One-hit wonders are a devastating phenomenon in the music industry. It’s not unusual for an artist to become a relative overnight celebrity, but often dreams of stardom can be blown away by the winds of irrelevancy just as quickly as stardom hit them.
LunchMoney Lewis, a hitmaker from Miami whose international hit "Bills" has helped to pen the latest chapter of a potential success story, is far more than a possible member of the One and Done Club.
The tone for a career in the recording business was set early for Lewis, who was born into a family of talented musicians. Both his father, Ian Lewis, and uncle, Roger Lewis, are members of the legendary reggae group Inner Circle, primarily known for their 80’s Cops-anthem "Bad Boys." The pair were co-investors in Miami-based recording studio Circle Sounds, which during its early days hosted pre-stardom sessions from Lil Wayne, Flo Rida, Rick Ross and Trick Daddy, among others.
Constantly surrounded and influenced by his family, as well as the slew of chart-topping artists who graced the Circle Sounds stage, it seemed obvious that LML would pursue a similar path.
“They were like superheroes to me, the first people I seen and heard play music in front of me and I was hooked pretty young do to that,” explained Lewis when I reached him on the phone. “(They) definitely sparked my creative bug and influenced me to this day, they were performers and writers and that’s why I think I’m into both sides as well.”
Lewis’ first real opportunity came in 2007, as a member of Bottom of da Map, a 305-based hip-hop group that produced an airwaves-catching single with "What's Da Bizness." Instead of fame and platinum plaques though, the group split up shortly thereafter.
Several solo attempts later, which included the Booth-featured, Florida-centric single "Get Grown," Lewis was lead by family ties into the guiding hands of pop-producing mogul Dr. Luke, an industry sensation who has created smash hits for rap acts like B.o.B and T.I., as well as a slew of highly-charting Katy Perry singles.
“Luke is my big homie, man. I thought I knew about writing a song... until I met Luke,” remarked LML. “He's smart with music and melody and little details that make a song great. I'm always stealing something from him every time we work. “
In the years that followed that meeting, Lunch Money found himself taking up a sideline position, quietly learning the art of pop-production and songwriting. Still, he never strayed too far from his urban music roots, first songwriting for Ace Hood ("We Don’t") and Juicy J ("Scholarship"), and then later for Jessie J, Diddy and, ironically, Meek Mill ("Off The Corner").
In 2014, however, his days spent sitting in the background ended; LML earned a feature appearance on Nicki Minaj’s Pinkprint inclusion "Trine Dem Girls." Money’s entrance into the big leagues left our own Nathan S. wondering aloud: who is the guy that’s awesome enough to call himself Lunch Money?
The answer to that question was provided earlier this year with the solo release of the aforementioned "Bills," a universally-relatable payday anthem about ordinary 9-5 life struggles that came together as straightforward as its success.
“I was working with J Kash and Ricky Reed of Wallpaper (a hip hop and pop music collective) who produced "Bills." We were finishing a session for someone else and when the beat came on, first thing I said was: "I got bills I gotta pay." We finished the song in like hour or so.”
Besides landing a spot on the Billboard Hot 100, "Bills" gave Lewis a Top 10 charting single in several European countries and Australia, marking his official breakthrough. For good measure, the accompanying music video has racked up 37 million views.
On his first full-length project, the Bills EP, which was distributed by Kemosabe/Columbia and comes backed by his equally-catchy second single, "Whip It," Lewis musically stays true to his earlier formula, providing easily digestible, feel-good tunes that the masses can enjoy.
Songwriting, producing, an ear for catchy songs and the right connections – Lewis has worked hard to establish an impressive portfolio of music skills, all of which he undoubtedly hopes will ensure future opportunities.
Because at the end of the day, bills have to be paid, right?
[Kevin Taylor is an aspiring music writer and master of the killer crossover. This is his Twitter.]