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NewTracks New Artist: Lévyne

NewTracks New Artist: Lévyne

Since 2018 Sophie Bialostocki has gone under the stage name Lévyne. The Aucklander describes the piano as her main instrument, and a natural knack for a good pop melody and layering of interesting sounds is very much evident on her latest single Look At Me, which made it on NZ On Air Music’s NewTracks compilation this April.

What’s your name and where are you from ?

My name’s Sophie Bialostocki. I’m from Auckland originally and I’m a keyboards/piano player.

Was any high school or other music training especially important to you?

I was lucky to have very supportive teachers throughout high school and university while I was studying music, they gave me a lot of great opportunities.

Are there any other previous musical entities we might know you from?

Lévyne is my first project!

What’s the background of how Lévyne came to be?

I wanted the project to evolve from the music I’d previously written. It started in 2018 when I’d been getting way more into producing and co-writing. At that time I was writing songs in my friend’s makeshift studio a lot, and in my friends’ bedrooms.

That’s when I released my first song, Misfit, a song I’d written alone in that little studio and worked on with a friend. I started working a lot more with other people and developing a little community around me. I had quite a few friends starting projects around the same time, starting to creatively commit to something feels natural when you’re surrounded by people doing the same thing I think. Since then I’ve done a lot, I’ve written so much music and played a whole lot of amazing shows and I can’t wait to keep going! I have so much coming…

How has your work evolved from your beginnings in songwriting to now?

I wrote songs from a young age on the piano, my first ever public performance of an original was my graduation song I wrote as I was leaving primary school! I continued that way until I left high school, just playing instruments. I discovered production and electronic composition later, and really started drawing from a wider range of things.

How did you choose the name for your new project?

Names are hard. I wish I had an easy or unique birth name to work with. I studied geology and environmental science before I studied music at Auckland University and I love that field a lot. Lévyne is a small, pretty crystal that grows on things, a little hidden gem. I think I felt that way sometimes, a bit hidden, and I liked the way the name looked. Now here we are!

What’s been the big highlight to date? 

I was really lucky to be able to play some songs at the Auckland Town Hall which was cool. Feels like an important stage to get to play on, so many phenomenal acts and musical groups play there.

What makes Look At Me stand out for you as a single?

It just has a magical quality about it that I don’t think I’ve achieved in anything else. It’s fun and playful and doesn’t take itself too seriously.

What’s the story behind Look At Me?

Look At Me came from a pretty innocent place of being anxious for new relationships to start, whether that be good nerves or bad nerves. It’s a little expression of being worried about the future.

What’s your favourite moment, musical or lyrical, of the single?

It’s so hard, I’m tossing up between the glittery intro and the way the first chorus hits. Lyrically it’s strong too, but sonic things get me the most excited.

Who did you record/produce the single with? 

The session Look At Me was written in was the first day that Struan Finlay and I had actually met properly. Somehow this little glittery guitar we recorded swept us away and we actually fully produced the intro before we’d done anything else. We had this weird laughing fit of disbelief because we thought the first 30 seconds was just so cool. We were just getting to know each other but we’d found common ground in the idea of starting relationships, so that’s what the song quickly became about, and being anxious something would ruin them.

What would you like those hearing it to take away from the song?

I’d like listeners to be able to listen to it and be able to relate to those jitters. Maybe it’ll give someone some courage, who knows?

How do you generally work out what song would make a good single?

Often having a few songs to compare really brings out the strength of one that might be good as a single. Although, for Look At Me, I knew it would be a single off the bat.

Who else is in your team?

I work with a few producers like Struan, but everything else is myself! Still very much independent in every sense. I’m looking to build a solid team soon hopefully.

Are there any other musical endeavours you’re working on that we should keep an eye out for? 

Keep your eyes on Lévyne! It’ll keep coming. I’m also the synth/miscellaneous equipment player in another band called Luckyboy^. It’s the eclectic brain child of Simeon Kavanagh-Vincent. We play a decent amount of live shows, ever increasing. It’s unique and theatrical and makes you happy, it’s delightful. Just think of clouds and the colour teal.

Can you name three other local tunes that would fit well on a playlist alongside your song.

Chelsea JadeSuperfan
Navvy – My Love
Merk – H.N.Y.B

Have any previous NZOA applications not gained funding or been included on NewTracks? Got any advice for others?

I have applied for NewTracks before but this is the first time I was successful. I’ve applied for funding a few times! I think it’s a combination of a few things. First developing a bit of a track record, then making sure your songs are the best they can be, and a matter of knowing what your song is suited to in terms of radio and playlists. It’s just important to know roughly where you might fit in the scene. And keep on trying. Persevere.

Was there an NZOA criterion you struggled with in the application? How did you work it out in the end?

I found a number of them hard but I think the key is to keep it up and get creative about avenues you could take to get to where you need to go. Eventually you’ll get there. It’s different for everyone. I’m still figuring a lot out myself!

Are there any musical blogs, Youtube channels or podcasts you’re super into?

I read Coup de Main and Pigeons and Planes a lot. I’m quite into podcasts, a few music podcasts I listen to are And The Writer Is, Song Exploder and This Sounds Better. I also love some random facts like No Such Thing As a Fish.

Any last words?

Thank you!

 

New Tracks is a compilation of new music from New Zealand artists which is distributed to broadcast and online platforms on the first of each month. Previously the Kiwi Hit Disc, New Tracks is one of the ways that New Zealand on Air promotes kiwi music to the industry, radio, streaming services, and media. To apply for New Tracks you must have a completed, airplay-ready song and a promotional plan.