Michael Lewis Debuts New Genre-Bending Soul

michael lewis

Michael Lewis is an emerging independent recording artist based in France. He made his solo professional debut in 2018 with the single “Missed Calls”. That track introduced a talented international singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist producer. 

Since his debut, Michael Lewis has released a string of successful singles. Inspired by decades of hip-hop, R&B, and jazz artists, his sound blends elements of all the above into a smooth soul vibe. This month, the multifaceted musician dropped his first full-length LP.

Code XII is the debut album from Michael Lewis, released worldwide via all major streaming services on March 4, 2024. The fifteen song collection presents a creator with a distinct style and fully realized artistic vision. Although this is his first album, it is the work of an artist with years of musical training and experience.

From the chilled funk guitar and infectious beat of “Love Somebody” to the hip-hop slow jam “Recovery”, Michael Lewis mixes dance grooves with deep soul vibes. He weaves a sexy and soulful tapestry of sound. It is a sound rooted in R&B, but colored with style from across the musical spectrum. 

Throughout the album, Michael Lewis pairs his soul aesthetic with genres from around the globe. Tracks like “Rollercoaster” and “How Can I Stop” stir nu-disco and afrobeats rhythms into the mix. Lewis heads to the Caribbean for some dancehall and reggaeton moves on tracks like “Shake it Pon Me” and the steamy “A Fabulous Night”. The singer picks up his acoustic guitar for some of the record’s most romantic moments, on tracks like “Find Your Love”  and “People Change”.

Check out Code XII in its entirety below, or listen on your favorite streaming service. You can also hear “People Change” on the Deep Dive : Hip-hop and R&B playlist, and “How Can I Stop?” on Deep Dive : Dance & Electronic. We had the chance to chat with Michael Lewis about his new album. Read his answer to our 8 questions below. And follow the links at the end of this article to connect with the artist.

8 Questions with Michael Lewis

Michael Lewis Debuts New Genre-Bending Soul 1

Where are you from?

I was born in the Republic of Congo, where I grew up until my late teens. I later went to pursue my education in the UK where I have lived for seven years and I’m now permanently living in France.

How long have you been making music?

Coming from a culture that is extremely influenced by music and dance, being an artist was always someone I wanted to be since the age of 12. I grew up on African Jazz, French hip-hop and American music. I further developed my passion over the years when I was living in the UK. That helped me tap into different genres such as pop and house music.

This further draws my interest to study more about music, about the legends and understand more about the culture surrounding it.

Who are the musicians involved in your project?

As an artist, I am aware of my limitations and in my opinion, making great music is the main objective. All the songs on this Album are written by myself and even the rhythm of each song.

At first, making them solo was not just sounding right so I have decided to collaborate with vocalists to help me reach the sound I have envisioned in my mind. All thanks to them! They did an amazing Job and I am grateful for their contribution.

The only feature to which I owe the credit to for writing the chorus is the Dancehall song “Shake it on Pon Me” with Curtisay, who did an amazing job!

Who are your biggest musical influences?

Although I have mentioned different genres of music, I have to say that hip-hop mainly is a type of music that has a massive impact on me. The lyricism, the way that the artist has to express himself/herself and follow the rhythm at the sametime is so amazing to me. That is why I listen to artists such as Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole mostly. Having said that, I will never stop sharing my admiration for artists that inspire me such as Nina Simone; whose voice and songs carry me in a different emotional space.

What inspired you to create this project?

As an artist making a first project is always an unbelievable and humbling experience and I wanted to embark on this journey to use this album as therapy to express myself. The cover of the album called code 21 represents my panoramic view of the21st-century. The art behind it, represents a person who is either blinded by the truth and talks nonsense or someone who can see the truth but cannot express himself. Hence why this album is really like therapy for me.

What are your plans for the future (musically)?

Hard to know what the future holds, but I’m planning on releasing more music and working on more projects and collaborating with different artists. Most importantly, I truly want to use my sound as a healing experience for those who listen.

Is there anything else you would like to say?

I would like to tell the listeners to appreciate the album and understand the picture I am trying to paint. I am an artist and not a celebrity and fame is something that never amazed me. It’s almost as if I would like to make music as someone who is non-existent and just brings something to the universe.