Ears Wide Open: Pepper Lewis

Pepper Lewis (Photo by Mitchell Zaic)

If you’ve ever spotted QR code-adorned fliers around Silver Lake or Echo Park that say “ARE YOU HOT? ARE YOU ON PROZAC?” or “DOES YOUR BOYFRIEND HAVE A GIRLFRIEND?!?!,” you might be familiar with Pepper Lewis, aka New York-born singer-songwriter Tessa Weiner. Since moving to Los Angeles to pursue her music career, the Long Island native has penned material for television shows like “Catfish,” “Vanderpump Rules” and “The Real Housewives,” but she’s also been rolling out her own music. Her debut EP, “She Told Me To Sing My Heart Out,” arriving a few months ago.

Now Lewis is back with her first single following the EP. “Little Man,” out today, is a snappy, set-yourself-free breakup song about a lopsided relationship. “I ask the waitress if you left ’cause I’m defective,” Lewis sings in the track, “she says, ‘Oh please, lizard kings are poor investments’ so / I’ll take the train back / and listen to Lauryn in your clothes.” If Lewis ever tolerated this lizard king’s boorish antics, that time has passed: “Oh, stop fucking talking / disappointing, little man.” The song was produced by Jack Laboz, mixed by Moxy Brothers and features instrumentation by Mikey Freedom Hart, Adrian Young and Norwood Fisher.

“I wrote ‘Little Man’ after watching ‘American Crime Story: Impeachment,’ because I was so inspired by Monica Lewinsky’s consistent bravery during the media’s first major ‘cancellation,'” says Lewis, who co-wrote the song with Noah Longworth McGuire and Nate Flaks. “It was wild to learn about the power imbalance between Clinton and Lewinsky, and yet she was brutally publicly shamed, and vilified, simply because she was a woman. This pattern is still very alive today in our society, and I think it’s time we put a mirror up to the reality of romantic entanglements based off of power imbalance.”

The songwriter has cited Amy Winehouse and Remi Wolf as major influences — the latter is certainly evident from her EP and the single — as well as Bruce Springsteen and Miley Cyrus, two of her early inspirations.

||| Stream: “Little Man”

||| Also: Stream the “She Told Me to Sing My Heart Out” EP

Pepper Lewis · She Told Me To Sing My Heart Out