Lewis Jackson’s YouTube channel is thriving and with uni life at a music academy in full swing he’s showing no signs of stopping as he talks of a future album, dream duets and…how many days there are in a weekend?
“I just love him with all my heart.”
In a dingy student kitchen in Guildford, I find myself perched amongst a mass of leftover plates, pots and pans. The Academy of Contemporary Music’s (ACM) protégé and YouTube singer Lewis Jackson is sat opposite, reaching across the table to present his phone to share with me his various Instagram posts of P Diddy. “He’s just a great family man,” he insists, leaning into his seat giving a nervous smile.
The 19-year-old from Watford – relaxed in a pair of grey joggers and an oversized blue jumper – makes it apparent that he probably won’t be leaving the house again today. “I don’t think I’ve turned down a house party,” he says, “but I hate going out clubbing.” He’s more likely to be found in his room practising for the next YouTube cover, whilst juggling his uni work of course. “I don’t think it’s hard, I only practice maybe two hours in a day, sometimes more. I don’t take music too seriously.”
With almost three years of YouTube experience under his belt and 13,000 views on his most popular video – a cover of Mika’s ‘Any Other World’ – the young singer is currently working on an album. “I’ll probably make it free, one of the songs in it has a bit of a problem, it’s a sample from the film Boyhood,” he says nervously. “It’s a really good film, I took like the whole scene.”
Delving deeper into his material, the laid-back aura fades into a more serious perfectionist persona. “I’d delete all of the originals from my YouTube if I could but then I feel like I’d be offending people because they liked the first one,” Lewis stresses. “But with covers, I just wait until the ideas come to me.”
Leaning back into the chair again he begins prodding at a questionable Chinese burger curry. Taking to the MacBook to search for his school’s performance of Oliver! – he grins as he turns the screen to show a young Lewis in full Fagin gear performing ‘Reviewing The Situation’. However, this was not his first step towards music whilst at school, “One of the teachers started a school of rock club, I was late and there was already a drummer so they asked if anyone could sing.”
From then on, Lewis grew inspired by front men John Bellion and Brandon Flowers – otherwise known to Lewis as an “absolute dreamboat”. However, the questioning of his more obvious vocal resemblance to Passenger could not go unmentioned. “I think people have said that before. I don’t listen to them though,” he says, followed by a confused look. “Is it them or is it him?” This leads to much googling followed by a comparison with solo singer The Weeknd – then a conversation as to how long a weekend actually is. We agreed on two-and-a-half days.
Despite being yet to do a YouTube duet, the ACM student is all for it. “A few people have asked about collaborating, I have said yes to one of them, it just doesn’t happen, I guess it’s just too much effort for some.” After about 10 minutes of intense deliberation, he decided on his perfect duet partner, “Jerry Williams, she’s from Portsmouth, she’s recently been on like the BBC introducing. She’s really good and she’s gonna fall in love with me.”
Well Jerry, Lewis is ready and waiting for your call to do a duet and subsequently spend the rest of your life with him– he even said he’d let you pick the song…what a gent.
Words by Megan Duce