No one in the world is spared the COVID-19 lockdown, and lewloh, or just Lew as he is known among friends and family, is similarly affected.
The Singaporean singer-songwriter is currently taking his Fall semester at the Berklee College of Music – not on campus in Boston itself, but online, from a residence somewhere in Idaho, where he is quarantining with his mother. Meanwhile, he just started a new series on his YouTube channel called Letters To Let Go Of, where he will write a new song each Wednesday to a letter randomly picked from a stash of correspondences with past relationships.
“My mother said to throw them away. I said I’d write songs to them. I need to resolve the attachment issue, by turning it into art,” he says, adding, “It’s also good as an improvisational exercise. Everything is at the spur of the moment.”
Lew, who has a twin sister born two minutes later, has written about 300 to 400 songs, although “only 30 or so have been released,” he reveals. “I don’t have an infinite bank account to release all of them,” he quips.
It’s therefore surprising to find out that his favourite subject in school isn’t a liberal arts subject, but biology. “I really like the sciences, the more logic-based fields,” he says. “Maybe it’s why I gravitate towards music. It combines both emotion and logic. When you study music, you not only go into the science and theory of what it does to your brain, but also, importantly, how it makes you feel.”
You can check out Lew’s own compositions at the inaugural music series, Flock at The Nest, where he performs alongside two other artists, Benjamin Kheng and Marian Carmel.
My Favourite Music Artist: The Weepies. The Weepies are an indie pop-folk band from Cambridge, Massachusetts, who started releasing their albums in the early 2000s – which, incidentally, is my favourite decade in music. They are a husband-and-wife duo. I only discovered their music two to three years ago. Their music is very centred on imagery. It’s sensory. That’s how I’d like my music to be like: It’s not just a vibe, but a whole experience.
I have seen them live in person last year. They’d come with their three kids in a caravan, and they would tuck them in to bed before they performed. They sounded just as good as they did on record. It’s just wholesome to see a married couple who not only are able to make music together, but also sing about real issues and deal with nuances in the relationships.
My Favourite Sound: Thunder whilst inside a car on the highway. One of my favourite and most vivid memories was during a typhoon in Hong Kong. All the trees were falling, the lights out, and I was in the safety of the car with my family. We were driving home, 3km per hour. You weren’t cradled to sleep. There was still the sense of urgency and alertness which kept you awake.
My Favourite Album: Midnight Machines by a Canadian electronic artist called Lights. This is my lullaby record. I put this on when I need to sleep, shower, or de-stress. It’s an acoustic version of an electronic album – it did even better than the original. The tendency is for music students to analyse and dissect a song, to hear whether it sounds good or not. With this, I don’t at all. I have been using this album as a crutch for five years. It’s on repeat.
My Favourite Film: Deep Blue Sea (and every other shark movie). I just like shark movies. There’s something about sharks. My favourite genre is horror. I like the sense of the unknown. You don’t know what is going to happen. I like the feeling of fear in a controlled environment. You know four-fifths of the cast are going to be eaten, and you leave the movie unresolved, like there’s always a baby shark at the end. That’s how I like my music too, like, damn, it doesn’t end properly.
My Favourite Soundtrack: Frozen. Frozen is the very first movie I ever watched alone. It was an 8am show and the ticket was cheap. I was supposed to watch it with a friend who flaked. The music in Frozen is so good. There’s a reason why it’s overplayed, cos it’s really good. The soundtrack has so much personality and character. I especially like the duets, ‘For the First Time in Forever’ and ‘Love Is an Open Door’.
My Favourite TV Series: Modern Family. Modern Family was the first TV series that really normalised LGBT relationships. I like that in the show, they don’t make a big deal out of the sexuality. Oh yeah, there’s a family with three kids and another with one adopted child. Families come in all shapes and sizes, as long as there are good parents and good family members, that’s all that matters. Plus, the writing is so smart and witty.
My Favourite Hobby: League of Legends. This is so geeky, but I need to confess. I am in the Top 1 per cent of all players. It’s kind of embarrassing ’cos all the hours spent playing the game could be spent on music. You know how when a hobby becomes an occupation, you need another hobby. Gaming is that hobby. So, it’s enough music, close the books, let’s play the game.