Levi Kreis
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Levi Kreis

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2005 | SELF

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2005
Solo R&B Americana




"Levi Kreis Rings in the Weekend with Soulful New Single "Three Words""

Southern soul artist Levi Kreis is here to kick start your weekend in the best way possible.

A Tennessee native, Kreis grew up influenced by southern gospel and groundbreaking artists like Ray Charles and Brenda Lee. Taking a page from Lee’s book, the singer-songwriter learned how to win over an audience and create an artistic image that will withstand the test of time.

A catalog of seven albums has demonstrated the Tony Award-winning actor’s knack for penning hits worthy of playing over and over again. Exploring genres like pop, country, R&B, jazz, and gospel, his songs are pristinely crafted and alive with passion and personality, leading him to achieve placements in movies and TV shows including The Vampire Diaries, Sons of Anarchy, and So You Think You Can Dance.

Today Kreis premieres his new single “Three Words” with Musical Notes Global. Drawing influence from Raphael Saadiq’s “Let’s Take A Walk” and Duffy’s “Mercy,” the track is sunny and dynamic, transporting listeners back to a time when feel-good Motown, gospel-driven soul, and doo-wop ruled the radio waves.

“Three Words” is the first single to be released from his upcoming EP Bad Habit, which is set to drop in 2020. Listen below. - Erica D'Aurora

"In The Spotlight: Levi Kreis - Three Words"

This East-Tennessee native multi-talent grew up with the southern gospel sound of his idol Ray Charles. Furthering his musical education, he studied the stage presence and aural class of Brenda Lee, while traveling on her tour bus. He’s had his genre-spanning music featured in various films and TV shows and won a Tony Award for his role as Jerry Lee Lewis in “Million Dollar Quartet” on Broadway.

Highlighting the glory days of Motown with lively, gospel-dipped soul, his new single is bursting with vintage allure. Teasing his upcoming EP “Bad Habit”, expected to drop in 2020, the organic instrumentation of perky piano, bright organ, stirring rhythm and spirited brass create a bustling melody full of salubrious sunshine, while his classic soul-soaked vocals give it an exuberant glow of retro pizzazz. - Jansen's Jamz

"Levi Kreis Conquers His Bad Habit On New Album"

Although LGBT musician Levi Kreis is young, he’s had a career most musicians and actors can only dream of. The Tony Award-winning actor/singer and Belmont University graduate has performed in multiple Broadway shows and his music has appeared on numerous film and television shows including The Vampire Diaries, Sons of Anarchy and So You Think You Can Dance.

Kreis blends numerous genres to create a truly unique sound that has garnered him fans across the country. The East Tennessee native spent his youth mimicking the piano style of southern gospel music and idolizing men like Ray Charles who brought that sound to the mainstream. But Kreis confesses that everything he knows, he learned from one of Ray’s younger peers, Little Miss Dynamite, Brenda Lee.

A family friend, Lee gave Kreis the opportunity to tour with her after she discovered his talent.

“She allowed me to tour with her for a couple of summers,” recalls Kreis.
“I got to spend time with her on her bus and on stage. She was so classy and whether she was on stage or off, she was always thoughtful of people and conscious of other people’s experiences around her.”

Kreis will always be grateful to Lee and credits her for giving him the best piece of career advice he’s ever received. “Be kind to everyone you meet, because you meet the same people on the way up as you do on the way down.”

Levi Kreis | Rachel Love Photography
Traveling on her tour bus and studying her genius on stage and off, Kreis adopted Lee’s strong work ethic and classy reputation: “Anyone who works their ass off, can find success.” To this day Lee confesses, “I taught him everything he knows!”

Pioneering ‘out’ music

Kreis’ music career began in 2005 and he mentions only a handful of LGBT+ musicians were singing and writing about same-sex relationships.

“I got my start there. Nobody else was writing about those topics. Some people have told me I was one of the pioneers of the out music movement. Gratefully publications like The Advocate and Instinct were talking about us.”

