Lee DeWyze has expressed signs that he is ready to move beyond the expectations of being an American Idol winner. While always showing gratitude for the leg up given to him by the show, DeWyze has also expressed frustration over being pigeonholed by Idol’s immense pop-crazed fan base. Said DeWyze, "You almost get clumped into this, like, you know, it's not 'Lee DeWyze, the artist.' It's '"American Idol" winner.' You know what I mean?”
We feel for DeWyze and agree that he has reason to be upset. Standing apart stylistically from his Idol cohort, he moved ahead of the pack alongside another Idol oddball Crystal Bowersox. Their folksy, singer-songwriter vibe made Season 9 a different animal from all seasons previous. Yet after the show wrapped, DeWyze’ss success was modest compared to that of Bowersox. His debut record, Live It Up, had the lowest first-week sales of any winner in Idol’s nine-year run, while Bowersox has been much more readily embraced by the Idol zeitgeist.
The lackluster sales of Live It Up can been traced to many sources, none of which are really DeWyze’s fault, including poor marketing and the artist’s unwillingness to musically conform.
Then there’s the fact that DeWyze’s Idol success occurred at a time when the identity of the show was itself in flux, shifting between a focus on the opinion of industry experts, like Simon Cowell, to one more reflective of the performer’s experience.
The artist himself seems conscious of all of this and yet remains committed to bringing quality entertainment to his fans. Said DeWyze, “I know that I can go out there and play these songs that I've written live with my band, and we can kill it, [and] to me that's all there is left to do… It's not really a concern of mine whether album sales are this or that… I have an album out, and I'm proud of it, and I'm gonna keep pushing.”
We think success is not always measured by album sales, especially in DeWyze’s genre. He just needs to keep making his kind of music, and never mind the rest!