Lilli Lewis has been the Folk Rock Diva since performing in the folk rock band The Shiz, which was founded with her wife Liz Hogan.
During the shutdown, Lewis performed a powerful set for the Kennedy Center’s Arts Across America series, sang “My American Heart” for a voters’ rights benefit (where Broadway star Mandy Patinkin compared her voice to “the color of light”), and performed for WWOZ-FM’s Piano Night benefit alongside celebrated artists like Jon Batiste and Ivan Neville.
As the live music scene started to rev up again, Lewis started 2022 with a live set for The Kennedy Center, followed by performances at New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, and Mountain Stage to name a few. Lewis also received a “Spirit of Folk” award from Folk Alliance International for her efforts with a New Orleans-based public health campaign and her work in diversity, equity, and inclusion in folk, Americana, and country music.
Her full ensemble, known as the Lilli Lewis Project, is a “pan-generational cult of radical decency” willing to traverse any musical terrain, bearing the spirit of days when everyone still seemed to believe music could change the world.
As the story goes, Lewis’ mother was told her baby probably wouldn’t survive because of lung trouble in utero. Lewis now uses those same lungs to bring what she calls sacred songs into profane spaces, and though she has abandoned trying to define her sound, she hopes her audiences leave her performances knowing two things: that they are brilliant as they are, and that they have the ability to use their own brilliance to make a better world.