TV show. DeWyze was the overall winner in the ninth season of the show.

“I’ll always appreciate ‘America Idol’ but it’s not what I hang my hat on,” said DeWyze, during a phone interview last week from his home in Los Angeles.

Television also helped him gain exposure when his song “Blackbird Song” was used in the TV series “The Walking Dead.” “Blackbird Song” has over 12 Million YouTube views collectively, and 5.8 Million Spotify streams. The single has sold more than 100k copies and was considered one of the top 10 most influential syncs in 2014 from the Musicians Guild of America.

The versatile entertainer is currently touring in support of his brand-new album, “Paranoia,” which was released on this weekend via Shanachie Entertainment.

On February 19, DeWyze will bring his tour to the area for a show at the Sellersville Theater (24 West Temple Avenue, Sellersville, 215-257-5808, with Frank Viele as the opening act.

“The album is out on February 16 and this is just a short early tour for it,” said DeWyze. “A lot of the cities we’re playing, I’ll be playing the record for the first time. There will be a lot of songs that will feel very fresh and very new for my fans.

“I’ll probably be playing four or five out of the 10 album tracks at each show. I’m really looking forward to this tour. It’s going to be fun to play these new songs. Last month, we released the first single form the album – ‘The Breakdown’ – and it got 300K hits the first few days.”

DeWyze released his debut album “So I’m Told” in 2007 and followed with five more full-length albums through 2016.

“Paranoia” is DeWyze’s seventh studio album to date and first full-length set of new music since 2016’s Oil & Water. The single, “The Breakdown,” was selected for a key scene in Showtime’s top-rated show “Shameless,” which aired on the January 21, 2018 episode.

DeWyze successfully road tested many of the songs from “Paranoia.”

“I learn things about songs by playing them live,” said DeWyze. “Singing songs live brings a different energy. And, when I perform them live, I learn how the songs are supposed to be sung.

“I recorded ‘Paranoia’ here at my own studio in North Hollywood. I wrote all the songs and the melodies and played the music. I played all the instruments – including MIDI and drums.”

All of the albums tracks were produced and recorded by DeWyze along with his friend and engineer Nico Grossfeld.

“Nico is super-talented,” said DeWyze. “And, he really gets me. There’s no ego when we’re working together.

“It’s nice to have your own studio.  There’s no need for rushing. And, you learn where the right spots in the room are. It’s home away from home.”

DeWyze definitely did not do any rushing when he was making “Paranoia.”

“I spent a year-and-a-half making this album,” said DeWyze. “The whole record was a labor of love. A lot of writing and thought went into it.

“For example, with the song ‘Carry Us Through,’ I did it and then didn’t like it. I erased everything off the track except the vocal and started over. It’s the right song choice.

“A thing happened while I was making it. Everything was very ethereal and spacey and open – and super dark at the same time. That really shaped the other music. I feel really good about the song choices. I stepped outside the box.”

Video link for Lee DeWyze –