Dean Lewis describes himself as relentless. His feverish passion is a swirling storm, and his music is the storm's eye - a centered stillness in a surging spin.
He shares, “I like drawing scenes, like in the beginning of ‘Be Alright.’ It puts the listener in the scene. I think it’s really powerful if the chorus isn’t as specific.” In his most recent album, The Hardest Love, he is able to slow down a moment in time like decelerating wind. The opening lines of the album on “Small Disasters” are “Rest my head against the wall/ Waiting for a call that never came/ 'Cause time moves so slowly/ When you're still holding onto blame.”
The lines bring the listener into a moment of stillness within a surge of guilt, restlessness, and anticipation. Dean shares that he is trying to establish a sound in a world of millions of singer-songwriters as he says, “I think ‘Hurtless’ and ‘Be Alright’ are like spoken word verses with a big chorus which I’m leaning into more and more.” Most of his songs swell up to a booming chorus that resonates across space. He shares that he is currently playing with creating an atmosphere in his music through sound as one song he is working on includes the sound of pattering rain.
Among millions of raindrops, Dean knows how hard it is to be the strike of lightning at the ‘right moment’ in time. His song, “How Do I Say Goodbye” is that lightning in a bottle. The song, released in September of 2022 about his dad’s cancer prognosis, has reached a massive level of popularity with millions of streams, chart-topping acclaim, and poignant lyrics that have touched millions of listeners. While the track is deeply personal, grief and loss is universal; Dean walks the line between specificity and universality like a tightrope master.
Fortunately, his dad is in remission after receiving life-saving stem cell treatment, and now Dean feels comfortable talking about the depth of the song’s meaning. He shares that his favorite lyric he has ever written is in “How Do I Say Goodbye;” “So how do I say goodbye/ To someone who's been with me for my whole damn life?/ You gave me my name and the color of your eyes/ I see your face when I look at mine.” For almost every listener, those lyrics melt into the face of a loved one, molding the song into an infinite museum of portraits after its release.
For almost every listener, Dean's lyrics melt into the face of a loved one, molding the song into an infinite museum of portraits after its release.
DIRECTOR. Sean Loaney EDITOR. Sean Loaney PRODUCER. Mick Jones (Filthy Films) and Adeliz Calderon GAFFER. Jarett Jarvis GRIP. Mikale Youravich 1ST ASSISTANT CAMERA. Gabriel Colvin
Dean shares, “When I do a song, it’s really for me and when I release it, I hope it connects. I look on Youtube for ‘How Do I Say Goodbye,’ and every day someone comments their connection to it. It means something to these people. But, you do it for you when you create art. You’ve got to be selfish with it. When it becomes general, it becomes nothing.” This is a connective energy that he feels while performing on stage. When asked what song he most enjoys performing live, Dean picks “Scares Me,” and says, “I’m on the piano and it’s really connective. It feels like everything soars when I hit that chorus - like I’m flying.” Once art that is genuine and true is released, it ripples out and can’t be contained. It holds a potent power that can’t be replicated.
There is a lot of fear in Dean’s voice when he talks about the lack of control in a cyclonic industry. He says, “I’m almost terrified now because I got so lucky to have a moment with ‘How Do I Say Goodbye.” Now I’ve got to climb that mountain again. You can have a song that you think is your best song, but if it doesn’t catch a moment, does that mean it’s not great?” Dean holds onto words his friend told him, “Great art will always find a way.” Dean says, “There are three or four songs of mine that I think are great and they’ve always found a way. ‘Half a Man’ wasn’t even a single and then all of a sudden it blew up in Denmark and found a way. There’s always a way when you’re relentless and don’t stop.”
"When it becomes general it becomes nothing."
Dean later says, “If someone loves something and you don’t, they’ll always be better than you at it.” Dean knows that the more he is electrically charged with passion, the more likely he is to produce lightning-like music. And while he can’t control how his music lands once it is released into the atmosphere, with enough force, it will land somewhere and affect those in its radius. Dean is getting ready to touch down in an area hopefully near you soon as he is set to embark on his “The Future is Bright Tour” across Australia, Europe, and Canada beginning March 10, 2023 in Moore Park, Australia.
Listen to The Hardest Love Here
Watch “How Do I Say Goodbye” Here