Lee Dewyze had an interest in music long before he took home the American Idol championship. Becoming an overnight sensation doesn’t happen in a day, even a vocalist as talented as Lee must train—whether formally or informally—in order to become a success. Lee began his training in the humble confines of his hometown of Mount prospect, IL at a young age. Even though his school did not offer a music program, he was able to find a surrogate to professional instruction for a time.
Every Tuesday, a teenage Lee visited a local karaoke establishment with his friends. While this amateur venue couldn’t offer in depth vocal training, it offered something that every professional must master if they plan to move beyond the studio and to the stage—how to perform in front of a crowd.
His love of singing and performing spurred him further into his music career, as soon Lee was teaching himself the guitar. His family and former boss explain his ability as being the gift of focus and hard work. While other kids his age were out on the town on a Friday night, Lee was in his garage practicing his guitar and vocals. Soon he was writing his own music.
Lee doesn’t sing in a bubble. He strives to blend every part of the performance. While he isn’t the most energetic stage presence, his voice reveals his emotion in every word he sings. It wasn’t an easy process to master, and many good singers fail in unlocking this secret of true vocal ability. Lee knows that you must feel the words you sing. Though he has been accused of being ‘pitchy,’ it is that pitchy-ness that gives his voice the emotional edge.
Lee finally received some professional vocal training at the age of 17. Lee formed his own band, the Lee Dewyze Band, and began playing small gigs in the Chicago area. A talent scout for WuLi Records heard one of their gigs and quickly signed Lee to a two-album contract.
WuLi producers Louis Svitek and Ryan McGuire worked with Lee in the studio to perfect his two albums, So I’m Told and Slumberland. Working with professionals helped Lee perfect his natural talent. Svitek took advantage of the fact that Lee was willing to put in as much time as necessary on the albums, having Lee record each song line by line until it was nailed. While Idol takes place live without the luxury of editing out the mistakes, it was the experience in the studio with two demanding producers that taught Lee the importance of practice before taking that American Idol stage.
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