USA | 2021 PARTICIPANT
Trained as an opera singer and classical pianist, Athens, Georgia native Lilli Lewis has been a composer, producer and performer for over two decades. After carving out space as an African-American lesbian of size, Lewis is lending her voice to the industry’s need to diversify its precepts, everywhere from Billboard and Rolling Stone to Folk Alliance International’s “Committing to Conversation.”
In 2020, Lewis was featured at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation’s Chanteuse series and The Kennedy Center’s Arts Across America. In 2021, the artist / activist known as The Folk Rock Diva played WWOZ FM’s star-studded Piano Night performing “My American Heart,” which one reviewer compared to “a contemporary Jessye Norman if folk rock had been her genre.”
Lewis performs folk, roots, country-soul, gospel, and jazz, and has even integrated New Orleans traditions by singing lead for Dirty Dozen Brass Band founding member Kirk Joseph’s Backyard Groove.
VP for Louisiana Red Hot Records, Lewis’ releases on the label include 2018 solo piano “The Henderson Sessions,” 2019’s “We Belong” and 2020’s “My American Heart Red + Blue EP,” a precursor to her upcoming “Americana” album due in 2021.