We had the good fortune of connecting with Dova Lewis and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Dova, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I realized at a young age that I was inspired by artists, free spirits and dreamers who had traveled the world and had lived a thousand lives. This desire to explore and take risks has always been with me. So I followed this instinct and often made decisions that confronted me with the unknown. My musical journey came with a lot of failures. I was really not good at learning how to read music and at studying Jazz in college. I failed a lot and I was one of the weakest students in class, but risks come with failure and this is where I usually learn the most. I also tried to explore the world and travelled a lot to stay out of my confort zone. Living in a small shared cabin without shutters in a rain forest or staying in a house with 30 roommates in the heart of Hollywood are some of the most rewarding, humbling and inspiring life experiences I’ve had. You learn to be content with little, you put aside your ego, the futilities and you meet yourself and therefore others. So this kind of experience opens the door to significant exchanges, learnings curbs and then we have many stories to tell. Risk has always helped me to be flexible and adaptable too which are super important as a musician either to collab or seize opportunities. To perform on stage still feels like an act of courage at times in an era where we are so fast to judge people so as an artist I am always super supportive of anyone who has the courage to expose himself to a public and share his/her work. Just to be yourself can be an act of courage nowadays. Sometimes, risk is just to say yes to what is presented to you and try it out even if it scares you. This year, I got rid of almost everything I owned to leave Montreal and explore new roots. I just moved to Mexico… I follow my gut and instinct as to know what is my next creative adventure.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I think that what sets me apart from some singers is that I don’t like being in the spotlight. I write out of necessity, I need to express myself and sing to be in balance, but sometimes I wish I was more comfortable exposing myself. I love performing, but I would much rather have a band than sing my songs solo and the studio is my real playground. I love layering voices and playing with velocities, belting out my voice or barely whispering in a mic. My two main focus in my writing are drums and vocals and I had a punk-grunge duo in high school to play my first compositions so I’ve always preferred to perform with others, I am not a big fan of acoustic shows. My songs are indie-pop alternative but I come from a rock background. My journey has been a lonely one at times and I still struggle to find a team to keep things moving at the pace I want. I am an independent artist who has produced everything on my own and I’ve changed my roots a lot which means that I sometimes have to start from scratch. However, patience, instinct and determination have been the key to achieving my goals and I know that life brings me the right meetings and opportunities at the right time. Having also studied cinema, for me visuals are important and I am very proud of my music video. I would love to put other songs in images and collaborate with other video directors or even direct the next video myself. Surprisingly this was the most exciting process for me in the release of my EP as it was the synthesis of all my artistic vision. This artistic path is spiritual for me. It’s a bit of a leap of faith and all the challenges and pitfalls make me evolve, learn and even allow me to heal. At the end of the day though, I realized that music is all about sharing and connecting with others. I do need to be creative, but a life without a sense of contribution is a bit meaningless to me so I hope to make a positive impact in the community whether it be leading laughter yoga sessions, leading self-love classes, singing meditative chants or volunteering at a community center. I have worked in mental health for a couple of years and I have seen the positive impact that art and these holistic practices can have on people who are suffering. So to conclude, I am multi-dimensional and it is important for me to nurture all these facets and to meet people, hear their stories and hopefully try to make a positive impact in their life.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If I were in Montreal, my hometown, there would inevitably be a visit to the museum of contemporary art and then a stroll through thrift stores to find strange treasures from the past. I would also do a visit in the nature, whether it be a hike on the mountain, a bike ride on the canal or a cross-country ski tour if it’s winter. Afterwards, I would try to enjoy the incredible culinary diversity of the city where you can taste everything from Lebanese, Korean, French, Vietnamese, Haitian food and our famous poutine. We would go dancing in a dive bar with eclectic music and we would take advantage of cultural festivals such as the Jazz festival, Les Francofolies, the electronic picnic or we would go to small theaters to see less crowded and more intimate shows. We would probably also have a wine and cheese picnic and maybe end up taking a workshop in a community center somewhere!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are many people and organizations that have helped me tremendously along my artistic journey. The Upstart organization gave me access to a piano and a home studio while I was in LA and I was able to write and pre-produce a lot of songs. Rents were out of reach there, so I lived for six months in a dormitory on a budget and shared a house with thirty other people, but I was hugely inspired because we were all open-minded creators and artists. Also, meeting Darryl Swann (Macy Gray, Erika Badhu) completely changed my singing and creative path. I first met him as a teacher but he later produced my EP and he opened my ears, gave me confidence and I explored unknown colors and textures with my voice. He also gave me a lot of creative freedom and confidence in my musical and arrangements propositions. Working with someone who says yes to everything and puts his ego aside to serve the vision of an artist was a very valuable experience for me. Kalani, an educational wellness center in Hawaii also gave me the chance to get to my core when I had a lot of hurts or trials in life to overcome. I realized the power and importance of being a part of a community. To feel seen and understood by similar people and to work, live and co-create with them gave me a sense of belonging that I had never felt before and that pushed me even more towards my purpose. Since this experience I have friends all over the world and I feel their support and friendship even after years of physical distance. I have also reunited with a lot of them, sometimes as an intentional reunion and sometimes as random encounters! The world is smaller than we think and I know that I am a part of a great international community with a big heart.

Website: https://dovalewis.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dovalewis/?hl=fr

Twitter: https://twitter.com/dovalewis

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dovalewismusic

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLMGF-GWSER_VQ2b36aRo5g

Image Credits
Angelo Barsetti

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutMiami is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.