He’s been pretty quiet for most of the summer, but soft-spoken season-nine “American Idol” winner Lee DeWyze will charge back November 16 with the release of his major-label debut, Live It Up. The album will be preceded by the first single, the title track, which will debut Wednesday on “Idol” host Ryan Seacrest’s radio show, “On-Air With Ryan Seacrest.”
“Putting out an album on a major label is truly a dream come true,” DeWyze, 24, said in a statement announcing the disc’s release. While he released two independent albums, 2007’s So I’m Told and 2009’s Slumberland, on tiny Chicago indie label Wuli Records before auditioning for “Idol,” his 19 Recordings/ RCA Records debut will feature a host of high-powered help.
Among the producers lending a hand are studio aces such as Grammy winner Toby Gad (Selena Gomez, Alicia Keys, Kris Allen) and John Shanks (Miley Cyrus, Bon Jovi, Sheryl Crow) and the Norwegian production team Espionage (Beyoncé, David Cook, Train). “I’m excited for all the people who supported me throughout ’Idol’ to hear what I can do with my own songs,” the statement continued. “The album shows a whole different side of me, and I’m so proud of it.”
DeWyze, an accomplished songwriter, co-wrote most of the songs on the album, which was recorded this summer while he was on the road with the American Idols Live! Tour. The sound of the album is described as an “engaging blend of rootsy pop, rock and folk, anchored by DeWyze’s soulful, rough-edged voice and bright-sounding acoustic guitar.”
“I grew up listening to Simon & Garfunkel, the Mamas & the Papas, Cat Stevens and Kris Kristofferson,” DeWyze said of his old-school musical influences. “I love hard-edged vocals over pretty melodies — that’s what I’m about. I really admire guys like Dave Matthews and Ray LaMontagne, and to now be on the same record label as them — it just blows my mind.”
Though dreadlocked runner-up Crystal Bowersox also landed a major-label deal following the show, the details of her album — the second place finisher’s debut is typically released several weeks after the winner’s — have not yet been announced. In the meantime, Bowersox is slated to get married to musician fiancé Brian Walker this month.
After years of playing a mix of originals and covers in Chicago bars and grinding away to make it in the music biz, DeWyze said he’s excited to finally celebrate his major-label bow. “To see my name listed in the credits on each song was really important to me because I’m a songwriter” DeWyze said. “I also loved working with such talented writers. They all brought so much to the table and really helped me flesh out my sound.”
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