Oxford’s own Lewis Watson started recording YouTube videos four years ago and is now signed to Warner records. Specifically to Oxford, Watson thinks “there’s a real good scene there that’s blossoming and I’m happy that I used it as well as YouTube”. Much like the old gigging circuit Watson honed his craft through his laptop. “Now [he’s] playing to real people”. The intimacy of Watson’s YouTube recording sessions, and the tenderness within his compositions, are being performed to the masses during the festival season, and his upcoming headline tour. “It’s not like reading my diary,” he claims though. “They don’t get specifics”.
Moving away from the solo acoustic act and to a four-piece band setting complete with a girl on keys which Watson has “always wanted”. “As soon as I picked up a guitar I always wanted a band behind me. You grab people with a band, bigger sound behind you.” This is just in time for a hectic festival season where Watson sees himself playing at Glastonbury, Bestival and V, amongst others.
“It’s absolutely crazy to be on the bill,” Watson explains, “we’re playing to grab people who are walking past” and, next to legends such as the Rolling Stones and Elton John “we’re going to have to play the most exciting show we can”.
When asked about whether he considers himself indie or mainstream, he admits, “in a perfect world I’d love a bit of both”. For Watson, an underground success and cult following “enhances the music. It’s a sense of discovery”.
Watson is incredibly appreciative of his fans, claiming it’s still weird to have his songs sung back at him. With a narrative of broken and new relationships having been displayed on It’s Got Four Sad Songs On It BTW, Watson’s songs are about things that “everyone can relate to”. He hopes to showcase a similar tale on his upcoming debut album, “there’s a lot to be said for people to have to listen to the whole record before understanding the record”. Despite his newfound success in the mainstream, Watson is keeping it real. When approached by a crazed fan who wanted a lock of his hair in Australia, he responded, “Chill out, I’m just a person”. Hopefully this sense of musical earnestness and humility will continue.