Rising singer-songwriter Sam Lewis had nothing to do with the press release where he is called a “Modern Day Townes Van Zandt.” But, he tells Billboard that he appreciates the term – and lays credit for it to one of Country Music’s biggest stars.
“That was a tweet from Chris Stapleton in 2013,” says Lewis, who has opened several shows for the singer over the years. “It was quite the tip of the hat coming from him, but also comparing me to one of the most prolific poets that I think this country has produced. Obviously, that’s a compliment, though it is a bit extreme. I can’t write like that, though I might deliver it in a similar kind of way. I think what Chris and other people are saying is that there is a lot of truth in the matter. It can be brash at times, but it’s honest and sincere.”
That forthright nature is very apparent in Lewis’ new video, “One and the Same,” which makes its premiere via Billboard today. Filmed in various locations in Music City, the clip shows a variety of cultures partaking in the simple things of life. The message of unity is one that he hopes will resonate with people who view it.
“It goes into the emotion of sharing,” he says. “We have to take better care of each other, and believe that we all have a microphone – and we all need to learn how to use it, but at the same time, we need to learn how to listen,” he says, admitting that it’s easier said than done, but something that is well worth the effort.
“I can usually go down a political path with whatever I am talking about, but I think it’s bigger than that. It’s personal. I think that we’re letting political-ness control us in a way that it shouldn’t. It’s altering our typical instincts, and they’re not looking good right now. My goal with the video is to make this look like Anywhere-ville, and be the cursor in which people find each other passing by all these places that you’re not really a part of, and you always wonder what is going on there.”
Lewis wrote and produced the track himself, and tells Billboard that the song is the first single from his upcoming third album, Loversity, set for release in early 2018. Of the title, he says it’s completely original. “It’s a word that I made up. The list definition of it is ‘Love without boundaries.”
Lewis tries to spread that love through his collaborative efforts with other artists, such as John Prine and Kacey Musgraves. What is it about partnering with other artists that brings out his best? He says, “I think that you are forced to share, which is really good. You’re forced to share, which is the first step. You have to immediately compromise and be considerate, which are really good things. Something good might come out of that which wouldn’t happen had you just been on your own. It pushes you in other areas that you probably wouldn’t [explore otherwise].”
When it comes to his own musical influences, “there’s too many to count, really,” he explains. “But, songwriting is the thing that drives me to do all of this – the song. There’s great songs in multiple genres. I did an exercise a few years ago where I would like R&B/funk stuff, but also classic-sounding country. Some of those songs are so universal. You can take the country songs and throw them back, or take a R&B song and put a 4/4 beat on to it. It’s really cool to see just how they can cross over. In any genre, I gravitate toward the songwriting.
“I think that the sonics and instrumentation should cater to how the singer is delivering,” he continues. It should be natural. You know when it’s good, because you believe it.”
Watch “One and the Same” below: