You might not recognise his name just yet, but Lewis Thompson is about to step out of the shadows and into the light to become a huge name in UK dance music.
Behind the scenes, the Leeds-based artist has worked with some of the biggest names in pop, writing and producing hits for Joel Corry ('Sorry', 'Bed', 'Out Out'), Little Mix (Kiss My (Uh Oh)'), Becky Hill ('Remember'), James Hype ('Afraid') and Digital Farm Animals ('Last Night')
.Now, though, with an arsenal of his own feel-good dance-pop anthems ready to take the electronic world by storm, Lewis - who is also one half of the dance duo Just Kiddin’ - is ready to take the top billing.
Having always played in bands when he was younger and learnt some instruments growing up, Lewis had an interest in music from a young age.
He also felt as though turning it into a career was achievable; this was partly because several of his family members were musicians - his grandad was in a band with Sting and his uncle achieved several top 40 hits as a songwriter.
"Subconsciously, I think I was aware that music was a job, whereas a lot of people wouldn't have had that," he says. I grew up being aware that you could be a songwriter and you could be an artist."
At the age of 12, Lewis' uncle brought him a guitar, and he started playing in a few bands with friends for the years that followed. "I didn't really do much with it or get very far," he recalls.
But it was falling in love with electronic music whilst at university that led to his first gig.
"I went to an underground club one night at uni and I got chatting to the owner," Lewis remembers.
"He was like 'I need a DJ actually' so I told him I could DJ - even though I had never touched a set of decks in my life.
Lewis didn't think much of it at the time, believing it just to be a drunken night out chat. But, the next morning, his confidence had paid off, as he received a text asking him to play that evening.
Eager to please, Lewis went straight to the supermarket and bought a pack of 50 CDs, burnt off all his favourite tunes and quickly worked out the decks. "It must have been awful," Lewis recalls, laughing.
However, throwing himself in at the deep end soon paid off, as Lewis would end up DJing regularly throughout his time at university. "It kind of paid for me to live, as I was doing it three or four nights a week."
It also led to an epiphany - that music was what he wanted to pursue full-time: "I realised that I knew how to play instruments and knew what electronic music consists of. And then I discovered Ableton, the production software."
From that day, music became an obsession for Lewis, who is determinedly self-taught in all aspects of his artistry. "There were a lot of failures, but I just wanted it so much," he says.
After finishing his degree in business and marketing, Lewis landed an office job selling computers but quickly realised it wasn't what he wanted to do.
"I was a man in a suit, going in a corporate job every day for about two years. I knew it wasn't for me. I didn't feel like I belonged in that world,” he remembers.
Looking back, Lewis realises that those feelings helped him out in the long run. "Going through that process made me so hungry to make music, because I knew that was my escape,” he says.
Determined to "find a way out of it", Lewis would work all day and then spend his evening working on his tunes.
Two months after deciding to quit his job, he started getting tracks signed to Ministry of Sound (as part of the dance duo Just Kiddin'; the track 'Thinkin' About It' changed my life in a way", he says).
Since then, Lewis has not been afraid to fail in whatever he does. “There's been a lot of ups and downs, and there have been points in my career when I've had a great opportunity and worked with someone amazing but I hadn't been ready for it," he reflects.
Now, though, Lewis feels ready for life as an artist in his own right: "You can put me into a room with other writers and singers and I feel like I know what I'm doing," he says, having realised that "the best songs are made by teams of people".
And seeing tracks that he worked on become huge chart hits has made him even more hungry for success as a solo artist.
"There have been points where it's like ‘I worked on that record!’, which has been amazing, but I'm ready to own it myself now,” he says, having received a lot of support from his writer friends.
"I just want to make tunes that everyone likes," he says of his upcoming music, describing it as "feel-good emotional dance-pop" that fans of Calvin Harris and Duke Dumont will love.
Looking to the future, Lewis is setting his sights high: "I want to be touring the world, having chart success and be up there with these names that I've helped - my name next to Joel and Guetta and knowing that I did that all myself and everyone knows it's me.
"I do really have that desire to do it myself now and come out of the shadows. To be on the same pitch as all these people."
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