Trey Lewis’ Story Is So Much Deeper Than His NSFW TikTok Hit
"It just so happens that I put out a song about d--ks and buttf--ks, but I do have a hell of a story," Trey Lewis professes — and he's not kidding.
Lewis, a legit singer-songwriter, has a NSFW viral hit on his hands, but don't mistake "D--ked Down in Dallas" for country music parody, or Lewis himself as a comedian who sings. The Birmingham, Ala., native — who has never even been to Texas and is the type of Southern guy who drops the occasional "Yes, ma'am" in conversation — makes his living as a bar singer, and he's hoping that after you stop chuckling at those raunchy lyrics, you'll stick around to hear what else he has to say.
Lewis recently celebrated his 33rd birthday and has been sober for 13-and-a-half years. At the age of 19, he was in and out of jail and psychiatric wards "and all kinds of stuff," he says. He entered treatment, got both sober and the help he needed, and moved into a halfway house after finishing his program.
"My sponsor asked me what were my hopes and dreams," Lewis recounts, "and I said, 'I really don't know.' And he said, 'That's what we've gotta do, is get you hoping and dreaming again.'"
As a child, he "always wanted to be Garth Brooks." He'd sing with his uncles, and both his mom (a karaoke aficionado) and grandfather (a harmonica player) enjoyed music, but Lewis was, he says, quite shy.
"Sobriety helped me come out and be the person that I truly am today," he explains of how he can now get up onstage night after night. "Everything goes to that credit. That's the most important thing in my life."
It was while he was living in the halfway house, working as a smoothie maker, that Lewis picked up guitar, "to give my idle hands something to do." He'd never seriously played the instrument before (unless you count learning Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" or the riff of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" as a teenager, which he doesn't). Now, however, he's a songwriter, too, and has been for about eight years.
"I've overcome a lot in my life," he reflects, "and I'm just glad to show, you know, if you're an underdog or whatever, anything's possible in life. You've just gotta keep on going and never give up."
Lewis moved to Nashville about two years ago, and started writing every day. It's how he met Brent Gafford, Drew Trosclair and Matt McKinney, the writers of "Dallas," a song Lewis first heard when it was only a verse and a chorus. According to him, the song began as the story of a woman who'd "gone back to Dallas," with Dallas being a man and turned into ... well, a different sort of heartbreak story.
The writers never considered giving the song to anyone else, Lewis says. They knew it matched their friend's sense of humor: During bar gigs singing covers, Lewis has been known to change pieces of hit songs' lyrics to include swear words, "to make it interesting for myself [and] see if anybody's really paying attention." (He offered an example involving Jason Aldean's "Big Green Tractor" that we're not going to print.)
"My friends believed in me as an artist from the get-go," Lewis notes, heartened by the support Gafford, Trosclair, McKinney and other musical pals have shown him. The feeling's mutual: "I believe in my friends as much as I do my own self," he adds.
Well before he recorded it, Lewis began playing "Dallas" live — another opportunity to see who was actually listening to the words he sang. After a video of a performance during a Nashville songwriters' night began making the rounds online, he and producers Alex Maxwell and Grady Saxman (also Lewis' drummer) got into the studio to record an official version. They left out the song's original bridge, but kept its radio-ready melody.
"The key change was always a must," Lewis says, offering by way of explanation, "We all grew up listening to '90s country."
Lewis has loved seeing fans' TikTok videos soundtracked by "Dallas," and confesses the last couple of weeks have been "mind-blowing." He's heartened, he says, to see fans digging into his other music, too ("Whole Lot of Nothing," for example, saw a sales boost.)
"I think there's people out there that will love me for all the music that I put out, and there's some that won't," he muses, "and I'm okay with that."
Lewis, of course, doesn't want "Dallas" to be his only big song — but if this is as far as it goes, that's fine, too.
"I was perfectly fine with playing four cover gigs a week and writing songs with my friends, and if that was as big as it got, I was okay with that," he shares. "I was just happy to be doing music for a living full time."
Check Out the 20 Best Country Songs of 2020: