Discovering Levi Stephens’ music is like enjoying a surprisingly great meal at the local cafe you’ve passed a thousand times before finally deciding to stop in. You thought you knew what you were getting into, but this is something more, something different. It’s refreshing –a pleasant surprise that an artist in today’s single driven Industry, chooses to follow in the tradition of those classic singer-songwriters that came before by creating whole themed albums. His debut album, “This Way” goes far beyond the confines of R&B and seamlessly melds a variety of genres, from soul to rock to folk while always remaining honest, clever and conversational.
Levi’s affinity for singing can be attributed to growing up in the Washington, D.C. area in a home he remembers being filled with music. “My father was a big music head. We grew up listening to all kinds of really good music. Music was bigger than TV.” Like many artists, his musical roots began in church where Levi sang and played the piano. Outside of the church, young Levi was exposed to artists like Stevie Wonder, Bill Withers, Marvin Gaye and Donny Hathaway. In addition to those soul legends,
The Beatles, Paul Simon, James Taylor, Jimi Hendrix and Prince all made their mark on Levi’s musical style and led him to the guitar which was the final piece needed to create his sound.
Levi’s ability to incorporate multiple influences into his music can also be attributed to his role as a producer. Levi has written and produced songs on 702’s 2003 album “Star”, (Places and Certified), Raheem Devaughn’s 2005 album, “The Love Experience” (Believe) Angie Stone’s 2012 “Rich Girl” (Rich Girl and Do What You gotta Do), Chuck Brown’s 2014 “Beautiful Life” (Beautiful Life feat. Wale) and the Fat Albert Movie Soundtrack (Come on and Join the Gang).
With each song he writes, Levi’s goal is timelessness. “I feel like that kind of music will always have staying power no matter what changes around it” he says. His songs explor