Michelle Lewis 2006 Interview

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Interview originally published by Ocean View Press in 2006. Conducted by Rob Watts.

Rob- How are you today?

Michelle- Very well, thanks.

Rob- Can you introduce yourself to the reader?

Michelle- My name is Michelle Lewis, I’m a singer/songwriter from Boston.

Rob- Where did you grow up?

Michelle- I grew up in Milford, MA – your average little Massachusetts town.

Rob- When did you start getting into performing music?

Michelle- I was always interested in music. When I was in grade school I remember singing in the chorus and playing in the band, and that eventually turned into playing the guitar and leading a band of my own.

Rob- What was the first instrument that you picked up and played?

Michelle- When I was 7 years old I begged my parents to buy a piano so that I could start taking lessons. They did but my piano teacher said that she wouldn’t teach kids younger than 8, so I had to wait a few months and watch my mom
take lessons instead! Soon after I started playing the flute as well. Just before I got to high school I picked up my dad’s old acoustic guitar (which had been in the corner of our family room for years, untouched). I started
teaching myself how to play. Eventually I traded in my old flute to buy my first guitar.

Rob- When and where was the very first place you performed live?

Michelle- I think it must have been the Milford High School Talent Show 1997. I remember crying after my audition, not because I didn’t think I’d get in, but because I was so nervous to play in front of eight people!

Rob- How did that go? What was going through your mind prior to your performance?

Michelle- I do remember the show but I can’t really remember much else, I was only 15 at the time. I was probably thinking “Don’t mess up”.

Rob- Are you the only musician in your family, or did you come from a musical home?

Michelle- I am definitely the only musician! Actually rumor has it that my grandmother won a few yodeling contests in her day, unfortunately she never taught me how. I have an uncle who used to play guitar and sing at the coffeshops of UMass Amherst in the 70’s, that’s the only other person in my
family I can think of where I may have gotten it from.

Rob- What band or musician were you influenced by growing up?

Michelle- I loved to listen to my dad’s record collection – Simon and Garfunkel, Bob Dylan, Jim Croce, James Taylor, Melanie…Of course I’m a child of the 80’s so I love that generation of music, but sylistically I was more influenced
by musicians like The Cranberries, Jewel, Joni Mitchell, and Tori Amos.

Rob- Are you self taught or were you schooled in musicianship?

Michelle- A little of both in the beginning. After high school I went on to study at Berklee College of Music, and graduated in 2003.

Rob- Where is your favorite venue to perform live in the Boston area?

Michelle- It’s tough to say because each room is different and I like them for different reasons…I always have a good time at The Paradise.

Rob- How about outside of Massachusetts?

Michelle- Anywhere where people really appreciate the music. Usually it’s in small towns, or house concerts where it’s a little more intimate. Although the big shows can be just as much fun. I love playing in California, San Diego is a beautiful city, and the people in Grass Valley are very good to me. I
always have a blast going down to New York as well.

Rob- Talk about your album “This Time Around.” How long did it take you to record it?

Michelle- ForEVER! (smiles) It was more difficult than I thought it would be. I had experience in the studio but nothing could have prepared me for how much work it was. But I am often a perfectionist so in the end is was definitely work all the heartache and trouble. I am very happy with the way it came
out. I am lucky to have worked with some of the great musicians and engineers I have on the album.

Rob- Where was it recorded?

Michelle- Sherwood Forest in Bedford, MA.

Rob- Are you currently working on new songs/new album?

Michelle- I am working on some new songs but not ready for a new album just yet.
Rob- Do you have anything you’d like to promote while you have the chance?

Michelle- I have a really great show coming up on Saturday, July 15 at The Paradise Lounge in Boston. It’s part of a video release tour for Don McCloskey, presented by Hooray For Funn!. The extra “n” is for extra fun, and this
show will be, without a doubt.

Rob- What are your feelings on Boston’s music scene and culture?

Michelle- Boston is one of my favorite cities. There are a lot of great bands in Boston, but it’s kind of a tough scene in my opinion. There aren’t enough bands working together for the greater good of getting the music out to the people. And as many gracious fans as there are, more people need to realize
how important it is to support local and independent music. Go out to shows and buy CDs – we’re depending on it.

Rob- What advice would you give to young females looking to start performing music? What should they know right off the bat when starting out?

Michelle- Well, experience is everything, so there isn’t a lot I can say that they won’t just have to experience for themselves. There are a lot of females who only sing, so being able to play another instrument is a great advantage. It helps you write and direct a band better if you know how to
speak their language. I’d also say don’t be afraid to go out and get what you want, and have thick skin because there will be some “not so great” nights, but it helps to make the good ones even better. Be professional:
people will continue to downplay the importance of music if you don’t take it seriously, and it ruins it for the rest of us.

Rob- Last but not least…did you enjoy our interview?

Michelle- Absolutely!

Rob- Best of luck Michelle. You’re very cool, your music is great and I wish the best for you. See you at a show soon.

Michelle- Thanks, I’ll see you out there.

Photos Courtesy of Michelle Lewis

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