When it comes to music, Levina Lye (pronounced livin’ a lie) is well versed in it all. From her debut single “Fade Away” to her last single “Acting Like That-The Emo Queen Remix”, Levina Lye has proved that no one can contain her sound. RESPECT got a chance to sit down with the self-dubbed “Emo Queen” to discuss diversity and why standing out in the crowd is mandatory in her book.
RESPECT: First things first, how did you get your start in music?
Levina Lye: Since I was around three or four years old, I have always been fascinated by music. When I was in school I used to get in trouble for humming or doing something music related during class causing a distraction. [Laughs] As I got older, the feeling never left and I decided that it was something I was destined to do, so I started songwriting and the rest is what fans are seeing right now.
I see that you are a songwriter, have you or are you planning on working with any major acts in the industry?
A lot of the things I write are personal to me, so when it comes to writing most of it is for my fans. Although I would love to collaborate with other artists, my goal is to be transparent with my art to my fans so honestly, I can’t see my songwriting going beyond that.
I have I heard a lot of your music and you have done a few covers that actually sound better than the original, how do you select the songs you want to cover and how do you make them sound so original?
I don’t do covers of any song that’s just popular, I chose covers based off of songs that I strongly relate to. Outside of being an artist, I am a regular person who is going through life trying to find just like everyone else and always trying to find music that helps me deal with things and find hope. As far as originality, when I am able to connect to it more in that, it makes it easier to sound original although it’s not my words. Essentially the feelings and emotions behind the words are coming from a place that is in me that connected to something that was also in the original artist.
Your sound is very unique. Listening to your music I can easily hear the influence of almost all genres but it comes together so well, how would you describe your sound?
I would really say that my sound is experimental. Right now on Soundcloud, I have a song called “Monsters” and it is completely different from anything that I have done because it’s definitely my version of a Rock/Pop record.
What are some of the issues that you have faced in the industry as a new artist, but also as a woman who is jumping into a lot of male dominated genres?
One thing that bothers me is that people automatically assume that, because of the color of my skin, I only sing R&B. I think that by labeling someone’s talent based off of their skin color is extremely limiting and in some ways stifling to an individual’s creativity. Like if I wanted to have a Rock band does that make me an unauthentic person or make me desperate-no, that makes me, me.
It’s interesting that you brought up “Monster” because when I listened to that track it was very reminiscent of the Rock group Living Colour or even a TV on the Radio, both who were able to capture Soul in Rock Music…
That’s awesome, thank you because this is something that is important to me to put out there that people need to stop basing music on your color and what you look like. What I look like on the outside has nothing to do with the way I see the world and I really wish people would realize that we are all the same all over the world regardless of what our skin looks like or our hair texture. I don’t think any of those things matter when it comes to what we do skillfully. My goal is to make sure that everyone around me feels comfortable being 100 percent who they are.
Right now you are working on a new project, what can fans expect when they listen to it and will it be much different than the Pieces of Me EP?
Yes, I am definitely planning on putting out an album; as far as sound I plan on approaching this new project like I did with the single “Fade Away” meaning it will be 100 percent me but it will also be a little different as well. It’s crazy because I can listen to a beat that sounds more R&B and it can make me write something lovey-dovey and then in the next second hear a rock beat that has me writing songs about when people used me. (laughs) I think that honestly is one of the things that makes my music great because it’s so versatile and almost everyone can relate to one thing if not all of it.
To keep up with the latest from Levina Lye, check her out online here:
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