Granted, he only lived here for nine months but who cares – we’re claiming him.
Lewis Watson is on the verge of becoming one of the big names in music, not bad going considering he only picked up a guitar for the first time five years ago.
Born in Newton-with-Scales, near Kirkham, he lived in these parts less than a year before his dad got a job in Oxford and the family moved south.
But, however brief his stay here, Watson hasn’t forgotten his roots.
“I do consider myself a northerner, albeit a bit of a plastic one,” he said.
“My only regret is that I didn’t live up north a bit longer. You serve the best beer – there is a perfect head on every pint. We don’t get that in the south!”
Watson claims his rise to the top (and make no mistake, he is heading for the top; when his debut album comes out next year it is expected to sell in vast quantities) has been the result of relentless, hard work.
That said, looking in from the outside, it does seem to have been a lot more straightforward for him than for most.
Here’s the story.
Watson, who celebrates his 21st birthday tomorrow, listened to all sorts of music when he was growing up. His dad liked Bon Jovi and Queen, his sister was into the Spice Girls, while his brother enjoyed rap.
“I listened to a lot of metal, Slipknot, so I was exposed to a lot of different influences,” said Watson.
Then, when he turned 16, he got an acoustic guitar and fell in love with it.
“It was the first time I started listening to acoustic music, like Dylan and Nick Drake, and it really made me want to learn,” he said. “
“I tried to form a couple of bands with mates but it never worked out. I was always a bit self-conscious about my voice anyway and I found playing and learning on my own was the thing I enjoyed my most.
“I started writing songs and then started gigging.”
With his old man driving him to different venues, Watson decided to make a CD, just to sell at gigs, “to earn a tenner so I could give my dad some petrol money”.
But when that first recording, an EP called ‘It’s Got Four Sad Songs On It BTW’, went on the internet, a weird thing happened – it attracted the attention of just about every record label in the land.
Watson went on to sign with Warner Brothers. “I was a bit overwhelmed by that response to the record and even now, after having a bit of success, it still hasn’t hit me that I might actually be all right at this singer-songwriter thing!” he said, in modest, self-effacing manner that is a feature of the interview.
“I only wrote songs originally that resonated with myself, but it just so happens that they seem to resonate with others too.
“I I think I began to realise that when I got signed and it was then I thought ‘right, now is the time to apply myself 100 per cent and try and make a proper go of this’.
“It is relentless – when I’m not gigging I’m in the studio and sometimes you are crying out for a day off. But it is what I want to do for the rest of my life and I count myself as one of the luckiest people on earth.”
Watson has released four EPs so far, and had a big hit with the song Into The Wild. Fifth EP Some Songs with Some Friends (featuring the single Even If) is out November 25. His album is due out in January or February next year.
Watson heads to New York next week for a couple of gigs, before returning for a November tour of the UK and Europe.
Which begs one more question – when will he be coming to play in the town where he was born?
“Not this tour but I’ll try to make sure it happens next year,” he laughed. At least then he’ll be able to get a pint with a proper head on it.