Sylvie Lewis

Sylvie Lewis


With its voluptuous string accompaniments, crooning choruses, smoky horns and elegant cafe vibes, the album is a painterly study in aural impressionism – all pasteled musical strokes, organic instrumental textures and earth-hued lyrics.


The similarities between herself and her postwar predecessors are not lost on Lewis. Raised in London and educated in Switzerland and Italy, she grew up listening to the songs of European cabaret legends like Kurt Weill, Noel Coward, Lotte Lenya and Serge Gainsbourg. She confesses a similar affection for the music of George Gershwin, Cole Porter and Irving Berlin. When it’s noted that Gershwin, Porter and Berlin were themselves European expatriates, Lewis responds sympathetically. “They came over here to get a little American spice, just like me,” she says, laughing.

Looking to add some “spice,” Lewis landed stateside in 1995 to study at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. She took a year off to study and travel in East and South Africa before moving back to the States. In 1999, the restless singer-songwriter relocated to Los Angeles, where she became a regular at The Hotel Cafe and other local venues.

In 2001, her independently-produced EP found its way to Cheap Lullaby Records. The company liked what it heard and ignited Lewis’ career in earnest.

Now, with the release of her first full-length album, the British songstress comes full circle. Going against the coarse grain of modern musical convention, Tangos & Tantrums is a confident, literate and humanistic recording that commendably takes the contempt out of “contemporary”.

“I definitely feel that I am an anachronism -- that I was kind of born in the wrong time,” Lewis confesses, with a laugh. “But at the same time that’s OK, because maybe it makes my voice more unique than it would have been 80 years ago. Maybe there’s something to be said for being in the right place at the wrong time.”


By Heart

Written By: Sylvie Lewis

Think you're going to make me cry,
make me cry, make me cry
Think I'm going to wonder why,
didn't I, pass you by.
Your mind is always changing.
You say so all the time.
Don't know how long you're staying.
That will be your choice, not mine.
Think you're going to make me run,
make me run, make me run.
Think I'm glad that I'm still young,
now you've begun to have your fun
Your eyes are always straying.
You want whatever's far.
I hear the words you're saying.
I'm learning you, by heart.
I will know you, by heart.
Think you're going to take your time,
drink your wine, move on to mine.
Music plays, the singer sways,
and you can say - you always move in time.

All His Exes

Written By: Sylvie Lewis

All his exes gather around,
they rub against my ankles.
They're warm and soft, they make nice sounds,
they know their pleases and their thankyous.
All his exes call him up
to talk about whatever.
They want advice on boys and life.
He picks them up when they're under the weather.
He always says when he hangs up
that in the battle of the sexes
It makes him feel so good that he's still
Friends with all his exes.
All his exes throw a party
on his birthday every year.
They reminisce and drink champagne.
I make sure I bring my own beer.
I smile politely and check my watch
but I notice he never checks his.
It makes him feel so good that he's still
Friends with all his exes.
It occured to me the other day
and I'll just have to put this bluntly
the only exes that I'm friends with
are the ones that still want me
He spends so much time with other girls
that I always have suspected
perhaps I would be better off
as one of all his exes.

Rockwell's Blues

Written By: Sylvie Lewis

Why don't we not go to the movies,
let's stay in a world of our own.
No high speed chases,no high-heeled races up the aisle
Good girl gets good guy,
Why don't we not go to the movies tonight.
Sometimes I find myself at the movies,
escaping the world that I know.
A disinterested boy, conversations I'm avoiding,
or the end of love in sight.
Why don't we not go to the movies tonight.
You can blame me because I've been here before,
Daylight makes all our dreams look pale.
You can name me when they ask you who was,
The girl who made you stop believing in fairytales.
Because if we live life like the movies
I'd always know what to say and when to go.
And this would be the part, you hide your heart
and the good girl says goodnight,
Why don't we not go to the movies alright,
Why don't we not go to the movies tonight.


Tangos and Tantrums