Jodie Levinson is a rising singer/songwriter who has already released her debut full length album "In The City," a great mixture of blues, jazz, and pop influenced tunes. A native of the Garden State, Jodie spent many years focused on dance with a migration towards theatre and voice, but eventually gravitated toward singing. She developed her vocal skills with Jersey-based vocal coach Beth Schwartz, while also learning to play the piano which she continued to master during her college years at Skidmore. While at college, Jodie continued to sing on her own, but also directed the all female a capella group, The Skidmore Accents, and formed her own band Grace Over Glass. The group came out with an EP produced in the basement of music professor John Nazarenko. Throughout her college and summer days, Grace Over Glass performed in and around NYC at such legendary venues as The Bitter End, The Cutting Room, and Cafe Lena (in Saratoga Springs).
In the summer of 2009, Jodie met Producer Matt Pendergrast (song remixer for Mary J. Blige, Britney Spears, and Ciara) and together they recorded Jodie's first single "Matter of Taste," co-written with Zack Schwartz (whom wrote two other songs with Jodie for her debut album). Soon after this professional relationship took off, Jodie started working with hit composer/producer Lisa Ratner for such artists as Barbra Streisand, Vanessa Williams, and Dolly Parton. Jodie worked for Lisa as a lyricist for almost a year when Lisa suggested the collaborate on an album together, which became Jodie's debut album "In The City." Jodie gigs regularly with her band promoting "In The City" at The Bubble Lounge, Banjo Jim's, The Parkside Lounge, and Hat City Kitchen among other venues outside of Manhattan. When she is not performing a gig, Jodie can be found giving private lessons to other musicians as well as dedicating her time to her love of children by teaching them voice and piano at Bank St. School of Education and The Dalton School in NYC.
Jodie's debut album "In The City" is out now on iTunes, Amazon, and CD Baby and you can catch Jodie live in NYC on Friday, July 8 at The Parkside Lounge at 7:30pm (317 East Houston Street, between Ave. B and C). For much more on Jodie be sure to visit http://www.jodielevinson.com and http://www.facebook.com/jodielevinsonmusic!
1. Who or what inspired you to become a singer/songwriter? Wow. I'm racking my brain to find a specific "Ah Ha" moment that was dramatic and life changing. I love performing, writing, and singing so together it all seems to fit. Hearing an old favorite song on the radio (like Chaka Khan or Van Morrison) and getting a rush or when I get teary eyed listening to Jason Mraz or Jonatha Brooke.....these moments give me inspiration and motivation to write songs. I think back to great concerts, when Tracy Chapman or Etta James perform and the audience sings along to every word. There's nothing like it.
2. If you could perform alongside anyone, who would it be? Perform alongside? I would bring back Patrick Swayze and just look at him. Then Sheryl Crow and I could jam and write together and I could pick her brain.
3. How did you come up with the title and concept for your debut CD "In The City?" I wish it was poetic. I got so caught up in choosing an artsy title full of subtle meaning and then my producer one day just asked, "Aren't most of these songs about living and working in NYC?" And that was that. My 2nd album will have a crafty title.
4. What do you get from writing songs for other artists that you don't get from writing them yourself? When I write songs for others, often the client wants a pop song and I try to re-create all those catchy choruses that I have on my running mix. I remember studying Katy Perry's "Firework" for several hours. That said, I worked with a talented young singer once who opened up to me about how she's bullied and ostracized in school. Together we wrote a beautiful song about her struggles and what it feels like to walk through the halls every day in her shoes. That writing process was memorable and a story I would not have been able to write alone.
5. What is your favorite part of the creative process in making an album? I do enjoy collaborating with others. When I work with Lisa into the wee hours of the night and watch her add strings, rearrange chords and lyrics, and adjust vocals like a magician-it always leaves me with my jaw on the ground. I also enjoy writing with my guitarist friend Zack Schwartz. Sitting in his basement as I sing a story over a new lick he found on the guitar and watching as a new song takes shape. That is the best part. When he changes a melody or two of mine-it amazes me how two writers can fuel off of one another.
6. Favorite place to practice/rehearse on your own? My room is so small in NYC that I have to sit on my bed in order to play my keyboard. Then I have to move my keyboard out of the doorway each time I need to exit my room. I make coffee and put it on my bedside table that doubles as a music stand and I'm ready to go.
7. Favorite way to stay in shape? I run as often as I can on Riverside and take intermediate jazz dance classes with people who make me feel good about my skills. I also do voice warm-ups and practice every day.
8. Favorite skin care product? I would say St. Ives facial scrub (apricot). I use it every night even though "they" say not to.
9. Favorite website? If I'm not in google docs or gmail I'm on youtube. I will start youtubing one artist and see where it takes me. I often youtube "So You Think you Can Dance Episodes." I just can't get enough of it.
10. Superman or Wonder Woman? Superwoman.
11. What's the best advice you've ever received? "Stay a chapter ahead," said to me by my awesome neighbor and friend. As a band leader and teacher "being prepared" or just being ahead of the rest of 'em is important.
12. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? I dream about Paris ;)