Among Nashville’s new leading musicians giving the Music City its urban appeal, singer/songwriter Darnell Levine has taken the genre and destoryed it! A strong blend of melody-driven jazz, lyrics of experience, a vocal a capella combined with dynamic performances, has quickly given Levine a reputation throughout the Southeast as one of the next musical geniuses of his time. With a fresh sound void of the today’s recycled trends, he brings good music to your front door.
“Some call it soul, some call it jazz, some call it inspirational, but it’s just good music. I just write songs I’d want to hear at least once a day.” says Levine.
Sharing stages with artists such as multiple Grammy award-winner John Legend, Eric Roberson, and Bobby Blue Bland, Levine was featured in All The Rage as one of Nashville’s new faces of music. Levine first gained his word-of-mouth following at Nashville’s Lovenoise, the premier venue for artistic expression, which birth his first release Vocal Sessions EP. Almost two years later, he has returned to the studio to record his debut release “We Gon’ Use What We Got.”
“[Darnell is] an artist with a refreshing sound, who’s not afraid to take creative chances,” - Grammy Award-winning member of Take 6 Cedric Dent.
A Louisville, KY native, his parents introduced him to such artists as The Bee Gees, Take 6, and Sam Cooke at an early age and music instantly became his first love. He soon began percussion lessons in school and taught himself to play the piano, using the influences of his parent’s music and his schooling to begin exploring his own voice.
As his passion for music grew in college, Levine and friends cultured their gifts through the creation of miCheck (pronounced mike-check), an open mic experience for everyday students and musicians. While there he was influenced by the hot and sweet sounds of jazz and the newly popular neo-soul movement. Equipped with this background, Levine was ready to write his own words and play his own music.
That music is fully captured on debut album "We Gon’ Use What We Got", with 15 tracks that are sure to fulfill the demand for Levine’s voice. Songs like “First Impressions” and “Table 42” showcase Levine’s God-given storytelling abilities and his quest to balance sensitivity and humor without error.
He humbly grins saying, “I hope this record makes people tap their stirring wheels to good music again. I want people to sing along and feel good when they listen to this album from beginning to end. This is my first impression...”
Darnell Levine Video EPK:
Lead Vocals/Percussion: Darnell Levine
Keys/Vocals - Tyrus Sass
Bass/Vocals - Hinkie
Drums - Benard Bell
Press Record: LiveEPone (HAND2CHEST MUSIC 2007)
We Gon' Use What We Got (HAND2CHEST MUSIC 2006)
Vocal Sessions EP (HAND2CHEST MUSIC 2004)
Our Critic's Picks
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DARNELL LEVINE Since coming to Middle Tennessee in 2003 to study at MTSU, Darnell Levine has made a ...DARNELL LEVINE Since coming to Middle Tennessee in 2003 to study at MTSU, Darnell Levine has made a name for himself through frequent sets at the Lovenoise urban music showcase at the Bar Car in Cummins Station. A rising soul-R&B singer with the kind of honey-soaked voice that makes women swoon—think Stevie Wonder meets Al Jarreau—Levine wrote all but one of the songs (Billy Joel’s “Just the Way You Are”) on his new album We Gon’ Use What We Got. Featuring a mix of rich stacked harmonies reminiscent of Take 6, strong melodies and a free-flowing jazz sensibility, it’s an undeniably strong debut, and it’s easy to see bigger things ahead for him. The piano accompaniment on the sublime title track features a recurring dissonant flat-fifth note, making clear Levine isn’t afraid to venture into darker musical territory. His music is smooth, but such harmonic complexities prevent it from being “lite.” Kijiji Coffee House —JACK SILVERMAN
The DJ Random Review
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Soul/Jazz: If you didn’t know already, I’m here to tell you that MySpace is a beast! A young cat out...Soul/Jazz: If you didn’t know already, I’m here to tell you that MySpace is a beast! A young cat out of ‘Cashville’ named Darnell Levine sent me a friend request and asked me to check out a few of his songs. Intrigued by what I heard, I asked him to send his full CD “Use What We Got” and his info. I was a bit skeptical at the start with the ½ minute opener ‘Mic Check 1, 2’, but then he flowed right into the title track which showcases his sound, that will put you in the mindset of Al Jarreau, Bobby McFerrin or Take 6. He follows that up with my favorite track on the CD ‘You Can’t Grow’ which will have you noddin’ your head and singing along. Other cuts that will stick in your head are the very smooth ‘Kiss Yourself For Me’ and ‘Married Now’ that uses an interpretation of ‘Baby Come Back’ by the 70’s rock group Player. Levine also provides a very serviceable version of the Billy Joel classic ‘Just The Way You Are’. (I would have been REAL mad if he messed up a song by one of my Top 5 artists!) There were 2 songs that had me scratching my head, solely because I couldn’t figure out where I had heard the melodies – then it hit me. If you listen to ‘Nothin’ Like Friends’, it sounds very much like the old ‘Figure 8’ cartoon from the School House Rock series! Further, the melody for ‘First Impression’ is eerily similar to one of the filler songs used on the Fat Albert Show, with the exception of some skilled scat singing at the end by Levine and Tiffany Dupree. After listening to the final track, ‘Breakthrough’, I sat back and thought to myself, “That was a damn good CD!” It’s definitely worth your time and $$$ to take a listen. (3.9 Ears)
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Neo-soul is not a label that I enjoy these days. I commented to someone the other day that "neo-sou...Neo-soul is not a label that I enjoy these days. I commented to someone the other day that "neo-soul" is no more "soulful" than "smooth jazz" is actually "jazz". Few artists stand out...very few have that unique stamp called individuality...and for that reason, "We 'Gon Use What We Got" by Darnell Levine stands tall.
