Stars / Levina

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Unexpected Session 2017 (c) Walter Glöckle


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Germany’s entry for the Eurovision Song Contest 2017 is the perfect liaison of Nordic metropolitan charm, a deep, husky voice of international class, and a song that will sweep Europe of it’s feet: At the German preliminary show, Levina eclipsed more than 2,000 aspirants and deservedly performs her song “Perfect Life” at the ESC finals in Kiev.

Besides her unique voice, it’s Levina’s pleasant lack of agitation that attracts the attention first. Where does the 25-year-old get this kind of serenity? »It may be a result of making music for such a long time – just not in front of such a big audience«, Levina laughs. »I feel as if I’ve been preparing for this moment for years. Things didn’t always run smoothly for me, you know – there were disappointments and setbacks, especially when you go all in for your music – that’s why I feel like the tension rather eases off, now that all doors are open. All this may have come at breakneck speed, but I’m absolutely ready for it and just very happy.«

This special, unobtrusive zest for life is reflected in her songs as well. Levina’s lyrics often bare a deeper level and do not shy away from divisive social topics, however, her compositions always find a positive perspective. »That’s very important to me. After a difficult phase in my life, I’ve realized that you can draw something positive from the supposedly negative. I’ve learnt that you have to motivate yourself and have your own back – that way a lot can be achieved. And this is the golden thread of my album ›Unexpected‹. The title represents my situation – the unexpected success at the preliminaries and everything that started from there, but I consciously took it from my ESC song ›Perfect Life‹: ‚I come alive inside the light of the unexpected’ – this line sums up my life perfectly at the moment.«

Isabella Levina Lueen was born in Bonn, but moved to Chemnitz with her parents as a small child and started to sing in the primary school’s choir. Her voice immediately caught the choirmaster’s attention and she recommended taking vocal lessons. Levina’s extraordinary talent led to her winning the acclaimed German regional, federal, and national music competition “Jugend musiziert” at the age of nine. She wrote her own songs at twelve, successfully studied vocals and composition at the London Tech Music School, and was promptly awarded “Best Vocal Performer”. »I didn’t look for contests, they kind of came to me. It was great being nominated by the music school; the others were school or university projects. I always considered them an opportunity to make new experiences. Of course, it’s nice knowing where you stand, but I try to avoid preset expectations and make the best of everything. That may be the reason why my stage fright isn’t too bad. I’m actually ‘switched on’ by it. Naturally I was nervous at the preliminary TV-show, for example, but I try to focus on myself in these situations –breathe, close my eyes, and perform as if only twenty people were listening. I quite enjoy it actually. I’ll try to approach the gigantic ESC-Show similarly and not get overly excited. I’m more interested in the great, border-crossing music event than in my position in the ranking. My aim is to deliver a performance I can be proud of and I’ll want to watch afterwards – and if the audience in the venue as well as in front of the TV screens enjoy my show, I’ll definitely be happy.«

Apart from Levina’s Eurovision single “Perfect Life”, penned by the team around US platinum composer Lindy Robbins, who has written hits for stars like Jason Derulo, David Guetta, Olly Murs, and Demi Lovato, “Unexpected”, slated for late April, features the dance-infused single remix by Madizin and eleven other songs. The album offers Levina’s own material as well as her collaborations in composition and lyrics. Just like “Perfect Life”, “The Current” quite accurately describes Levina’s attitude when it comes to not taking things too seriously and being inspired by what life has to offer. “Stop Right There” reveals parallels as well: »At times when people talk about you a lot, you should try not to let it influence you. You have to protect your mind and make sure that criticism doesn’t get to you too much. ›Courage to Say Goodbye‹ is about the end of a relationship and the courage it takes to not maintain it at all costs. It’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t work anymore – it’s just very hard to say it out loud for the first time.«

“Nothing At All” was written completely by Levina. The song, which, at second glance, has a political message, was completed before the production of “Unexpected” even began. »The song is about xenophobia and how it’s better to think before projecting your own suffering onto somebody else. Sometimes it’s better to not say anything at all before saying something stupid.« Tracks like “Echo”, “Ordinary People” or “Nothing More Beautiful” are equally determined and special and all of them leave an appropriate calling card for a brilliant album, coming from a young musician, who knows what she’s doing. A woman, who holds her opinions without putting them on display as a mere end in themselves, and doesn’t consider empowerment a mere hash tag.