Canadian-born singer/songwriter Glenn Lewis' sensational debut for Epic, World Outside My Window, was like a breath of fresh air when it was issued on March 19, 2002, just two days before the first day of spring. The buzz had been building around Lewis due to the album's lead single, "Don't You Forget It," which has a strong Stevie Wonder influence. The singer freely lists Wonder, Donny Hathaway, and Gap Band-lead singer Charlie Wilson as some of his musical idols.
Born and raised in Toronto, Lewis' family musical roots are strong, as his father was the lead singer of Crack of Dawn and the catalyst for Lewis' love for Wonder's music, as he played the Motown artist's records around the house frequently. With both his parents being musicians, he'd accompany them to the recording studio. He didn't really start considering music as his calling until his teen years, when he began writing songs. As a lark, Lewis entered a talent show at his high school. He won the audience over by performing Wonder's "I Just Called to Say I Love You."
After graduating from high school, Lewis began recording demos with musician-friend Alex Greggs, while holding down day jobs at McDonald's or being a shoe salesman. After work, he would go to clubs to check out other performers. Eventually, he became a respected performer on the Toronto club scene. Lewis' demo efforts helped him get a deal to release his first single, "The Thing to Do," a 1998 Beat Factory/BMG single that earned a Juno Award for Best R&B Recording. His second single, "Bout Your Love," garnered a Juno nomination. Greggs later became a programmer for mega-producer Rodney Jerkins. Mark Byers of Philadelphia management firm Rock Star Entertainment heard about Lewis through the grapevine and helped him get a record deal with Epic. The singer was teamed with top talents Andre Harris and Vidal Davis, whose credits include Jill Scott, Michael Jackson, Bilal, and Musiq Soulchild. The duo co-wrote songs, played most of the instruments, and produced World Outside My Window.
As "Don't You Forget It" began climbing the charts, Lewis experienced an unexpected pleasure. After hearing the single, Stevie Wonder invited the young vocalist to his Los Angeles radio station. Finishing up an on-air interview, Lewis met the Motown legend, who told him he loved the song and began singing it right then and there. As the music video for "Don't You Forget" began airing on BET and other outlets, anticipation was high for Lewis, who was touring with Alicia Keys when the album was released. It received favorable reviews in Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, and other magazines. ~ Ed Hogan, Rovi