Generation Y remembers this man as one of the Colonial Cousins and the guy playing the guitar in a lot of very cool music videos. But that story has obviously come a very long way. Lesle Lewis was in Delhi for a concert and we managed to catch him for a quick chat.
'I grew up with Helen and RD Burman around me,' says Lewis when we ask him about his childhood. Being PL Raj's son meant that he was well in touch with his music. 'I always wanted to play the guitar,' he says adding that he single mindedly pursued it till he was one of the top guitar players in the industry. Lewis took onto making jingles and he has worked with almost all of India's top brands and primetime commercials. Another tick on this man's list.
Lewis moved to pop music production working with Suneeta Rao, Asha Bhosle, KK, Alisha and the Band of Boys. He was the king maker, making stars out of budding talents. He worked on remixes and albums like Rahul and I that topped charts across music channels for months.
In his career trajectory, teaming up with Hariharan to form the Colonial Cousins came next. The duo performed at the original MTV Unplugged with the likes of George Michael and Elton John. They won MTV Indian Viewers' Choice award and Billboard Award for the Best Asian Music Group. 'All of this in 1996 meant that as a band you had arrived,' says Lewis.
He has clearly done it all, four different avatars - guitar player, music producer, jingle writer and part of one of India's best known bands ever. And now the man comes full circle. 'I am going back to my guitar,' he says. He is writing songs in hinglish and he is positive that they will strike a chord with his audience. He is working on an EDM album as well and he says all this energy and creating a new musical space gives him a high, 'I am one step ahead, it is like preparing for war - when war happens I will be there.'
Bollywood is not making music for the world he says, it is localised. The tracks he is working on will serve as the global connect because Lewis is taking on a lingo that the world understands. 'The future of Bollywood is sitting in my studio,' he adds.
'Once upon a time you could make an album, sell it and make a living, but now music is more than that. People want to experience the music, they want something to take back home. Anyone can download any track sitting at home - why would they buy an album? This is where live performances and shows come in and this is where I come in,' says Lewis. The magic of 'live' in your life - he's a powerhouse performer and we totally agree!