Much like his ubiquitous singles “Weight” (which also appeared on the season finale of the CBS series “Elementary”) and 2014’s “Blackbird Song” from a pivotal scene in AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” DeWyze’s hauntingly beautiful song of love realized continues to showcase the artist at his absolute best. It’s also an indication of just how far the American Idol winner has come in perfecting his craft of writing emotional, hook-laden songs that resonate with people.
AXS recently spoke to Lee DeWyze about “The Breakdown”, touring and more in the exclusive new interview.
AXS: What can you tell me about the new single, "The Breakdown"?
Lee DeWyze: The idea behind "The Breakdown" is that at any point during a relationship (whether it be friends, lovers or whatever) you come to the realization that something is not what you thought it was. So you prepare yourself for the inevitable. We're all pretty intuitive when it comes to our hearts but sometimes we tend to deny what we know is true and there comes this moment when you just have to accept it and face it. That's really what's the song is about.
AXS: What's your song writing process like?
LD: It's always changing. The truth is, I feel like my writing is done in real time. It's the best way I can describe it. I get very excited about an idea and when I feel it, I'll attack it right then and there. For a song like “The Breakdown,” I was just sitting at home with my guitar and singing an idea or a thought. At some point, that idea translates into a guitar riff or a chord progression. It’s almost like opening a book in my head and then asking where is this thing going to go. I like to think that the songs are already there. I just have to find them. I like writing when I'm in that emotion because that’s when the most honest lyrics come. The process itself is always changing and you learn as your craft evolves.
AXS: How would you describe your sound?
LD: I’d say it starts with an element of folk because folk is all about the story-telling. It's really a combination of folk, indie rock Americana and at times, pop.
AXS: “The Breakdown” is part of a new project you’re working on. What can you tell me about it?
LD: We're in the middle of a record right now. A lot of the songs are done but there's a flow right now where whenever I think I might be done, there’s another song that comes along. It's a good problem to have. The album is cohesive and has a really nice flow to it. When I first heard “The Breakdown” after it was recorded it became apparent that this was the one I wanted to release first.
AXS: What can you tell me about your upcoming tour?
LD: We're going to be touring a lot in August and bouncing around to a bunch of different places playing some new music as well as music from my past records as well. There’s a specific show I’m excited about when we play in Mansfield, Ohio at Shawshank prison.
AXS: How did that show come about?
LD: We had been traveling through Ohio and had a day off and decided to go see the prison. After we got there and they gave us a tour, they let us play in their empty, 140-year-old chapel. It was beautiful and mind blowing. The natural sound, reverb and echo in the room is something you try to emulate when in the studio. It was amazing. So, I’m going to be performing at the prison inside the chapel. Just me and my guitar. It’s a different type of show and is going to be really special.
AXS: What excites you the most about “The Breakdown” and this next phase of your career?
LD: As an artist, you’re always trying to broaden your horizons and adding new tools to toolbox. For me, this song represents where I’m at now in my career. I'm really excited for people to hear it and to see where I’m going musically with songwriting. I like singing for people, telling stories and sharing my music. It's the reason I do this in the first place. There's also nothing like putting out new music. It's an awesome feeling and I can't wait to see what happens next.