Sounds Like: Something between Southern soul, Miami bass and Randy Newman
For Fans of: Cee Lo Green, Aloe Blacc, Solange
Why You Should Pay Attention: The everyman vibe and retro feel of his quirky single "Bills" — currently on its way to 2 million views on YouTube — should speak for itself. If not: The Miami-bred, L.A.-stationed songwriter, 27, is signed to Dr. Luke's Kemosabe imprint; he got a feature on Nicki Minaj's The Pinkprint ("Trini Dem Girls") as a virtual unknown; cowrote songs for Jessie J ("Burnin' Up") and Fifth Harmony ("Bo$$"); and, yes, has one of the best stage names in the current pop landscape. He says producer Salaam Remi gave it to him as a kid: "He was getting a haircut and I was hanging out with him. And he was like, 'Yo, if I was a little chubby dude, I'd call myself LunchMoney.' Everybody started laughing, and it kind of just stuck." Though no release date is set, his debut album, executive produced by Wallpaper.'s Ricky Reed, is nearing completion.
He Says: Though "Bills" gets by on its world-weary, working-stiff lyrics, it actually came from a place of youthful fear: Lewis never held a steady job before and the real world came crashing down fast. "I had just moved to L.A., officially, got my apartment and stuff, and I was like, 'Man, I got a light bill I gotta pay, I got wi-fi, I gotta put food on the fridge.' I just got my deal, I was like, 'All right. Time to hustle.' No more calling home and being like, 'Ma, can I just hold like 80 more dollars?' That was the energy I was in. 'Ahhh! I got bills!'"
Hear for Yourself: "Bills" has already gone to Number One in Australia and, with any luck, might end up the "16 Tons" for the Spotify generation. Christopher R. Weingarten