Toronto singer played Drizzy’s onscreen girlfriend but is focused on music with the release of independent album 5-4-3-2-1.
By Jayson Rodriguez with reporting by Matt Elias
On paper Andrea Lewis has a lot in common with her former onscreen beau, Aubrey “Drake” Graham: Lewis is a Toronto native and was once a regular castmember of “Degrassi: The Next Generation.” And after her character, Hazel Aden, graduated from the series, Lewis, like Drake, chose to pursue a career in music over acting at least for the time being.
Now, as Lewis promotes her independent album 5-4-3-2-1, which features ballads and uptempo numbers like the pulsating “Voodoo,” she finds herself being compared with her friend.
“I’ve grown up with [Drake] and we both do music and were both on the same show, so it’s natural for people to say, ‘Oh, you should do a song together, you’re doing the same career,’ ” Lewis told MTV News about inevitable comparisons to the Thank Me Later star. Lewis’ character and Drake’s, Jimmy Brooks, dated for three seasons on the show.
“I’m happy for his success and can’t wait to share a stage and have a … ‘Degrassi’-like reunion,” she continued with a laugh. “He’s always gonna be one of my closest friends, because we both had such a journey together.”
But though Lewis and Drake share a musical inclination and small-screen roots, the comparisons end there. Lewis previously released a collection of songs in her hometown and her character sang here and there on the teen series. After her character’s departure from “Degrassi” in 2006, Lewis relocated to Los Angeles to attempt a career in music.
The two musical efforts differ in scope, however. At 25, Lewis now has a much more firm understanding of herself as an artist, she said. She described 5-4-3-2-1 as her firstborn.
“I was pretty nervous. It’s a lot different being a Canadian actress releasing music in Canada,” she admitted. “It’s totally different coming to the U.S. So far the reception has been awesome, though. People love it. The great thing about ‘Degrassi’ is that it has fans worldwide, so people are just excited by it ’cause they love the show.”
These days, Lewis is balancing her singing pursuits with her own acting projects, including plans to turn her blog, ThoseGirlsAreWild.com, into a sketch comedy show. She hopes her indie set lands her a recording deal with a major label, where she could collaborate in the future with the likes of Cee-Lo or Outkast’s Andre 3000, who she samples on the driving “Raindrops.”
Overall, Lewis wants to continue to connect with fans of her acting and turn them along with some new friends into fans of her music.
“The theme of the album is love, but not the side of love that you think people would be talking about,” Lewis explained. “It’s more of the darker side, things not working out, getting your heart broken. I would like people to be able to relate to the project as much as possible. At the end of the day, I’m a normal girl that’s been through the same things that a lot of people have been through. I’m just trying to express it through music.”
What do you think of Lewis making the switch to music? Let us know in the comments!