In a generation of beat boxes and auto tunes, it is hard to uncover a true sound. That is, until you uncover the sounds of Levi Stephens. A native to the nation’s capital, Levi Stephens takes your listening sessions to higher heights.
Like most singers and musicians, Stephens’ musical career started in the church, but his music knowledge came from his home. “Growing up, my father was a music connoisseur. My dad was into all types of music including jazz, R&B, and classical,” Stephens said. “We listened to everything from Stevie Wonder and Simon & Garfunkel to Miles Davis and the Carpenters. In my home we listened to music more than we watched television.”
It wasn’t until high school, when Stephens’ music journey began to evolve. He sang in the school choir and began to write songs. “Looking back I was very quiet and was an under achiever in high school. But I excelled the most in music.” After graduation, Stephens’ stumbled upon a Black Enterprise magazine with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis gracing the cover. The article really inspired Stephens’ to pursue a career in music.
In the beginning, Stephens didn’t start out in the forefront, but instead made a name for himself behind the scenes by writing and producing. Alongside his musical partners Warren Jones and Isaac Lewis, they produced records for artist such as Raheem Devaughn and 702.
A few years later, Stephens decided to step into the spotlight to fully display his talent both vocally and musically. Stephens describes his debut album This Way as, “Heartfelt, genuine and soulful.” “I tried to be all those things while creating this album.”
You could try to bind Levi Stephens’ music into one genre but that would be virtually impossible. With music as unique, diversified and timeless, there is no doubt that his career is undoubtedly On the Rise.
Socialtik Mag: What are the most recently played artists in your iPod?
Levi Stephens: Right now I’m listening to Crawl by Chris Brown and I have a Car Mix. The Car Mix consists of Dave Matthews Band, John Mayer, Cold Play, Mute Math, Fleetwood Mac, Temptations, Four Tops, Sam Cooke, and Brad Paisley. There’s some Memphis Soul, Sam and Dave, Otis Redding, and Donny Hathaway.
SM: What motivates you?
LS: From day one, I’ve wanted to be successful. I want to put out music that connects with people, music that comes from the heart. I want to make an impact and be respected. I want to leave music better than the way I found it.
SM: What is your ultimate goal?
LS: It would be sweet to win a Grammy. I would love to win one for my mom, but eventually I want to retire to a position at Disney Entertainment. There are so many different genres and artists that I would love to be in the mix of all those opportunities. Until then, I definitely see a good six or seven albums in me.
February 22, 2010- Ben’s Next Door- 1213 U street, NW Washington, DC. 9:00pm No Cover
February 26, 2010- Hominy Restaurant- 200 11th Street, NW Washington, DC. 11:00pm, $10