“Don’t tell me about self-respect, I thought I loved you too,” Pepper Lewis sings on “Little Man.” The post-breakup song, Lewis’s first release of 2022, showcases her distinctive voice. Lewis’s personality, fashion sense, and insanely hooky and colorful sound also make the pop prodigy an artist worth checking out. 

Endowed with rich songwriting skills and a distinctive voice, Lewis is on a mission to make music with authentic and carefully written messages. This has been part of her artistic identity since her debut song, “Planetarium” and continues in her recent release, “Little Man.” The pop singer, who emerged on the music scene in 2021, chatted with EnVi via email about her music-filled childhood, fashion, and “Little Man.” 

A Musical Upbringing 

“I don’t remember my life without music,” Lewis told EnVi. Describing music as infinitely a part of her, she recalled taking her mother’s Bruce Springsteen box set and repeatedly watching his performance at the age of six. Watching Bruce Springsteen and Miley Cyrus perform at a young age set her on the path to pursue music. Bruce’s storytelling and Miley’s audience engagement impressed the young Pepper Lewis and planted a love for performing in her. To her, performing feels like meditating and having an adrenaline rush at the same time. 

When Lewis was 10, she developed an interest in the guitar and watched guitar lessons online. Her passion and consistency led her parents to sign her up for lessons with an “actual teacher.” At 12, Lewis knew she wanted to pursue music as a profession. She realized this after performing a Hannah Montana song at a talent show. When she told her father about her intentions, he introduced her to the 10,000-hour rule and asked her to put 10,000 hours into mastering her craft. From the moment she set her mind on singing, Lewis has been training hard, stating she had no plan B. “I am a shark on a mission, solely motivated by the love of music,” she said. 

With support from both parents, Pepper Lewis took vocal and songwriting lessons and spent her lunch break writing lyrics and making demos. At 18, she recorded her first song, a song she will gladly keep unreleased. Three years later, she released her debut single, “Planetarium.” 

Creative Freedom 

Taking a cue from American singer Bonnie McKee, Lewis believes everything is a lyric. Hence, she derives inspiration from her experiences when creating music. For her debut single, “Planetarium,” Lewis pulled inspiration from her love life, citing a time she created space between her and her crush. In the track, Lewis details the emotions of a person who struggles to let their guard down in a relationship. “Same Stuff,” her follow-up single, tapped into her experience with depression. With “Same Stuff,” Lewis hoped to remind her listeners to take care of their mental health. 

Lewis further poured her heart out in her debut EP, She Told Me To Sing My Heart Out. The singer-songwriter dedicated the four-track EP to her mother, who passed away when she was 15. She told Vent Magazine writing these songs was a way for her to make meaning out of her suffering. As a singer and songwriter, Pepper Lewis believes her style of music is only valid when people validate the messages she is trying to send out in her songs. “I am so lucky this is my job,” Lewis admitted. To her, having the freedom and permission to disrupt the peace through her music is one of the benefits of being a musician. 

In and From Television Series 

“Little Man” was inspired by the television series American Crime Story: Impeachment. The single touches on the aftermath of falling in love with someone already in a relationship. Lewis cited the experience of the character Monica Lewinsky and the hypocrisy surrounding slut shaming as the motivation for the single. Pepper Lewis started working on “Little Man” two years ago, rewriting the lyrics to convey what she needed to say in the most effective way possible. “When I have something to say, I take it very seriously and go over every word,” she explained. 

Lewis has not only drawn inspiration from television series but even written songs for some. She lent her songwriting skills to series like Catfish, Vanderpump Rules, and The Real Housewives franchise. 

Striking Fashionista 

Lewis used three words to describe her fashion style: “Groovy, Grandma, Chic.” A bold and colorful outfit enthusiast, she cited her mother and grandmother as inspirations for her sense of style and fashion aesthetic. Comic books, cartoons, and pictures from Studio 54 also serve as an inspiration for her look. 

When asked about brands and designers she would love to work with, Lewis replied, “I love this question,” before mentioning OMIGHTY, who are known for their trendy and colorful pieces, and Italian designer Donatella Versace. Fashion designers Tyler McGillivary and Betsey Johnson made it onto Lewis’s wishlist. Tyler McGillivary’s outfits boast a mix of bold colors and playful textiles with versatile silhouettes. Betsey Johnson, on the other hand, is known for her whimsical and over-the-top designs. 

Feeling 2022 

The 22-year-old Lewis also dreams of working with three of her musical influences, Omar Apollo, Remi Wolf, and Miya Folick. Fresh from releasing “Little Man,” she revealed to EnVi she has plans to drop her favorite song she has ever written in the upcoming months. Lewis further hinted at working on her second EP, describing it as the best second EP she can possibly write with the skills and resources she currently has at 22. 

Listen to “Little Man” on Spotify and Apple Music

Connect with Pepper Lewis on Twitter and Instagram

Want to discover more music content? Read all about Julianne Glass from our previous Artist Spotlight.