Call Redialed: NEW Payson Lewis Interview: "Bad Influence" + "Can't Go Back"
In the four months since I've interviewed singer/songwriter Payson Lewis, a lot has been happening for him! He has just released two more singles in a matter of weeks and is working on a six-song EP to released later this year, with a full length album hopefully coming in 2019!
It was great to catch up with Payson to dive deeper into his recording process while getting to the heart of his songs "Bad Influence" and "Can't Go Back." Both are available on Soundcloud!
1. You have so much going on in the short amount of time since we last spoke. Your single, "Bad Influence," was just released two weeks ago and now your new single, "Can't Go Back," just dropped on June 22. With all these singles dropping, when can we expect a full length album? Well, you’re gonna have to wait a little while for a full-length. But I will be releasing the six-song EP that these singles are from in a few months. So by the end of the year you will have a solid six song block of music to listen to! I’m hoping by the end of next year I’ll have the full length ready for you!
2. What do you like about the process of having a single release here and there as opposed to a full length album with everything coming out at one time? I think the good thing is that you get to focus on each song and let each song stand on it’s own merit. I’m incredibly proud of each song on this record and while they all share a common thread as far as their sound, they all have something distinctly different as well. I like getting to lean into the differences as I release them one by one. It’s a fun way to show all my different sides.
3. Let's chat "Bad Influence" first. "Bad Influence" is about a relationship that is not working out and the guy is trying to figure out if he needs the girl or if he's just in it because he's dependent. When have you been in a situation that wasn't working, but you stayed longer than you know you should have? I mean, I think we have all been in a relationship with something that made us feel like we stayed a little too long in hindsight. But honestly, this song is less about a person for me and more about my relationship with my vices. I have an addictive personality and could sometimes take my vices to an extreme. Often times, I’d wake up the next day with some regret about taking it so far the night before, but ultimately, it wouldn’t stop me from getting back up and doing it again the next time. So as far as the dependency is concerned in the song, it is much more specifically a chemical dependency. I’ve since gotten significantly better at managing my vices and think I’m in a pretty good place with them now. But, yeah, there were many times that I was longing for those vices to put their “bad influence” on me.
4. What have been some of your bad influences that you've removed from your life? Yeah this goes along with the last question pretty well. Admittedly, I’m pretty bad at “removal.” However, I have gotten a lot better at moderation. I think the one I struggled most with was drinking. There was definitely a time that I would drink to excess with a little too much frequency. But my motto now is “everything in moderation…including moderation.” So I still give myself a few passes for a wild time, but I’ve definitely reigned myself in significantly.
5. Now, let's chat "Can't Go Back." I read on musicismyradar that "Can't Go Back" is written from the standpoint of your feelings about the current state of the union. In the song you wonder if people would have voted differently in hindsight of knowing what we know now? It's definitely an interesting question you pose and I have to think people would have voted for Hillary and we would be in a much better place had she won. How long after the election did you write this song? Oh I couldn’t agree more. For so many reasons. Only as masochist could enjoy turning on the news these days. But, yes, that’s exactly what the song is about. I wrote this song on January 19, 2016. It was literally the day before the inauguration. So the song was written about the angst and apprehension of what might be coming. And honestly, a year and a half later, it’s even worse than I could have imagined. I’m appalled by this administration and the people that still support it. I think the thing that I’m most disappointed about in regards to this song and it’s meaning, is that I don’t think a lot of the people who voted for Trump have changed their view. It’s sad to me, because it is so obviously horrible, and yet almost half of our country stands behind it. It’s honestly terrifying to me.
6. Other than the election, what is something else you feel you "Can't Go Back" to? Every choice in life can be looked back on in hindsight and second guessed. That’s what I think is the beauty of this song. So while it was written specifically about the 2016 election, it’s a universal feeling. The desire to go back and do something differently. But I do think that it’s just a feeling. We can never act with the clarity of hindsight. So while I have many things in life that I wish I had a “do-over” on, I know it’s unrealistic to actually live life in anything other than the present and just do the best I can. It’s all any of us can do. Mistakes and all, that’s life.
More on Payson:
Born in Philadelphia, PA, Payson Lewis got into music at a young age when he followed in his brother’s footsteps by joining the choir. He taught himself piano and decided to go to college as a Music Industry Major at the University of Southern California. Payson honed his craft as a singer when he joined the SoCal VoCals; USC’s award-winning a cappella group. After college, Payson Lewis landed a spot on NBC’s The Sing Off, which is recognized for launching the career of the multi-platinum and Grammy winning group, PENATONIX. This opened up acting opportunities for Payson as he appeared on episodes of How I Met Your Mother, Revenge, and The People vs. OJ Simpson. While acting is an impressive asset to Payson’s career, his first love and ultimate mission is music. Drawing on influences from his past and artists like Bruno Mars, Shawn Mendes and Walk The Moon, Payson Lewis is excited to make a name for himself in the music industry.