Rhys Lewis

O2 Academy Oxford

I was buzzing with excitement for days leading up to see Rhys Lewis perform in his home town on May 4, after a string of shows spanning Europe and a scattering of shows in the US.

Having seen his rise in the music industry over the past few years, there was an immense sense of pride from the friends and family who joined him for his return to Oxford at a packed out O2 Academy.

Rhys played a jaw-dropping set, oozing with confidence and captivating his audience – some of whom had travelled from as far as Amsterdam. It just shows what impact this man has on his fans.

The music he creates resonates with the real day-to-day life we all experience, adding extra emotion and feeling behind the lyrics to pack that extra punch.

Having watched him writing music in my kitchen when I lived with his brother, it’s incredible how much he’s developed not only in his playing, but the overall genre of pop-soul that he seems to have grasped and mastered.

There was a powerful start with some fan favourites and first releases like Living in the City and Waking Up Without You, which reached the number one spot on Spotify’s Viral Chart. He then moved onto tantalising solo performances of new releases Bad Timing and Reason to Hate You. They are some of the most personal songs he’s written to date, and feature on a newly released EP titled Bad Timing. We caught a glimpse of new music, including Floors on Fire, which is a proper mover and sing-a-long.

Rhys and his fellow musicians pulled out all the stops with effortless showmanship. There’s no doubt in my mind Rhys Lewis will become a household name in the future – up there with the likes of James Bay and George Ezra but with the soulful flare of Bill Withers or James Taylor. His way with words is nothing like I’ve heard, with proper heartfelt lyrics that reach out to those of us struggling in the rat-race. Do whatever you can to listen to his music, because I can assure you, you won’t be disappointed.

The gig featured support from sensual harmony lovers Wednesday Wolves and Jack Goldstein – who punched us in the face with an exciting one-man-band style performance. True entertainment!