Yorkshire Times
Voice of the North
Graham Clark
Features Writer
10:45 AM 18th July 2020

Interview With Rhys Lewis

Rhys Lewis has a new album just released, Things I Chose To Remember, the Oxford born singer now lives in London but as you will read, likes the Lake District. If you like James Morrison, Fleetwood Mac and the timeless songs of Carole King you might find you like what you hear when listening to this excellent new album

The new album is really good in my opinion, did it take a long time to write it?
Thank you for your good reactions to the album.
You have the whole of your life to the present to write your first album, some of the tracks on the album have been out before such as Be Your Man and No Right To alive You but they were mainly acoustic versions, the ones you hear now are more fuller versions.

I heard you spent some time recently in the Lake District, did you enjoy your time there ?
I had an amazing time when I was there, staying in Windermere, I have fallen in love with the area. My parents were teachers and they used to go on walking holidays up there. I went up to the Lakes on my own, I had just passed my driving test and had amazing weather when I was up there in March, everyday there was sunshine. A lot of people in the UK do not realise the scale of the area and how beautiful it is.

Did you do any walking when in the area?
I went to Glenridding to walk up Helvellyn, it’s worth the effort to climb up to the top. I could see right down to Lake Windermere and the other lakes too, there was even some snow on the tops when I got up there.

The Lockdown has changed a lot of your touring plans?
It is a real shame as I was meant to be going on tour with Lewis Capaldi in America, hopefully the shows will be rescheduled. I’m quite good friends with Lewis, I actually went to his first ever gigs in London. The new album is out globally so it would have been good to get over there and do the tour although I have toured there supporting Julia Michaels and enjoyed touring there as you do not realise the scale of the place and the diversity.

I can hear a lot of influences in your music such as Fleetwood Mac and Carole King, who were your influences?
You are right there with Fleetwood Mac and Carole King, I have actually just moved house and have been going through my record collection and both are in there but other influences too come from Bill Withers, LED Zeppelin and Jimmy Hendrix. I got into music by playing the guitar and later on got into Arctic Monkeys. If you listen to Alex Turner's lyrics they are so conversational a bit like the lyrics by Carole King. If you listen to a song like You’ve Got A Friend it is a track that sends out a universal message that we can all relate to.

Your album concludes with What Wild Things Were. It is one of my favourite tracks on the album, what is the song about?
It is about climate change and my worries and anxiety about it, I did a lot of reading to understand the scale of the problem. In 2050 I will be 57, I might have had children who would be growing up and I want them to have clean air, I do not want to ruin the future for them, the song is set in the future but not that far away.

You were due to play in Manchester at Gorilla on tour next May, the venue has had to close, are you worried about the survival of small venues?
It is a real tough time now for small venues as they are small businesses. It is hard to know what the solution is, the government can only do so much, we need these grass roots venues, if we lose those you lose the veins of the music industry. I am missing the live experience, being in lockdown you realise what a privilege it is to go to concerts, go out to a restaurant for a meal.

The string arrangements on the album give a lot of the songs an emotional slant, was that intentional?
The string arrangements were done by Aiden Glover who produced the album. I met Aiden when we were touring, he was the keyboard player. For the album we talked through it what we wanted. The album ends with the track you mentioned earlier, What Wild Things Were, it is quite an emotive song and quite cinematic in sound and a big end to the album.