INTERVIEW: Payson Lewis

Hi Payson, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

I’ve been really good thanks for asking. Crazy to think we’re already at a new year. Where does the time go?

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Nothing To You”?

Yeah absolutely, I’d love to. What do you want to know?  I’m an open book.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

Well, I had been in a relationship where I found myself giving so much of myself up and compromising myself that I felt like I had nothing left to give. I was giving and giving, and she was just taking and taking.  I was fading away and eventually, even though, in many ways, I still cared about her…I needed to get out.  Ya know, before there was really just nothing of myself left.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

The video is coming out in early January.  I’m really excited about it.  It’s a stylized and serialized look at a relationship much like the one that inspired the song.  It has a vintage vibe and is starring Playboy cover model Jesi Le Rae who was amazing as the object of my decimation.  It’s a good one if I do say so myself.

What’s the story behind the title?

I mean, it’s really just about how while I still cared about her, I had to cut ties. I needed to be nothing to her to still have what little bit of myself I had left.  Hence, “I’d rather be nothing to you than half of me…”

How was the recording and writing process?

This was actually the first song I ever wrote with my now most prolific writing partner, Brooke Jenkins. We wrote this song on the day we met.  Within a few hours of us meeting actually.  It was a really cool and exciting start to what has become a really fulfilling creative partnership.  As for the recording, this song was produced by my long-time producer and collaborator, Ben Soldate.  He and I sculpted the sonic scope of this song using the tension of this tight tabla drum beat to propel the song forward and always feel like it’s about to snap.  Then the last piece came together when Adam Tressler came in and laid down the main guitar pattern that I think really defines the song once we hit the chorus.  It was a really fun one to make and came together pretty organically.

What role does Philly play in your music?

I’m a Philly boy at heart. Born and raised there.  So there is a little, or a lot really, of Philly in everything I do.  My musical journey started there when I was a kid and, despite having lived in LA for a while now, Philly will always be my home and a place that I identify with.  There is a hard-working, honesty, and morality to that city which flows through me, and I try to apply that mentality to my music.  I know eventually, my music will bring me back there.  Back home.

What aspect of relationships did you get to explore on this record?

On “Nothing To You” and the rest of my upcoming EP, I really focused on the moment of dissolution and the immediate period after a relationship ends. This record is meant to serve as a reminder that life will go on and we’ll be ok even after the relationship ends.  Ending a relationship and picking up where it left off can be really scary.  So I tried to write a record that reminds the listener that “you got this.” Ya know?  It’s like, “you were good before this…and you’ll be good after it.”  That’s kind of the main vibe from this EP.

Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

That’s it really.  I always just try to write songs that are honest and people can relate to.  So it’s usually from my own personal experience, or the experiences of the people around me.  One of these days though, I feel like I need to write an absurdist song.  Or something a little “out there.”  When I do, we can chat about it for sure.

Any plans to hit the road?

Only in the theoretical way at the moment. It’s one of my goals to get out on the road in the next year or so, but there are still a lot of things I have to take care of and get set up here in LA before I venture out into the big wide world.

What else is happening next in Payson Lewis’ world?

Well, like I said, the music video for “Nothing To You” will be out in early January, followed by a few shows in LA. After that, I’ll be simultaneously releasing the EP I recorded last year and working back in the studio on another big collection of songs.  So there should be a constant flow of music and the like coming from me in 2020 and beyond.  I’m really stoked about it all.  It’s gonna be really fun.

Listen to the track here:

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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