Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Album review and audio: Storyteller by teen singer Kassy Levels
You wouldn't believe us if we said this girl is 14.
DALLAS Thinking back to freshman year, there was the fear of moving to high school and approaching driving age. For Kassy Levels, being 14 means she's just released her debut album. The teen singer/songwriter from McKinney has come a long way since first being “discovered” at the age of 9 by her Sunday school teacher. It was there that she tapped into her passion for songwriting and began her artistic journey.
Storyteller is a thorough record painted with soul, pain, and celebration. Levels’ resonant alto stretches far beyond her years, harnessing Joss Stones’ essence and rich tones. But she doesn’t rest on her strong vocals; each track is built with a different instrument and tempo to prove she isn’t a one-note singer. The opening track, “This One’s For Me,” brings in the soft acoustic guitar to lighten the mood and really maximize Levels’ voice.
While the album is stuffed with ballads (“The Getaway, Love Across the Street”), there is no definitive mood overall. This really gives her room to grow and learn where she fits best, and also to reach more audiences. “Never Ending Crush” brings out that smooth R&B vibe and adds years to her already-mature style. She also plays the guitar.
"Once Upon A Time" -- Kassy Levels"Once Upon A Time" by Kassy Levels
It’s apparent that Levels is versatile and is talented enough to not have to choose a genre. But the more cheerful pop songs really define her and match her angelic voice. “Once Upon a Time” and “Sweet Dear” sugar her more somber tracks with an airy summer getaway. It’s hard to imagine such a young artist writing the deeply emotional ballads, so these lighter songs help bring us back to the youthful energy she offers.
Storyteller will be out Saturday, with a Friday release party introducing the debut record at the Courtyard Theatre of Plano. She is teaming up with Book Drive for Kids, an organization that distributes books to disadvantaged children.
Bring a book and an open ear; this girl is worth it.