CHARLESTOWN — Veronica Lewis, the teenage piano virtuoso blues prodigy who made her debut at the 21st annual Rhythm & Roots Festival in 2018 when she was just 14 years old, will be presented with the inaugural New England Music Hall of Fame's "Best Young Artist of 2020" award during this year's festival, which kicks off Friday in Ninigret Park.
Lewis, who plays the blues piano boogie-woogie style, will be presented with the award by Daryl "Black Eagle" Jamieson, a military veteran who serves as chairman of the New England Music Hall of Fame’s Native American Cultural Arts Committee, shortly before she performs on the Rhythm Stage at 2 p.m.
Lewis started playing piano when she was a 6-year-old, thanks to her mom, who also serves as her manager. Veronica and her parents, Nancy and Charles, live in Haverhill, Mass. She graduated earlier this year from Georgetown High School, where she was the valedictorian of her graduating class.
In 2018 she traveled to Nesbit, Miss., to play on the piano of one of her idols — Jerry Lee Lewis.
“I played the piano of Jerry Lee Lewis,” she told The Sun in a 2018 interview. “And I played the song I wrote for him …. ‘Ode to Jerry Lee.’”
“He’s definitely my prime, top musician,” said Lewis, who also lists the late Katie Webster, Marcia Ball, Otis Spann and Meade Luxe Lewis as some other of her “idols.” She also grew up listening to Little Richard, Dr. John and Pinetop Perkins.
During the summer of 2019 Veronica formed her first band with Don Davis on sax and Mike Walsh on drums and performed at festivals and venues across New England. She has opened for Gary Hoey, Eric Gales, Popa Chubby, Mr. Sipp, Sugarray Rayford, Barrence Whitfield and Roomful of Blues and has performed with Marcia Ball and studied with Victor Wainwright. She released her debut album, “You Ain’t Unlucky” on Blue Heart Records. The album debuted at No. 2 on Billboard, No. 1 on iTunes and spent six weeks in the No. 1 spot on Roots Music Report.
The New England Music Hall of Fame was founded in 2019 to “unite, educate, promote and preserve” the integrity of New England’s Music history. For more information, visit https://nemhof.com