Damian Lewis tells Chris Evans about not writing ‘a grief record’ and getting the music front and centre

Virgin Radio

6 Sep 2023, 11:11

Damian Lewis with Chris Evans in the Virgin Radio studio

Credit: Virgin Radio

Damian Lewis joined Chris Evans in the Virgin Radio studio this Wednesday to talk about his debut album Mission Creep and his upcoming UK Tour.

Speaking on The Chris Evans Breakfast Show with cinch about how he got started creating his album, the 52-year-old revealed he’d started out experimenting with covers before he ‘got bored’ and as a result started writing songs.

“And suddenly we had an album,” Damian said, before he summarised: “Decca [Records] showed an interest, they signed me, and now we’re going out on tour. That is the long and the short of it.”

The Band of Brothers and Homeland actor released his well-received first album in June 2023. The record is made up of 12 original songs which he wrote during the first lockdown, and after the death of his wife, the actress Helen McCrory, in 2021. 

“Records are a bit like journal entries,” Damian said, opening up to Chris about the inspirations which fed into his music. “I’ve had, you know, a particular sort of tough time over the last two years. I lost my wife, Helen. I was writing the record around the same time.”

“It’s absolutely, 100% not a grief record,” he continued, “But definitely there are two or three songs in there that speak to that. Definitely.”

Damian also explained how the Harry Potter and Peaky Blinders actress, who died of breast cancer in April 2021, was also a big fan of music.

“She loved it. We always had a guitar in the house, we always were playing music,” he said. “Her mum and dad loved singing and they were always coming round and singing, playing songs. Her brother’s a really good guitarist. So there was always music.”

Speaking about his own love of music, he continued: “And I always had guitars because I used to take my motorbike and my tent around Europe with my guitar in the back and play all the market squares in the south of France and Spain. I just used to do that through the summers.”

“So there’s always been a guitar around, there’s always been songs to sing… but I’d never really sort of sat down and taken it seriously and thought ‘I’m gonna write my own stuff’,” the Billions actor admitted. “Anyway I have, and I’ve ended up with a record, and a record label. And now I’m here talking to you about it, which was never - by the way - really the plan, but it is really good fun!”

Anxious not to be a star who suddenly "parachutes in" to a change of career in music, Damian also told Chris how that’s why he’s chosen to focus on playing smaller venues on his UK tour.

“What we’ve tried to do is, I’ve just played really small gigs with the band in London, at festivals, we’re going out on a UK tour, you know, under no illusion you can suddenly go out and play arenas! We’re playing really iconic, cool venues, starting with the Rescue Rooms on Saturday in Nottingham… it feels authentic, it feels like we’re doing it the right way.”

Damian Lewis’ album Mission Creep is out now, and his UK tour begins on 9th September and will end 6th November. For tickets, visit: damian-lewis.com

For more great interviews listen to The Chris Evans Breakfast Show with cinch weekdays from 6:30am on Virgin Radio, or catch up on-demand here.