Canadian singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist John Lewitt recalls a mixture of the usual motivations and an unusual limitation combining to launch him toward a career in music. “As a teenager in the eighties,” he recounts in a biographical sketch on his website, “I dreamed about being the next Bruce Springsteen or Bryan Adams. I would enthusiastically sing along to all of their songs, knowing that one day I would be just like them. Unfortunately for those within earshot, I was completely tone deaf, which…put a big dent in my dreams of becoming a world famous rock and roll star.”
He decided to focus on piano as a way to train his ear, but by the end of high school, he hadn’t done it, despite mastering the instrument. “But deep down, I still wanted to sing,” he remembers. “Unfortunately, my voice did not improve as puberty set in. I knew the notes I needed to hit, I just couldn’t get there.”
Piano didn’t work as a musical outlet when John went off to university, however. So he got an acoustic guitar. “There was something about learning how to play the guitar that changed my musical ear; when I played it I was able to hold a melody without having anyone leave the room.”
Once he had climbed that hurdle, John played, wrote and recorded a steady stream of music, including his first album, while still in college. Since then he has become “a songwriter who can’t stop writing songs.” As such, he has been successful at placing many of them in the media, licensing his music to film, TV and other outlets. The CBS soap opera The Young & The Restless has used a number of his songs multiple times over the past few years. Other licensing highlights include one of his songs being used both for a Fortune 500 company’s social media campaign and in a VR fitness app.
One of the key things John credits for helping him release his muse more effectively into the world has been the amazing progress in recording technology. “I originally had a Fostex four-track tape recorder; that’s when I started getting my ideas down…I got my first DAW (digital audio workstation) in 2010…Getting into the digital world allowed me to be more efficient…”
Over the years, John’s music as touched on country, folk rock, and Americana, but his newly released seventh album, The Beaten Path leans heavily into the Americana genre, stretching across the expanse from The Band to current artists like Jason Isbell in it’s sound and sensibility.
By Dan Walsh