ONLINE sensation Lewis Watson has been heavily tipped to become one of the stars of 2013. The Mail spoke to him ahead of his new UK tour about the buzz surrounding him right now and why he is fine about being compared to fellow guitar-wielding singer songwriters – just not Ed Sheeran.
TWENTY-YEAR-OLD musician Lewis Watson seems to need cheering up a bit.
His debut EP, which brought him to the music world’s attention, was called It’s Got Four Sad Songs On It BTW, while his follow-up EP late last year was simply called Another Four Sad Songs.
With Watson finding himself being tipped by all and sundry to be one of the ‘next big things’ in 2013 and his gospel spreading worldwide with success in the US and Australia, you would think he would have plenty to smile about.
“At that time those songs were just writing themselves and it felt more natural for those songs to come out rather than thinking I have to sit down and write a happy song,” Watson told the Mail.
“I would not say I am sad songwriter – I haven’t got a formula, things just happen when they happen.
“It was just at that time that songs were more melancholy and less dancey.”
Watson releases his third EP, The Wild, on March 26 and he said it will show a different side to him.
He said: “On the next EP I am trying to drip-feed a bit more production and I wanted to have a band around me, although a couple of the tracks are still stripped back and acoustic.
“There is also a cover of Hold On by SBTRKT.
“I saw them at Latitude Festival and just seeing thousands of people singing along to it was a real moment for me and when I hear it again it takes me back there so I wanted to do a version of it.”
Watson has seen himself tipped for the top by the likes of The Sun, The Independent and The Daily Mail and with a major record label behind him in Warner, his ascent seems inevitable.
He said he has started to feel the interest growing but admitted it had taken him by surprise.
“It was completely unexpected,” he said. “I haven’t really braced myself for what is going to happen.
“I just take every day as it comes and keep doing what I’m doing.
“There is definitely some pressure but I like to think I can thrive on it.
“I’ve seen the interest growing lately. Recently I’ve seen a lot of people tweeting that they have just found out about me or found my EP online.
“It’s a great feeling as it shows that those tip things are really working and that people do take note of them.”
Much of Watson’s rise to stardom can be put down, like so many similar young artists, to the power of the internet.
The Oxford lad can boast an online following of over 55,000 fans on Facebook and thousands more YouTube views and Twitter followers.
Watson admitted the internet was integral to his success so far.
“I think you have to be a fool not to use it,” he said.
“It makes everything so accessible and there is no other way to get your music out to so many people so quickly.”
Being a young, good looking, male singer-songwriter playing his heart out while strumming a guitar, Watson was bound to be compared to those of a similar ilk.
The likes of Ben Howard and Benjamin Francis Leftwich have often been mentioned, and Watson would agree.
However, Watson said constant comparisons to Ed Sheeran were just ‘lazy’.
He said: “Every comparison is a complement in its own right but the Ed Sheeran thing has been said since I started and I think it is quite lazy as I don’t think we sound alike at all.
“I take influence from him in terms of his work rate of doing a gig a day for four years or something like that which has spurred me on as it obviously paid off for him.
“From a musical point of view I take more influence from people like Benjamin Francis Leftwich, Bon Iver and Ben Howard, more so than Ed.”
With three EP’s in the bag the pressure is on to get an album out as soon as possible.
The Mail asked Watson if his debut record was on the horizon.
“I think so although I have to record it first,”he said.
“I love getting music out there and seeing the response and I love touring on the back of things and hearing first-hand what people have taken from the EP’s I have released.
“But I can’t just keep releasing EP’s forever. The EP’s have been collections of the best I have at that point and some of those will make it on to the album.
“It is very rough at the moment but I can’t wait to get it out.”
Watson begins a 10-date UK tour next week, taking in Birmingham and Nottingham on his way.
He said playing live was what it is all about for him.
He said: “I can’t wait. I love travelling around and going to new places and seeing those people who have paid money to see me.
“I have been going to gigs for a long time so I love being on the other side of that.
“It’s a lot of fun although I still get very nervous but I find that a positive thing.”
Watson performs at Birmingham HMV Institute on Monday and Nottingham Bodega Social Club on Tuesday. See the venues for tickets.