Indie-pop artist, Payson Lewis, has teamed up with Emily Rosenfield for a beautiful acoustic rendition of his song, “In Your Heart.” Delicate strings accompanied with emotional lyrics give a detailed look into how paralyzing toxic relationships can be. 

“Just because a love may end, it doesn’t mean you can’t still hold a place in your heart for the love that once was,” says Lewis. “It’s important to always have a space in your heart to give sanctuary to love: Past, Present, and Future.” 

How did you get into music?

I think music and art have always been in me. I can’t remember a time that I wasn’t thinking musically. My mom likes to remind me that I was “writing songs” using rubber bands stretched to different pitches back when I was like five or six years old. So it’s always just been the status quo for me.

What do you think is the best part of being an artist? 

For me the best part is the act of creating with others, whether that be writing a new song with a friend, or getting the band together to record in the studio. It’s always communal. In that way the absolute best part is getting to do that live on stage and sharing it with an audience. That energy that we all share in a live setting is unmatched. It fills my soul.

Who are your all time musical icons?

I’m a Beatles baby. Grew up on the fab four and everything stemmed from there. So they’ll always be the tops. But in my heart of hearts I’m a die-hard Prince guy. He to me is the ultimate artist. He did it all and was the best at everything he did. It’s unreal just how good he was.

Walk us through your creative process

My process always changes and comes and goes. I have pockets of extreme creativity and then long expanses of inactivity. But I’m often inspired and invigorated by collaboration. I can write a song with a friend in a matter of hours, but writing on my own takes a lot longer. I’m slow and meticulous. I don’t like to move past an idea until it’s perfect. So for me it can be slow going sometimes.

What inspires your lyrics?

I often draw inspiration from people around me. I’ve always been better at observing the human condition in others than identifying it in myself. So I see what my friends and family are going through and I employ my empathetic leanings and put myself in their position. I’m much better at thinking outside myself than I am within the dark recesses of my own mind.

Are you a fan of other art forms like cinema or literature?

Oh absolutely. Sometimes I’m most inspired after watching a movie, or seeing an exhibit, or listening to someone else’s music. That’s what good art does. It makes you think. And sometimes I channel that thinking into music or a visual element.

Tell us about your latest release and how it came about

Well, “In Your Heart” is a perfect example of some of the stuff we’ve been talking about. This song was inspired by a friend of mine who was trapped in a toxic relationship and needed help to find her way out. It was breaking my heart watching the way she was being emotionally manipulated and compromised. 

So I put myself in her shoes and tried my best to articulate what I felt when I was there. It was a painful song to write because it was a painful situation she was in. So I tried to incorporate an air of encouragement and strength so she could use the song to build herself up and find her way out.

How are you gearing up for live performances now that they’re on the horizon?

Oh man I could not be more excited about this. I’ve been dreaming of this day for over a year now. But in order to get ready for it, I gotta get back in shape. I’m re-upping with my voice coach to get my voice back in shape. 

I’m hitting the studio with the band to get some new songs ready for the new shows. And then once we get some venues opening, I’m sure I’ll be one of the first in line to book a night. I cannot tell you how excited I am to be back in front of an audience doing the thing I’ve missed most.

What’s the future looking like for you?

Hopefully a lot of new music. Like I said, I’m back in the studio next week, so there will be a fresh supply of new music. I’m also continuing to work with my roommate Emily on our acoustic reimaginings of my songs. 

And then yeah, once venues are fully back up and cooking, I’d love to get myself out on tour and make it happen live.

Who inspires your style and aesthetics?

Honestly, the thrift store. Vintage shops. I’m certainly no fashion guru, but I like finding unique pieces that fit my low-key, laid back, blue collar rooted vibes.

What is the accomplishment you want to achieve the most in your career?

All I really want to do is share my music with people. Affecting people’s lives positively is the goal, and I’ve already accomplished that to some degree. I’d really love just to do the same thing on a larger scale. 

But I don’t ask much. I feel lucky everyday that I get to do this for a living, and for me that’s enough as long as I’m doing good along the way.