Australian singer-songwriter Dean Lewis’s awe-inspiring journey to the top of the global music charts is sure to reach even greater heights with today’s release of his highly anticipated, second album The Hardest Love. Having spent the past three months playing sell-out shows through the US, Europe and the UK, Dean returns home next week for the sold-out Australian Leg of his Sad Boi Winter Summer global tour. Set to perform in theatre venues in all capital cities and across major regional areas, the 19-date tour will begin in Brisbane at the Tivoli on Tuesday.
The release of The Hardest Love album follows what has been a remarkable 2022 for Dean. As he arrives back in the country, the momentum of his current single ‘How Do I Say Goodbye’ continues to escalate, climbing up local and international music charts. Already certified gold in Switzerland and Norway, ‘How Do I Say Goodbye’, has accumulated 81 million total streams worldwide, peaking at #68 on the Spotify Global Chart, #13 on Spotify US Viral Chart, and Top 20 on Shazam. Most notably, this week ‘How Do I Say Goodbye’ has charted #31 on the UK Official Singles Chart and is currently #90 on the Billboard Global 200 Chart. Locally, the single is Top 30 on ARIA Single Chart and Top 40 on the Hot 100 Airplay Chart.
Dean explains the lengthy creation process of making The Hardest Love, “I started writing the album in this hotel on Sunset in West Hollywood. I wrote in Nashville for a while, then I came back to LA and then went to London…” In each port of call, Dean experimented with various producers in search of the right sound and feeling.
“There's a famous quote that says people have their whole life to write their first album, and then six months to write the next one. I feel like I've had double the amount of time for this album than the first one.”
He recalls the jolt of ignition that greeted his first single, Waves, six years ago. “It blew up so fast and everything was so crazy that I didn't have time to figure out what I was doing. This time I had a lot more time to think about what I liked about those songs, to go back and look at the things that made them work.”
The deep dive led to a reaffirmation of the honest emotional content that Dean has become known for. Highlights of The Hardest Love include the uneasy surrender of Scares Me and the bracing title track, a deceptively dark song that builds from whisper to visceral brass finale.
By virtue of the remote recording process, Dean found himself co-producer of the album. “I had to learn how to do a lot more on this one,” he says. “I had to learn how to record my own vocals for a few of the songs; how to record my own acoustic guitar. All For You I recorded by myself, just me alone at an Airbnb in Malibu.”
Other tracks on Dean’s second album The Hardest Love were co-produced with a number of collaborators including Nick Atkinson and Ed Holloway, US pop journeyman Tyler Johnson, Alex Hope and Jon Hume.
The lion’s share of mixing fell to Mark ‘Spike’ Stent, a name Dean first saw in the credits of albums by Oasis and Ed Sheeran. “Spike is really good at blending pop with organic,” he says. “That’s what I'm aiming for. I want my songs to sound raw, but to be able to compete and be successful at the highest level. Blending those two things together, that’s a real skill.”
From hope to heartache and back again, The Hardest Love is “totally reflective of where I was in my life at that time,” Dean says. “It's been a stressful few years… I don't think I realised the pressure I was under because on the other side, man, I had nothing. I'd moved in with my grandma before I got a record deal. I had no money; on the verge of thinking that I had wasted all of the opportunities in my life.”
“When Waves and Be Alright blew up, I just sprinted so fast that maybe I got a bit burnt out. I’m good though, now. It’s been a crazy, crazy time. I can’t wait to play these songs for the people who bought my first album, ‘cause I really think they’re gonna love this one.”
Responding to the huge demand for Dean’s live shows, only days ago the multi award-winning, multiple-Platinum-certified artist announced two new Australian shows as part of The Future Is Bright world tour. Both Melbourne and Sydney will be treated to brand new live shows with Dean set to perform at The Hordern Pavilion (Sydney) on Friday March 10, and at Margaret Court Arena (Melbourne) on Saturday March 11.