Tell Me About Levar Thomas, the artist?
I’m a singer and songwriter born in South Carolina, I have been in love with music my whole life. When I was around 7 yrs. old, my brother and I joined the choir at our church. I loved singing with the chori and around 13, I joined a singing group with a few of my cousins. We sang together over 10 years. Between singing with them and at church, I grew to love music even more. Now I live in NYC and I still want to be artist but more these days, I’m focusing on sharing my catalog and writings with other artists.
How do you as an artist differ from you as a writer?
I’m pretty much the same in both arenas. When I write for myself I take a more adventurous approach. I’m not afraid to sing or write in a style that may not be so popular. I have pop, reggae and soul songs, and I would love to do a gritty rock jam. When I write for others though, I consider the kind of artist they are. I wouldn’t write the same song for myself that I would for a more pop artist.
How long have you been pursuing this dream of yours?
On and off for about 17 years. I took some time to grow up, live life and work but in the last 4 years I have really focused on getting my career off the ground.
How do you feel about the large amount of writers turned artist coming out?
I can’t knock that and I think some of them are doing a great job. Some should have remained strictly songwriters though. LOL! I think it’s good if you write so much that you have an overflow to share with others. Babyface is a great example of this. He has his own #1 hits and penned many for others.
If you had to compare yourself to an artist from the past, who would it be and why?
That is a good question and I don’t know if I could answer it properly. I think the way I’m doing things in the digital age is like no other. Artists from the past didn’t really have ProTools, home studios, Facebook, and Twitter to showcase music at the rate artists can now. I do however draw my influence from artists like Luther Vandross, Stevie Wonder and Donny Hathaway. These artists carry a positive message in their songs and found clever ways to make songs sexy without offending anyone.
What were you doing before singing and songwriting?
It’s what I’ve done my whole life. I think I was probably watching G.I. Joe and playing in sand before then.
What types of goals did you set for yourself when you began to take on the entertainment world?
I’ve always kept my goals attainable. Before I’m 80, I want a Grammy Award or two. It would be great to make a living doing something I love.
How do you feel about the Male R &B singers out today?
Mostly copycat but there are some who are keeping real music alive. There are also some who want to keep real music alive but when you have to feed the kids, you gotta do what’s making money. I hope in the coming years that we can find a happy medium and making future classics everyone can enjoy.
Personally, I’m a little sick of the use of the auto tune. Do you think using the auto tune takes away from your artistry or adds something fresh?
Autotune is used in mostly all recordings. If used lightly it adds a very smooth tone to the voice. When turned up to extreme it sounds robotic. I can’t lie and say I haven’t been bobbin’ to some T-Pain but when it’s used to disguise otherwise bad singing. I can’t deal with it. That takes some of the artistry away when a singer hasn’t taken the time to learn to sing properly. Music will die if we don’t try harder.
Who or what are you currently listening to constantly?
Old School, Old School, Old School. My main staple would probably be songs from the roller rink era- the 1990’s. Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, Stevie Wonder, Luther Vandross, Marvin Gaye. I also enjoy Classic Rock and Pop like Journey and Chicago.