Harry Lewis began tinkling the ivories from the age of nine under the watchful eye
and ear of famed piano teacher Yvonne Combe.
Gaining entry to Syracuse University’s S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications
on the strength of some award-winning cartoons published in his high school newspaper,
Lewis studied advertising design, though he spent half his time attending student recitals
and auditing music classes at the university’s Crouse College.
Lewis met his first collaborator, Montreal composer Pierre Nolès, in 1978 while attending
a recording session for the French-language version of one of his jingles. By the time their
partnership ended two years later, Lewis was writing both lyrics and music himself.
In the decade that followed, Lewis wrote dozens of songs. His songs were first heard outside
the jingle world in 1990 when he was asked to co-write the music and lyrics for the inaugural season
of TVOntario’s children’s show Bookmice.
Seven years later, after hearing celebrated actor/singer Mary McCandless end a sold out concert
with Lewis’s “If I Could Be,” legendary actor and Smile Theatre Company artistic director Tom Kneebone
proposed that they team up on Ragtime Rosie, a one-act musical he was writing for McCandless. A year
later, McCandless recorded the musical’s 10-song score in addition to five more Lewis originals for the
CD 15 Songs In Search Of Broadway.
In late September 2003, when a scheduled act canceled three days before it was to appear in the
Upstairs Cabaret series at Toronto St. Lawrence Centre, Lewis agreed to step in. The resulting two-night
ad-libbed show, Postcards from the Heart, was a sensation. Ten months later, it premiered at the 2004
Toronto Fringe Festival as an 11-song musical revue, reconceived and directed by ACTRA Award-winning playwright
Jeri Craden, starring Lewis and triple-threats Lee-Anne Galloway and Christopher Wilson.
“Harry Lewis writes the kind of songs that make you feel like you've known him for years,” wrote
Toronto Star critic Richard Ouzounian. “I'd go anywhere to hear Harry Lewis sing some of his break-your-heart
Though Lewis writes most of his songs himself, he especially enjoys collaboration.