YouTube Music Phenomena Lewis Watson On Retaining Privacy In A Social Media Music World

What it's really like being a musician in the internet age.


by Jess Commons |
Published on

The name might be new to you, but Lewis Watson is big news to a lot of people. The 21-year-old musician, who got his start on YouTube has, for better or for worse, garnered himself a an army of teenaged fans that includes a casual 80,000 subscribers on YouTube (for context, popstar of the moment Ella Eyre only has 53,000), who hanker after him in a way only someone like Ed Sheeran will probably understand.

We caught up with the Oxfordian to speak about what it’s like beginning a music career in the internet age.

You got your start when you uploaded some songs to YouTube – why do you think this worked for you?

I was really lucky with the whole YouTube stuff. I caught a really good time and it was quite early on. I really didn’t want anyone to listen to them. I almost took off all the videos because I was so scared of people saying mean things.

Yeah, 'cos you originally posted under a different name – what happened when your friends found out?

They were er, friends. They were a bit mean about it. It only took a few days and then suddenly everybody knew about it, which is another reason why I almost stopped. I did feel a bit vulnerable at school. It looks like you’re trying really hard and that’s uncool when you’re 16.

How beneficial has social media been to your career as a whole?

I think it’s a very good tool. We’re really lucky to have it. Now, you can completely forge a career from just a few years on the internet. That being said, I spent a lot of time doing actual gigs and performances because I didn’t want to be exclusively an internet thing. If you say, ‘Oh, he made it through the internet,’ that might not be the way in 20 years and I really want to stick around.

Is it weird being judged on your activity on social media as well as your music?

I really would have liked to experience being a real mystery and people only really knowing me because of my music, but I don’t think at the moment you can do that.

Is it disarming having such committed fans?

They’re great! That’s another thing the internet brings. You get this really committed foundation and following that want to know everything about you and probably will try and find out. I Tweeted once that I really like custard creams and someone came to a show with custard creams and I was just like, ‘How did you know?!’ I do really like those interactions.

You should use your Twitter as a delivery service…

I have thought about it.

Do you ever have to deal with horrible stuff about yourself?

I don’t get a lot of those comments and the few that I do I’m absolutely fine with. There are things that I don’t agree with, too!

Follow Jess on Twitter @jess_commons

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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