Many will classify this album as neo-soul, simply because it's the easiest way to define it, but I would daresay that this album is "universal soul" at it's finest.
From the acapella Take 6/Manhattan Transfer-ish intro "MiCheck 1...2...", Levine establishes in the first 20 seconds that he is well-listened and his vision is larger than any one genre. Gliding with edge right into the title track, Levine displays his penchant for blending his Bobby McFerrin influenced vocals with clever--and at times satirical--lyrics. As opening tracks should, "Use What We Got" establishes the vibe of the album in it's entirety...Thought-provoking yet light hearted...Humourous, but entirely serious.
The fact that Levine doesn't mind clowning from time to time throughout the album (The party-vibe is contagious) makes listening to the album a breezy and thoroughly enjoyable experience.
He also doesn't mind being sentimental. "Nothin' Like Friends" and the brilliant "You Don't Care" (which almost has a Billy Joel-ish influence) are both proofs of Levine's introspective, lyrical powers. They are intriguing both melodically and lyrically...and his amazing harmonies almost give the impression of a string section.
The highlight of the album for me is "Kiss Yourself For Me", a song that will land in my personal Top 10 of the year. "Kiss Yourself" is one of the most "perfect" songs I've heard in a loooooong time. It is personal, yet completely universal...a "story" taking place even as we listen...and it could be happening to Darnell...or us...and that's why it works. His heartfelt vocal delivery further conveys the deep emotion that lives in every line of the composition.
What I appreciate the most about this album from a musical standpoint is the limited use of programming...If there IS any drum programming, it certainly doesn't sound like it...which gives the album a very "live" feel, which also sets it apart from anything on the market.
SoulTracks.com CD Review
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Singer/songwriter Darnell Levine has made a name for himself in Nashville’s hot music scene as a ris...Singer/songwriter Darnell Levine has made a name for himself in Nashville’s hot music scene as a risk-taking soul/jazz vocalist. And on his debut album, We Gon’ Use What We Got, Levine certainly takes a road less traveled. His Bobby McFerrin-like vocal gymnastics sometimes approach showing off, but when his unusual vocal arrangements are combined with the disc’s best material, such as the jazzy “You Can’t Grow,” “Nothing Like Friends” and the soulful ballad “Kiss Yourself For Me,” they are right on. Best of all, he’s opted for a live band feel, eschewing electronics for an organic sound that uniformly works. We Gon’ Use What We Got is out-of-the-mainstream album that is worth checking out and Levine is a young talent worth keeping an eye on.
Whalum Salutes Levine
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Please give Darnell a pat on the back for having one of his original songs "Don't Leave" performed t...Please give Darnell a pat on the back for having one of his original songs "Don't Leave" performed this past Sunday by the legendary jazz vocalist Kevin Whalum at the U-Turn Jazz Concert at Gibson's Showcase.
While Darnell was at Lovenoise Sunday giving a top rated live performance, one of his songs was being sang by a group of local jazz favorites! All reports say that the U-Turn performance was crazy hot! Whalum was backed up by his brother, legendary jazz saxophonist Kirk Whalum, super trumpeter Rod McGaha and the talented Tyron Dickerson on keys.
If you have not heard Darnell you are missing a treat...
-The Lovenoise Group
Dispatches From the Clubs
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You wouldn’t have thought it was Sunday night judging from the crowd at Lovenoise, the weekly neo-so...You wouldn’t have thought it was Sunday night judging from the crowd at Lovenoise, the weekly neo-soul/urban/spoken word showcase at the Bar Car in Cummins Station. Several hundred people converged on the club for Lovenoise’s second-anniversary celebration, which included spotlights, a buffet, a champagne toast and a whole lotta party. There was spoken word by Tia and Dante (whose musings on racial inequalities were particularly poignant in the wake of Katrina). Singer Darnell Levine hushed the crowd, at times accompanied only by the audience’s finger snaps.
Lovenoise Chattanooga Set For Aug. 20
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The headliner for the August edition of Lovenoise Chattanooga is Darnell Levine, a vocalist who is d...The headliner for the August edition of Lovenoise Chattanooga is Darnell Levine, a vocalist who is described as the heir apparent to the household names of the neo-soul movement, made popular by D'Angelo, India.Arie, Musiq, and Jill Scott among others. Mr. Levine is coming to Chattanooga to promote his latest work on the CD entitled “Vocal SessionsPlus.” Following the live performance will be special guest, Atlanta’s DJ Motion, who is part of Atlanta’s Urban Legends DJ’s. The special guest hosts for this event are Tanya Wildgoose and Harrell Bush.
Musicians, other performers lend their talents
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Darnell Levine played most of the blues "instruments" during a benefit at Central High School to rai...Darnell Levine played most of the blues "instruments" during a benefit at Central High School to raise funds to aid victims of the Dec. 26 tsunami in the Indian Ocean. (BY JAMIE RHODES, SPECIAL TO THE COURIER-JOURNAL)
Including but not limited to:
Use What We Got
You Can't Grow
Kiss Yourself For Me
Just The Way You Are (Cover)
Nothin' Like Friends
What A Difference A Day Makes (Cover)
Never Too Much (Cover)
Sentimental Mood (Cover)
High & Dry (Cover)
Set Length: 45 minutes - 1 hr.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.