Hollywood actor Damian Lewis has talked ahead of his live music gig in Oxford.

Having starred in films, television and plays across a career which spans over 30 years, the celebrity is now making music too.

Damian released his debut album Mission Creep in June 2023 and is now taking his music on a UK tour including a date at Oxford’s O2 Academy2 this month.

Speaking exclusively to the Oxford Mail ahead of the gig, the star revealed why he decided to try and conquer the music frontier.

Oxford Mail: Damian released his debut album Mission Creep last summer.Damian released his debut album Mission Creep last summer. (Image: Joseph Lynn)

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“I have always done music but it was a suggestion by someone else that I should do it more formally and I jumped at the opportunity,” said Damian.

“I performed on a jazz show on BBC Radio 2 and there was a manager in the audience, Steve Abbott, who wanted to do something but nothing happened as I was doing Billions for years.

“It got forgotten about until lockdown when everyone had too much time on their hands.

“I created a band, ended up writing a record and here we are so I guess it has been a series of happy accidents.”

Oxford Mail: Damian Lewis playing a live music gig.Damian Lewis playing a live music gig. (Image: Joseph Lynn)

The actor is arguably most recognisable for his work on the American drama series Billions starring alongside Paul Giamatti.

Premiering in 2016 and airing its final episode in August of 2023, Damian stars as hedge fund manager Bobby Axelrod as he accumulates wealth and power.

After saying goodbye to the character last year, the Hollywood star reflected positively on his time in the role.

“Playing Bobby Axelrod was like being the gunslinger, he was like the cowboy and the rockstar to Paul’s sheriff,” said Damian.

“It was a lot of fun to play and people were very forgiving of him as he was a representation of the American dream being a blue-collar lad from a working class family who made good.

“People didn’t seem to care too much whether he had done it legally or illegally, they just liked the fact he did that and his swagger.

“Really fun character to play.”

Oxford Mail: Damian Lewis played Steve McQueen in the 2019 film.Damian Lewis played Steve McQueen in the 2019 film. (Image: Damian Lewis)

Damian also made a memorable appearance as actor Steve McQueen in Quentin Tarantino’s 2019 blockbuster Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

The experience saw him work with the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio and Margot Robbie but the biggest challenge for the London-born actor was sorting out his wig.

“I was at the start of filming one of the seasons of Billions so I had to get a couple of days off from that,” he said.

“Brian and David who wrote Billions are both massive Tarantino fans and were even more excited than I was so they were very good, encouraging me to go to LA and do it.

“It was great, I had a week there and I spent most of it trying to get the wig right as at times I felt like Robert Redford and Jon Bon Jovi’s lovechild.

“We filmed at the Playboy Mansion at night which was loads of fun as there were hundreds of extras splashing around in the famous pool there.

“I had a really great time working with Leo and Quentin as well as Margot who was delightful because everyone was working hard to make a good film.”

Oxford Mail: Damian and Helen McCrory.Damian and Helen McCrory. (Image: PA)

Damian received a CBE in in the 2022 Birthday Honours following the charitable work enacted with his late wife Helen McCrory during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pair supported Feed NHS, a programme to give food from high-street restaurants to NHS staff, raising £1 million for the charity by early April 2020.

When asked by the Oxford Mail about his proudest career moment, this philanthropy topped the list for Damian.

“In all fairness, it would be being awarded the CBE for services to drama and charity,” he said.

“The work that Helen and I did for Feed NHS, a charity that we co-founded and helped run during lockdown, was the thing I am most proud of.”

Damian Lewis will perform at the O2 Academy2 Oxford on Friday, March 22 with tickets priced at £31.60.