Blake Lewis is a one-of-a-kind performer who wowed us on “American Idol”. He has had an interesting journey since the show which is reflected in his music. He is performing at the Historic Everett Theatre this evening. Tickets might still be available at the venue. Get there early! Blake Lewis will be performing in Seattle at The Paramount Theatre on November 18th with Postmodern Jukebox! Get tickets here. Blake took a few minutes our of his schedule to speak with Equality365 about his upcoming local shows, music, life and “American Idol”.
Earle Dutton: Tell me a little bit about the show you are bringing to Everett this weekend.
Blake Lewis: I will be performing with my band, which consists of some amazing Seattle musicians and staples here in the community. We are bringing some funky rock, soul, pop and beatbox to the Historic Everett Theatre. We are really excited about it.
ED: Are you bringing a similar show to Seattle next month?
BL: Next month’s show will be with Postmodern Jukebox, a collective that I am in. Musically it is more 1930s and 40s jazz made by Scott Bradlee who is an amazing stride piano player. The group really took off on youtube. I am happy to be a part of the collective for the last couple of years. It is really fun and the talent is extreme. I believe that show is November 19th at The Paramount Theatre.
ED: How do you juggle all of these different types of and bands while keeping your sanity?
BL: (Laughter) I am a very eclectic connoisseur of music. My mom was a rocker and a Bluegrass singer when I was growing up. I grew up with harmonies and power vocals. When I started getting into music, I was into classical, jazz and hip-hop. Then I found beatbox. It has been a mish mosh of all kinds of vocals in my life. I love it all especially the power of the voice. I guess I keep my sanity by listening to just about everything.
ED: Do you feel that your music has evolved since competing on “American Idol”?
BL: Oh, astronomically. “American Idol” really showed me the politics between art and commerce. What can happen when you bite your tongue when you should be speaking up for your art. I love pop music, catchy tunes and anthems. It just has to come from an honest place, whether it is emoting through relationships I have been through, or just life lessons. This last album I made has songs about all of that. It has the adversity within, getting over depression, growing up with an alcoholic mother, and my best friend getting over heroine for the third time. They are definitely deeper and honest pop songs at the end of the day. I definitely feel that my music has evolved.
ED: You mentioned biting your tongue when you should speak up. Have you experienced the opposite?
BL: It is pretty interesting. I was really good at speaking up about me on “American Idol” but the aftermath of being signed to major labels was very different. I was told to keep my mouth shut and I thought these people are heads of the industry they know what is best for me. They really ended up doing me harm. It took a while to get back to that frame of mind where I could stand up for myself. I was so let down by people who should have been standing up for me.
ED: How do you feel about “American Idol” finishing and going off the air?
BL: Thank goodness! I think it should have been over about five years ago, to be honest. It was the biggest show in history. More people called in and voted than the presidential election. They just didn’t try anything new though. None of these shows really come at it from the contestant’s perspective. It makes me mad that they never really take the time on the people that actually have the talent. It is always about the judges and it is really annoying. I never watched the show before I was a contestant. I did watch for a couple seasons after but I have never seen my season of the show. They don’t allow it on Hulu or Netflix.
ED: Of your own music, what is your favorite song to perform live right now?
BL: Oh, wow. I love “Survivor” off my last album. I think it is my first song that really moves people to tears when I perform it. It is a song about my mom’s addiction and my best friend’s drug addiction. It means a lot to me. It took a long time to write. It is very satisfying to me on a personal level.
ED: How does when you perform such a personal song live to new crowds?
BL: I lose myself in my music so it feels great to share my music with a new audience. I love it when new fans get to experience what I put out there. I want people to enjoy my music. I want them to see that I love it and performing is fun for me. I want them to come on that journey with me.