The youthful British-born singer/songwriter, Louis Knight is gaining momentum with his unapologetic, heartfelt storytelling. Knight was a fan favorite on American Idol, leading to the successful release of his single “Change.” Now, the L.A. based artist has released two new singles, “Maya” and “Burn This All Down,” which both include must-see music videos. Knight has been open with his mental health challenges during the pandemic, inspiring his vulnerable songwriting and anticipated 6-track EP coming this year.
The Untitled Magazine caught up with Louis to talk about his personal stories inspiring the lyrics of his new EP; being on American Idol, moving from the UK to the USA, and more! Check out the full interview below.
You were born in the UK, but raised in Philadelphia. Tell us about your childhood experiences moving to the US? Are your parents British? What was your life like at home growing up?
Yes! So my parents are from England and I grew up in both London and Brighton until I was 10 then my family and I moved to Philly. It was definitely a difficult transition, but I feel like I really grew into my own skin in America.
How did your childhood influence your passion for singing/songwriting?
My whole life I’ve been drawn to music. As a kid my dad would try to stick instruments in front of my siblings and I to see if we’d take to any. In terms of my writing, I think there was a lot going on during my childhood that forced me to grow up fast. I’ve always felt things pretty heavily, which is why finding songwriting has been such good therapy for me.
What artists are you most inspired by musically?
Sam Fender, Lewis Capaldi and Jon Bellion.
Tell us about your experiences being on American Idol?
It was such a rollercoaster and practically a bootcamp for the music industry. You go through the highest highs and then there’s obviously a lot of anxiety involved in the process also! My experience led me to grow so much as an artist and performer. I’m so grateful.
What were the biggest motivators and challenges of the show?
The biggest motivator would be that they were letting me sing originals from time to time. That was incredible. The biggest challenge for me was the pressure of it all. I didn’t know how to handle it in the best way back then, and I was dealing with a lot of anxiety.
How were you able to find your niche sound and rebuild yourself after feeling down during the pandemic? Can you share more about your pandemic experience and how it affected your music?
I think I realized that the music I wanted to make was more of an organic production with my emotional lyrics over top. In terms of helping get myself out of the dark place I’d been in, I really was just lucky enough to surround myself with great friends at the time who pushed me to grow and were really supportive.
When returning to the show for the Comeback Contestant Season, did you feel more equipped as a singer/songwriter? How did that second season impact your career?
I absolutely felt more equipped as a singer/songwriter. I’d had the experience of the prior season, all of the great and not-so-great moments of performance that come with experience. I’d also been able to really take in the last year and marinade on it all, so the nerves weren’t as bad as they could have been! The second season helped me get my latest single at the time, “Maybe That” out there to more people, which was so special.
Tell us about the inspiration for your song “Maya”?
I wrote “Maya” about falling in love in the Netherlands and wanting to stay in that moment forever. It’s about when you decide to jump into the unknown with someone.
You released “Change” in 2019 and recently released “Maya” in 2022, what did those three years do for your songwriting? What did you focus on in the midst of the pandemic?
These 3 years have helped me understand how to better build out a hook in a song and song structure etc. I’m also co-writing a decent amount now which is so much fun.
I was struggling with writing and felt pretty lost during the pandemic but I stayed at it and ended up coming out the other side.💙
Your recent release “Burn This All Down” feels fiery and real, connecting to the pandemic. Is it nerve-wracking for you to release vulnerable songs? Tell us about your inspiration for the track?
It’s weird because on one handwriting vulnerable songs is the only thing I really know how to do. There are some days that it can definitely feel a bit tricky when I put so much of my own emotions into a song for everyone else to listen to and dissect. But at the end of the day – being vulnerable is how I connect with others and hopefully how my music will resonate with others going through similar things. And that’s all that matters to me.
I wrote this about going through a depression during the pandemic and losing myself and my relationship with songwriting for a while. It’s about my frustration in that and trying to come out of it.
We saw via Instagram the train ticket in the “Maya” cover art was the real train ticket from the lyrics! Is being open and vulnerable with your audience something you have always strived for?
Yeah, it is, it’s the only way I know how to be to be honest 🙂
You now live in L.A.! How are you liking it? Can you share some of your favorite spots?
I do like it! It’s very different to Philly, and was hard to adjust for a bit but I’ve started to love it! The hiking and beaches are my favorite parts. There’s a beach called “Treasure Island” that is my favorite – the water is crystal clear. And I think my favorite restaurant at the moment is Pine & Crane in Silverlake!
You’ve worked with music industry icons such as Michael Bruer and Matt Weber? Can you share some highlights from working with them?
Working with Michael Bruer was such an amazing experience. He is a mixing legend. It was so special having him listen, compliment, and elevate my music.
Matt Weber has been a role model and brother to me since I started properly recording my music in 2019. He has been my producer and taught me so much. I was one of his first experiences producing so I think we really made each other grow in so many ways.
Any dream collaborations?
Jon Bellion, Chris Martin, and Sam Fender.
Can you tell us a bit about the “Maya” music video and EP? What do you hope to bring to your fans with the EP?
I had such a blast filming the love story music video with my co-star Brooklynne Webb. The director, Toby Preyer killed it. The EP is coming out soon. It is my most personal songwriting yet and it was so fun experimenting with the production. I hope to bring a record that people can cry and dance to. A lot of it is about love, loss, and mental health. I just really hope it can resonate with someone that might be going through similar things.
The EP speaks to universal longings of hope and perseverance. Those are pretty personal topics. How and when did you start writing about these topics and what’s your personal connection to them?
I honestly only know how to be personal with my songwriting. I hope it’s a good thing haha. I just want to make music that resonates with people. If it doesn’t feel true to me, how can it be true to anyone else? We all go through the ups and downs of life, and writing about those times has been my therapy.
Anything else on your radar for 2022 that you can share? Any live performances or appearances we can look forward to?
I’m releasing my EP and will be going on my debut tour in the fall!! Keep an eye out for show dates!!! Can’t wait to see you there❤