Lewis Watson Album Premiere: Stream 'The Morning' In Full

Lewis Watson
Warner Bros. UK

The British artist discusses his first full-length and raising his profile in America.

Lewis Watson says that having a full album ready to come out is "quite a weird feeling, to be honest." The British pop singer drops "The Morning" on July 8 after five previous EPs that yielded singles such as "Calling" and "Even If." But this time, he tells Billboard, he feels more like he's playing for keeps.

Listen to "The Morning" in full, exclusively on Billboard.com:

"I'm not saying we didn't care about [the EPs], but they were all demos or all monitor mixes," Watson explains. "I didn't really mind if they stayed out there, like that, forever. I made them lo-fi on purpose, so that when the record came out nobody who picked up EPs would feel like, 'I get it, and this is all it will ever be and that's fine.' I wanted them to feel like there was a reason to get (the album), so we've tried our best to make this one as good as possible."

Four of "The Morning's" 12 tracks have appeared on Watson's previous EPs, while the others are brand new. "I wanted it to be a snapshot of the best music that I'm making at the moment," says Watson, who estimates he considered 60-70 songs for the album. "I wanted to be able to go back to some of the old songs and reproduce them in a different way, but I mostly want people to hear the songs I'm writing now and hope they enjoy them."

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Watson was raised in Oxfordshire and began writing poetry at an early age, turning them into songs when he received a guitar for a 16th birthday present. He began posting his tunes on YouTube before releasing his first EP, "BTW," in 2012 and then landing a deal with Warner Bros. "I wish I was a bit more prolific, to be honest," notes Watson, who's built a following of 100,000 Facebook likes, 70,000 Twitter followers, more than five million YouTube views and five million Spotify streams, according to the label. "There's certainly no formula to it. I wish there were, but it doesn't work that way. Anybody can sit down and write a song -- it's just whether it's a good one that matters. Last year I had, like, 70 songs from a whole year of writing, but that's a long time. Hopefully I can pick up the pace and write a few more a bit quicker, maybe."

Touring is, of course, taking a bite into Watson's writing time. He'll be playing European festivals during the summer and a trek in the fall, with dates for a short North American swing already surfacing for October. "I love America, so any excuse I have to get over there is something I'll take with both hands," says Watson, whose stepmother's family is from Michigan. "But to think about 'cracking' America, to dwell on that too much could be a very negative thing. To be honest, I'm not a very ambitious person, which is a terrible outlook on life. But I'll be out there, and hopefully people will like (the music) enough for me to come back and do more."