River House Artists’ Trey Lewis first garnered industry attention when his risqué yet hilarious tune, “Dicked Down In Dallas,” went viral on social media.
Though Lewis was receiving a massive amount of engagement on the internet, which was translating to streams, some country music fans and industry members seemed a bit hesitant to accept the rowdy newcomer with a very non-traditional breakout hit.
While some scoffed, others saw the artist behind “Dicked Down In Dallas” and jumped on board. Shortly after releasing his first EP, Shut the Door, Sony Music Publishing announced they had signed Lewis to a publishing deal. Then came the news that River House Artists had inked a record deal with him.
Despite the playfulness in”Dicked Down In Dallas,” Lewis is a tender-hearted, deep artist with a miraculous story that he shared with MusicRow during a recent visit.
As a teenager in Birmingham, Alabama, Lewis fell into drugs and alcohol. After some jail visits, he went to rehab and participated in a sober living program. Once he conquered his addiction, he knew he had to make a change in his life to keep him on track, which ended up being music. He now has 16 years of sobriety to be proud of.
As part of his sobriety journey, he had to sponsor someone else who was trying to get sober. The person Lewis ended up sponsoring was a musician who would make trips to Nashville.
“He asked me to come to Nashville one weekend to be his sober companion. We came up here and his producer asked me to play some songs. They told me I had a great voice, and that’s what started everything. That’s where I caught the bug,” Lewis shares.
While coming back and forth to Nashville, Lewis met a girl and got married. When their marriage ended in 2017, the disappointment eventually led Lewis to change the course of his life and move to Music City.
After meeting collaborators who turned into friends, Lewis found himself amongst a hard-working class of rising singer-songwriters, constantly hustling by playing in bars and writers’ rounds, writing with each other and holding down jobs to pay the bills. He moved in with one of closest friends, now Sony Music Nashville-signed recording artist Ella Langley. The two still live together, though music keeps them on the road most of the time.
Right as “Dicked Down In Dallas” started to take off online, Lewis remembers playing a round with some friends at Live Oak in Nashville. That night proved to be magical, with industry executives and other prominent artists filling the crowd, drawn from the new buzzing hit.
“We had all this buzz around this song and that night, all these people [in my life] like Alex Maxwell, Joybeth Taylor, Ella Langley and Matt McKinney were there. They’re all signed writers now and have songs coming out every Friday on big artists,” Lewis says. “I know some people look at that song and think, ‘That’s raunchy,’ and some know it was just a joke, but what it did for my friend group was it shined a light on the work we were doing.”
Lewis notes that his attorney, Scott Safford, made sure he knew all of his options when labels started calling. He decided he wanted to hold on to ownership of the hit song, and was rewarded financially. He was able to give his band a much-deserved raise and pay off his mom’s debt.
“That was amazing. With all of the things that I’ve been through—some self-inflicted—and the things I put my mom through… the fact that I was able to do that was amazing,” Lewis emotionally shares.
When Lynn Oliver-Cline and River House came aboard, they weren’t interested in acquiring Lewis’ cash cow. They just wanted in on the genius to come.
“We didn’t take ‘Dicked Down In Dallas’ because he makes great money from it and is able to take care of his band, crew and family,” Oliver-Cline says. “When we came aboard, I said, ‘We will work on what’s moving forward. We don’t want to take what you’ve worked so hard on. Let’s look at the future.'”
She adds, “That’s why we’re here. He’s made this incredible record coming out in January called Trouble Maker.”
Lewis is currently working a new single, “Always You,” which highlights his depth and promise for more great music to come.
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