Laurie has a new room with a view


The Female singer-songwriter enjoys huge commercial appeal worldwide.

Think Katie Melua, KT Tunstall, Tracy Chapman or Cheryl Crow.

But locally the same can't be said of this fact.

Brilliant singer-songwriters like Josie Fields and Laurie Levine, despite critical acclaim, aren't as popular as they should be. Why is that?

Levine's answer to this question is somewhat long-winded and she admits it's something she thinks about a lot.

"Perhaps it has something to do with people's perceptions of live music. Perhaps we require special venues. I know mine is listening music, it's not dancing music.

"It's all about what I say and laying it bare. Its draw card is its honesty. Personally, though, I haven't had a big marketing team behind me. Marketing is a slow process when you're doing things on your own."

Her debut album, Unspoken, released independently in 2006, was produced by Matthew Fink (who has worked with bands like The Black Hotels and Jim Nerversink).

It earned her a Sama nomination in the adult contemporary (English) category in 2007.

She's performed festivals like Oppikoppi, Splashy Fen, Levi's Vintage Sundays and the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz in 2008.

Even so, she has not been a regular performer on the gigging scene over 2008.

The release of her second album, Living Room, comes with an evolution to her sound and a whole new business approach.

"The music industry has changed dramatically over the years. Eighty percent of it happens online. There are dynamic ways of relating to fans on MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. And I plan to target that new media."

Living Room boasts Americana and country pop influences. It's organic and has that ambient vibe reminiscent of the British band Frou Frou.

"My new influences came from listening to independent songwriters and different ways of doing instrumentation. I worked with Dan Roberts, who works with Radio Kalahari Orkes. We found a common ground. We connected and did the album together.

"It was recorded at his intimate studio in Parktown North. I had about 20 songs and ended up using 12. It was a good one-and-a-half-year process, and the best year I've had creatively. It takes a while to know what kind of sound will suit you. Now I feel more convinced of where I'm going with my sound.

"I understand the industry better and I know what I need to do to sell my work."

  • Check out her website, www.laurielevine.co.za, for more information on the official album release date. Gigs confirmed for the launch of her new album are:

  • June 18 at Snap Wine Bar in Durban.

  • June 19 at The Vagabond Café in Salt Rock.

  • June 20 at the Zulu Jazz Bar in Durban.

  • July 3 at Mellof in Newcastle.

  • July 23 at Tanz Café, Joburg.

  • July 31 at Steak and Ale, Pretoria.

  • August 22 at Café Barcelona, Pretoria.

  • September 16 at Steak and Ale, Pretoria.


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