Photography: Owen James Vincent
Words: Amy Bell
You might recognise Nathan Lewis as the former singer of the boyband ‘Five After Midnight’ who took part in the popular TV show, ‘The X Factor’. After the band split; Nathan broadened his horizons, by acting in Motown as Smokey. Nathan is now back in the music scene; he is writing his own material and for other singers in the K-pop scene.
We got to interview Nathan about his time in ‘Motown The Musical’ and writing for singers in the K-pop music scene.
Your first ever musical production was playing Smokey in 'Motown The Musical', can you remember what your first performance was like?
Well we had been rehearsing everyday for about a month prior to opening night so thankfully that first performance wasn’t actually that scary. Even though there was a bit of pressure to live up to Smokey Robinson’s Legacy, I made sure to do my research. Mainly because of our UK/US musical & theatrical directors (Charles Randolph-Wright, Tara Wilkinson & Gareth Weedon) I had been reinforced in my ability to do the role justice! So if anything I was just buzzing to perform, the only thing that made me a little nervous was all the quick changes!
What is your favourite Motown song?
Hmmm that’s a tough one as it tends to vary, from the show I’d have to say “My Girl”- The Temptations, but outside the show I’d say “Ooo Baby Baby”- The Miracles.
What and who inspired you to transition into acting and was this always something you wanted to pursue?
I admire storytelling in every form. Growing up I always loved movies and remember feeling inspired by an actress/actors ability to make you believe in the story. Right now music is still my main focus in life, however some of my favourite musicians have shown great prowess in acting weather that’s on stage or on screen, a prime example is Jamie Foxx. People like this inspire me to try and experience as many art forms as possible.
Congratulations on working on a big hit that you had written for, how did that make you feel, knowing you had a part in that?
Super grateful to have been involved in creating the song “MMM” - Treasure. This was my first cut so I’m gassed that it was a title track with such a great & hardworking BoyBand. The writing session for “MMM” was so much fun & I really felt like we made something special, it was truly such a rush to see it go from an idea all the way to its release. The song currently has over 40M views on YouTube.
You are currently writing for a lot of singers in the K-pop industry, what made you get into writing for K-pop?
The short answer is my friends, Jacob Aaron & Frankie Day have been making movements in Korea with an amazing company called THE HUB. I was introduced to the team & was offered a spot in their writing camp, which was the best experience. When I write music for myself I tend to treat it like my own personal therapy, so occasionally I feel pressure to be vulnerable, honest etc. But writing for other artists allows me to cut loose & really have fun.
What are you currently working on?
Well lockdown has been tough for all musicians in so many ways, which of course threw a spanner in my own plans for the year but I feel as though I have been super fortunate. So now as things are slowly going back to whatever we call normal I have a chance to execute some of what I’ve had planned. My friend and I have started our own skate brand company which is really exciting, I’ve been working on Solo music for a while so really trying to focus on finishing up my project for release, still auditioning for certain acting roles too, working towards my own streetwear fashion label I’ve been creatively designing, keeping my mental health in a good place which is its own up and down ride, still writing K-pop here and there, and a couple of other things that I won’t reveal now, so a few things in the mix.