Loreal Lewis, Fulfilling her Dream with Patience
By Niambi Davis | Photos by Caroline J. Phillips
Loreal Lewis sings at her photo shoot
“I was eight or nine when I knew I could sing,” Loreal Lewis recalls. She speaks fondly of growing up in Easton surrounded by family, community and music. On family road trips to Florida she would sing all the way down and back. One of her grandmothers loved country. The other had “stacks of rhythm and blues records that she would blast on a Sunday morning.” Because of their influence, R&B, country (and now hip hop) are her top three favorite musical genres. Loreal’s neighborhood encouraged her talent, urging her to “sing, Loreal!” She’d respond with a song by Beyonce or Alicia Keys.
Recalling those days, she chuckles at the memory of belting out lyrics she didn’t recognize as inappropriate until much later. In school, she showcased her vocal skills in plays and musicals.
Loreal’s dream of attending a performing arts school had to be set aside when she became a young mother. Her daughter became her world. “I wanted to make sure she was okay. And I wanted to give her everything,” Loreal said. Although she took a step back from music, she didn’t stop. When she entered contests (and won every time) “the money I won was for my daughter.” There was a time when Loreal considered pursuing a career in the beauty industry, but music kept calling her back. “My heart wasn’t in it,” she remembers. “Music is where I need to be. Whatever you’re passionate about, you just can’t leave behind.”
As it turned out, she didn’t have to. In January, Loreal saw the beginnings of the musical career she had visualized for years. She was introduced to Santiago Almodovar, head of Easton’s Dreamland Entertainment Group. Only five months after that meeting, Loreal was set to release not only her debut single “Patience,” but its accompanying music video as well. She and Dreamland are confident of its success. She describes the song as “fire music for all ages; something that everybody can rock to, from my six-year old daughter to my dad!”
Community and family support run deep for Loreal. One of Loreal’s listeners describes her voice as a gift from God. For another, her sound is “pure and clear as a crystal bell, holding the ear and the heart.” And her daughter, now six, could be considered her mother’s greatest supporter. At the studio, she watches Loreal’s every move and has declared that she wants to become a singer, too. According to Loreal, “she knows the words to every song I sing.” In turn, Loreal is her little girl’s role model, something she readily recognizes. “I have to stay on point for her.”
Right now, her favorite song and morning inspiration is the appropriately named “Believe It,” by PartyNextDoor and Rihanna. She loves vintage items – “I’d rather have a vintage bag than a brand-new bag,” she insists. Perhaps her affinity for a former era explains the iconic Diahann Carroll/Diana Ross aura of glamour, elegance and poise that Loreal embodies. But music and style are only outward expressions of what defines Easton’s songbird. Compassion is equally important. “I genuinely care about people; I’d never want to hurt anyone’s feelings.”
One trip to New York City convinced Loreal that she was not a city girl — “Easton is home.” And here at home, she’s on track to fulfilling her dreams. At the aptly named Dreamland, she’s headed “all the way up.” According to Almodovar, unlimited possibilities await on her rise to the top. For Loreal Lewis “the sky is not the limit, it’s just the view.”
Where to listen