Lee DeWyze came through Milwaukee last night, July 24, and opening the Shank Hall show was Wisconsin’s own Nora Collins. Lee’s new CD entitled “Frames” is due to be released August 20, but you can pre-order your copy today. The former American Idol couldn’t be happier to release his upcoming CD on Vanguard Records. The first single off “Frames” is “Silver Lining” which is available now and can be downloaded at iTunes. Both Nora and Lee played inspired sets to a cozy and enthusiastic crowd. The brand new disc from Nora Collins, “Only The Beginning,” can be purchased through her website or at a concert this summer. You can check out Nora’s schedule for the rest of the week here and then go check out her upcoming schedule of shows.
Lee was gracious to give me an impromptu interview after the show, and it was apparent that he was beaming with pride over his newest batch of songs. I asked Lee to talk to me about his new disc, “Frames.” Lee told me, “It’s an album I’ve been working on for a year or so now. For me it’s been a labor of love. It just feels really good to finally get the music out there and expose people to what it is I’m really about and what it is I really love to do. It’s been a long time coming making this record, but with Vanguard and everybody they’ve made it very easy to make it possible. I couldn’t be happier to work with the people I’m working with.” I commented to Lee that it’s great to be able to create music that you love. He went on to say, “It’s very nice to finally be able to make the music that I’ve always wanted to make, and make the record I’ve always wanted to make and put it out there in a way that’s not pretentious.” Lee continued, “I made an album that I wanted to make and I’m just proud and happy to put it out there and let people hear what it’s really about, what I’m really about, and all that really matters to me is making sure that people hear my music and get the side of me that I don’t think they’ve necessarily gotten yet.”
I went on to talk to Lee about his touring musicians who were also in the studio with him. Lee told me, “Yea, these guys played on the record. It’s been a great experience playing with them on the road, having the transition from recording to playing together, you don’t get to do that very often. For me that’s a real special thing. I’m honored to be playing with Jordan Katz and Marco Meneghin, those are the guys I’m with right now, they make it sound amazing up there.”
Lee won American Idol in 2010, the 9th season of the show, in a showdown with contestant Crystal Bowersox. I briefly touched upon Lee’s time during Idol, commenting that obviously touring now is very different than during his Idol days. Lee commented, “The difference between touring now and touring with Idol, that was a great stepping stone, a good step in my career, but this is me playing the music I love and music I want to make, and doing what I want to do and the way I want to do it with the people I want to do it for, the fans really motivate me and make this all happen.”
I asked Lee about some of the songwriting that he’s doing right now for other musicians. DeWyze told me, “I wrote for Ronan Keating. I did a song for him and I worked with a girl Laura Marano. I’ve got a couple other session people I can’t really talk about, but it’s pretty cool now the stuff I’m able to do now and the doors I’ve opened up.” I asked Lee about a song he played at Shank Hall that he noted hasn’t yet been recorded, “Hollyridge.” Lee explained, “It’s a little song I like to play onstage for my wife. I wrote it about her and I. It’s a song that has a special place in my heart.”