watch the wild new video from this ariana grande-approved british pop star
Ariana called Swindon-born Lewis Blissett her “lil angel <3 <3”
Lewis Blissett is an actual bloody kid, which is quite mad when you think about it, because at the tender age of 15, the Swindon-born boy has mastered the pop game from pretty much every angle. He’s ascended via the reality TV route, appearing on The Voice Kids a few years back. He’s stuck chills-down-your-spine covers of big Ariana Grande tracks on his YouTube channel (with the star’s approval – Ariana called him her “lil angel” in the comments of one of his vids). And now, with his own gaggle of attentive followers watching, he’s about to dominate the charts too.
Part of the same label imprint that championed Charli XCX and Mahalia, Lewis has shown conventional pop the middle finger and made his mark with something rather insane instead. “Killing Butterflies”, which dropped last week, is a relentless electro track that feels more M.I.A. than Katy Perry. Its video, which premieres exclusively on i-D, is the song’s perfect visual accompaniment: all swirling and distorted scans of the star against seapunk and Matrix-esque backgrounds. If Lewis Blissett was asked to take things slowly, he’s clearly got his own thing in mind.
So to celebrate the release of that batshit crazy video and the quite frankly excellent tune that goes with it, i-D asked the teenager about his new tunes and why pop has gone so dark all of a sudden.
Hi Lewis. I still remember the first time I saw your “No Tears Left to Cry” cover. My jaw dropped and I sent it to a dozen people at once. When you were recording those, was a moment like this ever in your sightline?
Thank you! Honestly, I’ve always wanted to be seen and heard, so when I saw that I had an opportunity to excel, I really ran with it. I had no idea how powerful the internet was and could be, and it all just happened so quickly. I started posting as many videos as I could and tried to ensure that it wouldn’t blow over. I want a lifetime career, I want to make music, I want to travel the world and I guess that just stuck.
“Killing Butterflies” is a pretty audacious track to release so early in your career. Did you know you wanted to go down this kind of route, right from the beginning?
I mean yes and no. Your ‘sound’ is very fluid, and in the current landscape of music, nothing is set in stone for artists which is great. This means we can experiment and really broadcast our feelings and moods. My music will always be very meaningful and I love to create ongoing stories in my projects, I have a lot of shit to talk about!
Basic question, but a song like this warrants it: what is “Killing Butterflies” about?
It’s a term I created to showcase how the human brain can destroy all the beautiful things in life. It is a very, very powerful asset. Everybody has their own vice -- their poison, if you will.
Did you get to talk about the idea with Luke Abby before you started shooting the video? Whose concept was it?
Yasssss! It was a collaborative concept. The idea relates back to the meaning of the song: the sky darkens and the video intensifies as that vice makes its impact.
Why do you think pop has taken a dark turn?
Well, the world has taken a dark turn. We are exposed to way more than ever before and people want to share that. It also resonates with young people.
Do you have many nightmares? What are they like?
Right now, I struggle with sleep paralysis, a byproduct of sleep deprivation. So yes, I experience nightmares. A lot of the time my subconscious can control these experiences, it can take shape of anything I’m concerned about, or even just thinking about.
What’s the best thing about being a popstar from Swindon?
A popstar? Gee, thanks! Very flattering. It feels pretty good to represent my little town. I’d say one of the best things is when I return there seeing people that used to talk down on me literally suck up to me!
As they should tbh! Last question: the video for this is, quite frankly, both excellent and insane. Would you agree?
I mean… it’s pretty wild, yeah. A literal representation of my fucking brain!