Last Sunday, I headed to Sound Control in Manchester to watch Lewis Watson perform. The 24 year old from Oxford started posting songs online at the age of 16, and his style of acoustic pop, taking influence from artists such as Deathcab for Cutie, Bon Iver and Coldplay (who he has since supported as well as Kodaline and Lianne le Havas) was instantly popular. His 2012 debut EP It’s Got Four Sad Songs On It BTW went straight to the top of the iTunes chart, and after being signed to Warner Bros four more EPs followed, as well as his first LP The Morning in 2014.
His second album Midnight, produced by Anthony West, was released on independent label Cooking Vinyl on March 24th this year, and took just two weeks to record with a live band. It has been described by the Sunday Times Culture magazine as, ‘Richly textured [mixing] grandeur with grit… magnificent’ and singles Forever and Deep the Water taken from it have been championed by BBC Radio 1.
The gig opened with Sink or Swim, and continued into new material from Midnight – Little Light, LA Song, Give Me Life and Where the Water Meets the Mountains as well as the aforementioned tracks. He also did oldies Secrets, Castles and Count the Stars before ending with my personal favourite Stay.
On stage Watson seems very coy and modest, but his talent is undeniable. He performed a number of tunes without the aid of his backing band (Halo was a particular treat); the stripped back element really showcasing his voice. He has a lot of similarities to Ed Sheeran in terms of his vocal range and song compositions which stand him in good stead if his success is anything to go by.
Following previous festival appearances at Glastonbury, T in the Park, Bestival and V Fest, Lewis has already made it across the pond to take a slot at SXSW earlier this year, and will be at Live at Leeds on April 29th.
Words by Sophia Miles