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PopWrapped | Music

Lee DeWyze And The Power Of #Familee

Jonathan Frahm | PopWrapped Author

Jonathan Frahm

Updated 11/3/2014 3:54pm
Lee DeWyze And The Power Of #Familee | Lee DeWyze
Media Courtesy of Facebook
When you perceive a situation such as Lee DeWyze’s only from the shallow-most baseline of all pertinent worldviews, you’d be sipping the story of a mainstream failure from a straw. He’d won American Idol – but people argued that he shouldn’t have right out of the gate. He’d debuted a major label album – but it became the worst-selling in Idol history up until 2013. He’d released a well-to-do single – but was already such a mockery within the realm of pop celebrity that he was still ultimately dropped. At the end of the day, pop music culture is a farce wherein individuals are expected to follow the convention set by their labels and their management to an absolute tee. DeWyze is and has always been in the specifically admirable, yet anti-stereotypical situation of being unapologetically himself. It may have “cost” him as far as the traditional pop star’s career path would’ve taken him, but in the process, he’s developed a dedicated fan base of individuals who recognize him for the genuineness that he has to offer, as a singer, a songwriter, a performer and a person. Not too long ago, I had taken to my Facebook fan page to ask members of the dedicated Lee DeWyze fandom to name a singular favorite songs of theirs recorded or performed by the soulful folk-rocker. What began as a conventional idea for a not-so-out-of-the-ordinary “Pop 10 Best Songs” article swiftly metamorphosed into something the exact opposite of jejune, thanks to the passion put on display by the aforementioned #Familee. None other than Dinah Alfaro, who’s inspiring story of healing involving Lee’s music graced PopWrapped not too long ago, spearheaded the conversation. She reminded us all of the moments when she was struggling day-to-day just to survive, and how Lee’s cover of U2’s “Beautiful Day” ultimately pulled her through: “‘Beautiful Day’ is a song close to my heart. That song was playing over & over in my house & in my head when I was struggling to live just one more day. When I hear that song even now, it instantly brightens my day.”
Ultimately, even a story as powerful as Dinah’s lifesaving event is met by several other tales met by other members of DeWyze’s #Familee. Annie Ess, for instance, had this to say of what she cited as her favorite Lee song, “Breathing In”:
If I have to pick, my fav[orite] Lee song is 'Breathing In." It's the most beautiful song I have [sic] ever heard esp. the arrangement with the violin. Just mesmerizing...when I think of my boyfriend during the song it makes me cry cuz I love him so much and he takes such good care of me and he came into my life and made all the bad things that happened to me melt away into a sea of nothingness and makes me feel safe and loved; and the song really conveys a true deep love for someone and you can really feel that come through and it really touches your heart. There's such a pure honesty in that song that [sic] I really connect with.
Thea Flanagan Wasil also had a rather cool story to share about “Stay” and how it relates to her own perception of DeWyze as a down-to-earth and affable individual, even through her initially being star struck:
The lyrics themselves have personal meaning to me as well. I think that's where the whole "Stay" theme originated with Lee.  I had been to a few shows, and in 2012 at his Lincoln Hall Chicago show I had finally gotten VIP tickets and was going to meet Lee for the first time. I was the first one in to soundcheck, and Lee asked ME what song I wanted to hear. I was so starstruck, and I told him I wanted to hear Stay. He played a few notes from it, and told me he didn't play it usually during this tour. During the soundcheck, he said, "Someone wanted me to play Stay" and he played it. I was ecstatic. During the actual show itself, he randomly decided to play it. I felt like I almost reminded him about how awesome that song was, and that during soundcheck he played it for me and it literally meant the world. He doesn't get me starstruck anymore, and I can talk to him when we meet like a normal person, but I will never forget that moment. There are more moments at other shows that are amazing, & Lee actually remembers me now from being at so many of them. His music inspires me to write again, and it's always there for me when I need it. Lee DeWyze is the very best there is, and I will always and forever be a fan.
Kathy Bauman is also especially moved by a specific Lee song, “A Song About Love” from the ill-fated Live It Up. “The passion and emotion with which Lee sings it brings tears to my eyes,” Bauman explained, then continuing with a testament to the Idol winner’s personal character, “Lee dedicated this song to me July 25/13 at my very "1st" Lee Concert in Minneapolis. I was so touched to say the least.”
#Familee staple Pam Fehlling also weighed in, citing “Blackbird Song” from The Walking Dead as her current favorite song. The single itself, which many recognize as a solid theme song to the show’s most popular character, Daryl Dixon, is taken on by DeWyze with equal terms of strength and fragility in pitch-black darkness that ultimately depicts his ability to grapple with compelling storytelling quite finely.
“Blackbird Song” is also a track that shows how far Lee has come since his downward slide from the Live It Up era. To end up delivering a song to the most popular show in the world and receiving a well-met response is one thing, but having it become a staple in a popular show with the world’s most identifiable soundtrack is another. For DeWyze? He’s conquered both, and if it weren’t for the #Familee he’s made feel so at home, for the #Familee he’d even saved from a rather literal death, he may not have made it anywhere near achieving this lofty goal. Wherever Lee DeWyze ends up next in his career, it'll be anything but a failure. Taking off your overly-commercialized glasses and seeing his life for the realistic ups and downs that he has truly had is an enlightening experience. Once you do, like any member of his dedicated fan base could tell you, you’ll see that he’s had far more successes than he has had failures, and that each, as Kris Allen would put it, are rather relative. At the end of the day, what mainstream media would count as Lee’s failures have only contributed to the string of successes that he’s had recently, and with the help of his ever-growing #Familee, he sure won’t be stopping with his upward rise anytime soon. To wrap things up on a high note, here's a song that was highly cited in the aforementioned Facebook post that just about anyone can relate to: "Don't Be Afraid", from Reign.
Follow Jonathan “JNoodles” Frahm on Facebook for more exclusive Lee DeWyze stories and PopWrapped features on equally as grounded artists in the future!

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