Sounds of Liorah LEVMonday, November 22, 2021
BY HOWARD CAMPBELL
AS a student at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, Liorah LEV learned the intricacies of sound and the importance of structure when composing music. She also keeps in tune with the contemporary scene.
The South Florida native, who has Jamaican roots, blends technique and pop grooves on I Am LEV, her first EP, which was released on November 19. Lev says she wanted to show her versatility on the six-song project.
“I felt it was important, especially as a singer-songwriter-producer, to showcase my musical interests and talent in a way that doesn't place me inside a box. Yes, my main genre is electronic pop music, however, I infuse styles from other genres into those compositions,” she explained. “For example, I love to use my jazz training to make cross-over improvisations. I also utilise elements of reggae, EDM [electronic dance music], and funk. It's unexpected and, I believe, unique and fresh.”
She points to three songs from I Am LEV as examples. Nerve has a roots-reggae feel with a jazz-inspired bridge while Puppet carries a dancehall/reggae flavour. LEV also shows off her saxophone skills on an acoustic jazz rendition of Earth Wind and Fire's September.
Three singles hit the market prior to the EP's release. They are Taking Over, her first song, which came out on June 4. It was followed by Let Go and Nerve which features Frank Burt (of Buju Banton's band) on bass.
LEV was born Lindsay Levy in Miami. She describes herself as “a child of the Jamaican Diaspora”, growing up in a musical home and appreciating everything from jazz to pop and reggae.
I Am LEVwas recorded during the past year amid the challenges of COVID-19 and completed shortly after LEV graduated from Berklee.
While she has a preference for EDM and jazz, her current playlist includes its share of Jamaican artistes.
“These days, I'm listening to Bob's [Marley] children, Damian Marley, Stephen Marley, and grandson Skip Marley; Third World and Inner Circle. I also like Shaggy a lot – talk about someone who keeps reinventing himself and staying relevant!” LEV exclaimed. “Koffee, I think she's modernising reggae and mixing up her beats with hip hop and rap; I just love her sound. J Hus is also on my radar and current playlists. I also love some of the ladies of dancehall, Spice and Shenseea included. The beats are everything, even though their lyrics, wow, they are as explicit as they can get.”