DARNELL LEVINE - My new bio.
It's January 7th, 2008, an unusual 60 degree day in the middle of winter, and it's time to write an updated bio. I've decided to not present more stress on myself by looking for someone who will say what I'm about to say in a more elegant way. 3rd person bio, $100...gramatically incorrect bio to present to label execs...priceless.
So here we go. (thanks for the idea Sara B.)
Well, JOURNAL ENTRIES is an EP, my second studio recording. The first was called We Gon' Use What We Got (which is on iTunes and cdbaby.com) and it basically documented my whole life experience up until that point in music. 15 songs, wonderful friends to help make it, and a $5,000 budget. It is something I'm still pretty proud of. But as I began touring last year and realized I didn't want to dwell on it forever, I got scared. I wondered how I actually wrote those songs! I had writer's block bad, and it freaked me out quite a bit. My imagination could think up fictional things easy, but I wanted more. So I turned to my journals.
I know, so cliche...saying I just wrote straight from my journals. But that's what I started doing. I've been keeping journals since 2001, working on journal #7 now. And I decided that if I did this, I'd have to go all the way. So I became very selfish and wrote alot of "me" songs. Songs that were from my perspective only, the cold hard facts of the matter.
On the other side of things, I was broke. I didn't have a manager and couldn't keep up with the self-booking, self-managing. I knew if I wanted to stay afloat I'd have to make some changes. I decided to keep the songs in raw acoustic form, so you and I both can hear the words. I never ever have considered myself a piano player, I say "I play to write, that's all," but here I am playing and singing together in public. Have mercy!! So on this EP you'll hear me (vocals, piano) and a great musician/engineer named Jerry Narravo (upright bass). It took 4 long days to record and I'm very,very proud of it (you're gonna love it too! hopefully...). And I'm even happier that I get to tour more, go farther, and give you an CD of stuff that sounds just like what you heard the night of a show, only cleaner, and no coughing.
Did your influences stay the same?
Yes and no. After touring the soul-r&B-jazz scenes for about 2 yrs, I got kinda bored. I started listening more to indie radio stations, country (i actually like watching GAC...and I live in nashville, HELLO!), and oddly enough almost no jazz. Folks give the Bobby McFerrin/Al Jarreau comparisons all the time from the first record and my live shows, which are amazing to receive, but I never listened to them much at all (it's become sort of a complex now I admit). My jazz tinge is pretty much God-given, I admit I don't nurture it as much as I could. I also listened to folks like KT Tunstall (bought me a loop pedal b/c of her), Marc Brossaud, Jonny Lang, John Mayer (finally saw him in concert) for their commercial appeal but indie style; Ari Hest (met in Nashville one night) and Brandi Carlille who both have such unforgettably natural voices; also John Legend, Common, and Jill Scott because it's still good soul music; and most importantly Al Green...need I say more.
What do you except from Journal Entries?
The funny thing is the selfish part of me says as long as I get to play these songs anywhere I go, I don't care what "happens" (i.e major/indie label deal, front cover on rolling stone, oprah). But there's the other 49% of me that expects to touring 100-fold more than ever before, i.e. NY (never played before), LA (never played before), etc. Also, altough I'm still managing myself, I feel I'm better prepared than the first record, so prayerfully these 6 little songs will take me 3x as far as the first 15 songs did. Then in 2009 the full length album, The Journal, will bring it all together. It will:)
So thanks alot reading this here biography of me. Anything else?
The ORIGINAL Darnell Levine Biography (courtesy of www.darnelllevine.com)
Among Nashville's new leading musicians giving the Music City its urban appeal, singer/songwriter Darnell Levine has taken the genre and destoryed it! A strong blend of melody-driven jazz, lyrics of experience, a vocal a capella combined with dynamic performances, has quickly given Levine a reputation throughout the Southeast as one of the next musical geniuses of his time. With a fresh sound void of the today's recycled trends, he brings good music to your front door.
"Some call it soul, some call it jazz, some call it inspirational, but it's just good music. I just write songs I'd want to hear at least once a day." says Levine.
Sharing stages with artists such as multiple Grammy award-winner John Legend, Eric Roberson, and Bobby Blue Bland, Levine was featured in All The Rage as one of Nashville's new faces of music. Levine first gained his word-of-mouth following at Nashville's Lovenoise, the premier venue for artistic expression, which birth his first release Vocal Sessions EP. Almost two years later, he has returned to the studio to record his debut release "We Gon' Use What We Got."
"[Darnell is] an artist with a refreshing sound, who's not afraid to take creative chances," - Grammy Award-winning member of Take 6 Cedric Dent.
A Louisville, KY native, his parents introduced him to such artists as The Bee Gees, Take 6, and Sam Cooke at an early age and music instantly became his first love. He soon began percussion lessons in school and taught himself to play the piano, using the influences of his parent's music and his schooling to begin exploring his own voice.
As his passion for music grew in college, Levine and friends cultured their gifts through the creation of miCheck (pronounced mike-check), an open mic experience for everyday students and musicians. While there he was influenced by the hot and sweet sounds of jazz and the newly popular neo-soul movement. Equipped with this background, Levine was ready to write his own words and play his own music.
That music is fully captured on debut album "We Gon' Use What We Got", with 15 tracks that are sure to fulfill the demand for Levine's voice. Songs like "First Impressions" and "Table 42" showcase Levine's God-given storytelling abilities and his quest to balance sensitivity and humor without error.
He humbly grins saying, "I hope this record makes people tap their stirring wheels to good music again. I want people to sing along and feel good when they listen to this album from beginning to end. This is my first impression..."