If you put good energy out into the world, good things will come back. That’s the philosophy Lewis Hensley has lived by, even before he technically knew what “philosophy” was. Hensley never let the fact that he grew up in a trailer in Wayne County determine who he was, always putting his best foot forward and learning early on that looking put together was half the battle. His mom worked three jobs at one point, so the family never really went without; but her hard work was an example Hensley still draws upon when shaping his own way of life.
That blue collar background is one reason Hensley knows he has to work for his success – no one is going to hand him anything. Setting goals and getting there one step at a time is the way he has chosen to handle his music career for over half of his life. One of the first obstacles to overcome was a hearing impairment – quite the challenge for a 4 year old boy who wanted to be a performer so badly that he would roll down the back window of his mom’s car and sing “Pretty Woman” to unsuspecting ladies at traffic lights.
With his hearing surgically corrected by age 7, Hensley continued to ham it up at family gatherings on both the key-tar and the drum kit he got in 6th Grade, but it was playing guitar on “My Own Worst Enemy” by Lit during the 8th Grade talent show that turned out to be his defining moment. He had put together a four piece band and the group was such a hit they were asked to perform at the graduation ceremony, even writing a special song for the occasion. Hensley knew from then on what he wanted to do.
He continued to play parties with his own bands all throughout high school, honing his charismatic stage presence even more. The ability to command an audience might have something to do with genetic influence - his great-grandfather had been part of a traveling bluegrass band and his great, great-uncle was General George Patton. Whatever the case, Hensley grew as an artist, playing and writing his own songs, hosting events and eventually moving on to college where he briefly studied sound engineering. That hustling spirit kicked in once again though, and Hensley knew he would get further by being out in the world learning than he would in a classroom.
Some of his hands-on experience came in the form of touring California for two months with his band. They lived on the road, sleeping in their van despite opening for well-known acts along the coast. Hensley even managed to secure sponsorships from a clothing line and an energy drink during the short stint. That trip was also significant in that Hensley realized he was more than a guitarist and writer – he was also a singer. He’d always loved the voices of Marvin Gaye, Robin Thicke and Smokey Robinson and worked to emulate their smooth style.
Experience is also about diversification – and Hensley wasn’t about to let his time studying engineering go to waste. He kept himself busy in the music industry by producing songs for other artists, DJ-ing parties, and writing & producing his own beats. He has collaborated with DJ’s in Europe and South America and had success in the Electronic & Club worlds through his work with innovators such as Brilliance, Jeff Bass, and DJ Godfather. Now Hensley is a full-time member of “Your Generation In Concert;” the eight piece band in high demand in both Metro Detroit and across the country for corporate events.
All of those artistic links are part of what shaped Lewis Hensley, the person. He is a man who uses his music as a means to relate – to share experiences with people and hopefully put his stamp on the world. Even though his YGIC schedule keeps him booked with 120+ gigs a year, Hensley is putting out his own new music in 2017. The first single, “From The Darkness” was inspired by the solidarity and support he saw exhibited during the Women’s March on Washington in January. His music reminds people that there is hope and light out there in the world, and whether delivered by a charismatic artist on stage or a cheeky boy from the backseat of a Ford Escort, the message really hasn’t changed much over the years. Music connects us all.