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Canadian-born singer Glenn Lewis grew up in a musical family. Both of his parents were musicians, and his father was the lead singer of the group Crack of Dawn. Lewis began writing songs as a teenager and won a talent contest by covering "I Just Called To Say I Love You," the former #1 song of Lewis's musical idol, Stevie Wonder. Lewis's stature in the Toronto music scene grew over the next several years, and he ultimately recorded a number of demos which led to his first single release, 1998's "The Thing To Do." It won a Juno award (the Canadian equivalent of a Grammy) and led to more regional recordings. Lewis's popularity ultimately crossed the border, and he began working as a programmer for hot producer Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins.
Epic Records signed Lewis in 2002, teaming him with writer/producers Andre Harris and Vidal Davis, who had previously scored with Musiq and Jill Scott. The result of their collaboration was World Outside My Window, one of the year's most critically acclaimed albums. Borrowing heavily from the Stevie Wonder sound, circa 1974, Lewis gained an immediate following on both Pop and Soul radio with the album's first single, the infectious midtempo, "Don't You Forget It." The rest of the disc showed Lewis to be a fine vocalist, and included an interesting overall feel, combining 70s-sounding moogs and electronics with cellos, violins and other, more classically-oriented instruments, all backed with a lazy beat and intentionally raw vocal arrangements. The arrangements worked beautifully on "Don't You Forget It," "This Love," "Dream" and the dramatic "It's Not Fair." Equally effective was the gentle ballad, "Something to See." The album also boasted strong and unusual lyrics, particularly the haunting "Take Me," the story of a man who befriends a lonely woman at a party, only to find himself over his head when faced with her serious mental illness.
While the lack of consistently strong material prevented World Ouside My Window from becoming an instant classic, the disc was certainly a breath of fresh air for Soul music lovers and helped Lewis to quickly arise as an artist to watch. However, watching was difficult to do, as Lewis went virtually unheard of for the remainder of the decade. He worked on a sophomore album that was generously leaked in bootleg form, but which was never formally released. Finally, in early 2011, Lewis put out the single "Good One" in anticipation of finally issuing his long-awaited sophomore disc. But he then went silent again until releasing the duet with Melanie Fiona, "All My Love" in 2013. His album, Moment of Truth, is slated for a mid-year release.
By Chris Rizik