Levi Tearr always knew what he wanted to do when he grew up: to produce and perform his own music all over the world. And every move the singer/songwriter made towards attaining his dream was fully orchestrated. During his childhood, Tearr spent countless hours in his father’s recording studio perfecting his craft to become a well-rounded artist.
Besides mastering several instruments (guitar, bass guitar, keyboards and drums), he gained confidence behind the engineering boards. One of his first professional gigs was hosting a very popular jam session in his hometown of Amsterdam, Holland. After establishing his talents on the local circuit, Tearr signed with an agency that promoted him internationally with as many as twenty-five plus shows a month for several years. Embracing a firm independent spirit, Tearr avoided relying on producers to dictate his musical vision, and built his own studio to carry on his recording and production endeavors. Tearr’s debut in 2010, E.O.S. Expressions of Self, served big helpings of neo soul and reggae in a minimalist laid back setting.
His latest, Beyond Belief, continues on the same lines of E.O.S. and adds some rock flavored tracks. Tearr’s biggest strengths on Beyond Belief lie with his complex arrangements that utilize plenty of improvisation, quirky rhythmic timing and vocal phrasing. His jazzy vocal tone meshes well with the roots reggae-fueled “Carry You,” the R&B ballad “Closer to You” and the be-bop attitude of “Heaven-Sent.” Tearr’s delicate side is showcased on “So Fly,” decorated with sparkling Fender Rhodes piano. In a change of pace from his usual laid back mood, Tearr shifts to the more intense “Can’t Breathe,” which flexes a soulful rock vibe.
Though Beyond Belief shows glimpses of Tearr’s unique musical sculptures, there are several instances of unpolished lyrical songwriting (“She Don’t What It Is” and “With You”) and lame vocal fills - especially on the title track trilogy and “Intoxsexcated.” But even with the bumps on Beyond Belief, Tearr remains a consummate, highly focused independent musician who has fulfilled his childhood dream to share with the rest of the world.
Music: 3.0 starsLyrics: 1.5 starsVocals: 2.5 starsProduction: 2.5 starsSoulTracks Call: Mildly Recommended
By Peggy Oliver