Decca Records has announced the signing of Damian Lewis. Lewis’s debut album, entitled Mission Creep will be released on June 16 on Decca, with his first single, the soulful “Down on the Bowery” out today. You can check it out below.
Mission Creep is described as “a thoughtful collection of roots-y, rock and jazz-tinged songs that reveals a deep love of music, and a deep need to communicate.” As Lewis himself explains, “I suddenly had a lot to say. People will judge if it’s any good or not, but for me, it felt entirely natural.”
The album’s origin story begins when Lewis, after leaving school, swapped the rigorous day-to-day regime that had dominated his life for 10 years for something altogether less structured. He took to the road with his guitar and went busking through continental Europe. This experience has stayed with Damian ever since and is reflected in his debut album.
Acting of course took over, and took off, with Lewis receiving great acclaim for his roles in shows such as Billions and Homeland, which have gone on to make him a household name. However, Lewis kept his hand in, playing the odd wrap party as part of a scratch band, but the idea of actually making a record only came to him during the COVID-19 Lockdown. With the time and space away from a busy acting schedule the star was able to throw himself into playing and writing songs, and the ideas started to flow. Damian was taken back to the time he played the guitar every day, but with the additional maturity and experience that an eventful life has given him.
Damian Lewis says, “I wanted the album to give a sense of a journey to this point, from busking ‘til now.”
Meeting and then teaming up with American jazz musician Giacomo Smith inspired Lewis to start playing his own songs in public. Smith introduced Damain to some of the musicians from the much-revered Kansas Smitty’s House Band, with whom he immediately jelled – in the studio and on stage. They formed a band fronted by Damian and started gigging.
A festival appearance at Wilderness last year led to more live shows. Packed gigs at London venues such as Omeara, Koko, the Tabernacle and Hoxton Hall resulted in glowing reviews from the crowds and the critics who described Lewis as “a compelling performer apparently in his element” (Neil McCormick) as he “wowed the crowd” (John Bungey). A label battle for his signature ensued.
Damian has since been confirmed to play at this year’s Cheltenham Jazz Festival (May 1) and Black Deer Festival (June 16) and his biggest headline show yet, at Union Chapel in London (July 11) with more live dates to be announced soon.
Co-Presidents of Decca Label Group, Tom Lewis and Laura Monks, say “We are so delighted that Damian chose Decca. His songwriting is poetic, poignant and deeply personal. The album, recorded just down the road in Kentish Town, has a raw and refreshing honesty to it. Damian really opens his heart and invites us in. It is a thing of great beauty.”
Damian Lewis plays:
MAY 1 – CHELTENHAM JAZZ FESTIVAL
JUNE 16 – BLACK DEER FESTIVAL
JULY 11 – UNION CHAPEL, LONDON