Published in Plaid Magazine Online, April 2011
Photo by Kyle Kaminsky
At only 19 years of age, Toronto’s Lewis Moorman is one to watch. His debut album, Extended Play, won Best Rock EP and his song, “Everything is Breaking Down”, won Best Rock Song at the Toronto Exclusive Magazine Music Awards in 2010. Extended Play was recorded with Fred Mollin (who has also produced BB King, Tom Cochrane, and Miley Cyrus), and since then Moorman has signed on with Bent Penny Records.
At twelve-years-old, Moorman started playing the guitar. His uncle bought him a three quarter-sized acoustic Yamaha that he still has in his basement, and he continued to practice and take lessons until he decided he wanted to put a band together. It didn’t go according to plan, he tells us: “I couldn’t find anyone who fit my standards in singing so I was like, ‘Screw it, I’m going to do it myself’, and I’ve been writing songs ever since.” Moorman still takes guitar lessons. “I have this desire to learn more, and I know that my playing is good but I know I can play better.”
Moorman writes all of his own songs, and admits that, “A lot of my lyrical ideas come just before I’m about to fall asleep and then I have to think to myself, ‘Is it worth getting out of my bed to write it down?’”
Counting the classic rock era as a great influence, Moorman also draws inspiration from bands like Guns n’ Roses, The Tragically Hip, Aerosmith, and Stevie Ray Vaughan. He also listens to a lot of blues and jazz, noting that “jazz is very experimental and the chord structures and musical themes and ideas are a lot more out there.” Moorman describes his own sound as, “rock with a new twist to it.” Hoping to keep his work “innovative”, he says, ”as much as I like classic rock, it’s very repetitive. I try and change things up, add new chord changes that may not have been around in that era… I definitely try to bring back the guitar solo that is almost obsolete nowadays, all those old great rock bands always had wicked, killer guitar players and nowadays a guitar solo is hard to come by.”
Push, Moorman’s second album, is set to be released at the beginning of the summer. Made more independently and without a creative director, Moorman was able to put his ideas forth “sounding the way [he] truly heard it in [his] head…this one is going to be a lot more rock, more raw, more grit.” He is releasing a behind-the-scenes video for Push, which will capture the musical process in the studio (it will be on his website towards the end of April).
The inspiration for the album title comes from the endurance necessary for an artist to make it in the musical world. “As a musician there are a lot of people that obviously try to put you down and criticize your music. As an artist, you just have to push right through that and you have to see the people that respect it and that are there to support you, because those are the people at the end of the day that matter…This album is dedicated to my uncle who [recently] passed away….because if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have started playing guitar.”
Moorman gives aspiring musicians some good advice. “If it’s something they truly love doing, they have to be persistent. Just keep doing it and it’s true you never know who is in the crowd when you play a show. Whether or not you’re playing for 2000 people or six people, you always have to go out there and play your best, give it your all, because one of those six people can be someone who can help take your career to the next level.”
Having performed in venues from The Horseshoe Tavern to Dundas Square – an experience he recalls as “insane. You get high off that, it’s crazy.” – his own path is definitely taking him to the next plane. Moorman hopes to play college campuses across Ontario in the fall, and we’re sure there will be plenty of new fans waiting to check him out.