Kreis notes that other pioneers performing music with LGBT-centric messages included Ari Gold, Erik Hyman and Rachael Sage.

While launching his music career, Kreis auditioned for a role in a new theatrical show called Million Dollar Quartet. He landed the role, but it wasn’t until 2010 that the show actually made its Broadway debut. His role in the musical earned him a Tony Award. “It was a huge undertaking. I’ve always had a passion for new works.”

In addition to Million Dollar Quartet, Kreis was also a cast member of Tony-nominated revival Violet, the national tour of Rent, Smokey Joe’s Café, Pump Boys & Dinettes, and the films Frailty, Don’t Let Go, Slip Tumble and Slide, A Very Sordid Wedding, and The Divide.

During that time, he also recorded seven albums, some of which achieved top 10 positions on various charts, No. 1 music videos and national tours. He made several TV appearances on The View, David Letterman and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

Reconnecting to his roots

Despite his success, Kreis felt like acting took him away from music for a while. “I wanted to reconnect to my roots,” mentions Kreis. “I dove into creating new music and it took me a while to nd myself musically.”

His new album Bad Habit will be released on September 20 and took Kreis three years to complete. “I wanted to have fun with this record,” he states. “I spent some much time dissecting religion and spirituality. I needed to fall in love with music again.”

Kreis mentions the title came from years of struggling with addiction.

“I have a history of being a pretty bad boy. My story reflects a lot of personal victories that a lot of people can relate to. I had a drug, cigarette and alcohol habit. For me, I sympathize with those people who are trying to find their own victory over something people look down on. People like to judge them. I wanted to connect with my community.” Thankfully, Kreis has been sober for 10 years now.

The first single off the album, Three Words is a flirty vibe reminiscent of Raquael Saadiq’s Let’s Take A Walk and Duffy’s Mercy.

“I began to think of what aspects of attraction mean the most. I love the dance; where you know there’s a spark, but nobody wants to admit it. But you can’t fake the chemistry.”

As an openly gay musician, Kreis is used to rejection, starting his career at a time when being an LGBT+ artist was a risk for any major recording label.

“I have gone through eight major labels and when the label heard I was gay, they didn’t know what to do with me. All outlets supporting diversity now is a new thing. It wasn’t always like that. We always heard ‘no’. Gratefully things have changed a lot.” - Joey Amato

"Proud East Tennessee native Levi Kreis plans ‘Million Dollar’ homecoming"

Singer-songwriter-actor and Oliver Springs native Levi Kreis is back home to perform in the Clarence Brown Theatre season opener “Million Dollar Quartet.” But rst, just for a minute, let’s talk about kindergarten.
Is that story true? The one that he could play “Pomp and Circumstance” perfectly by ear as a 5-year-old?
“Oh, that story,” Kreis says. Yes, he says, it’s true. He obligingly repeats the anecdote he’s told before.
He heard the song at his kindergarten graduation. “I realized I knew how to play it.” Back home he sat at the family piano.
“And I played it with both hands. My brother worked the pedals because my legs were too short to reach them.”
The result: piano lessons — and a growing love and talent for music. “I could listen to what my teacher played me and just play it.”
Then there’s now
Today, Kreis is a singer-songwriter-actor with a Tony Award, a new album out in January and a deep, never-left love for family and East Tennessee. He brings his music home each Christmas, playing his holiday show at the Oak Ridge Playhouse.
“The truth is I take a lot of pride in where I’m from, and people have been really supportive of me. A lot can’t get to New York, travel to Chicago. It’s the highlight of my year to bring my music here and share with my home folk.”
This fall, he’s on stage as Sun Records producer Sam Phillips in the University of Tennessee Clarence Brown Theatre Aug. 28-Sept. 22 production of “Million Dollar Quartet.” (Tickets and show times are available at clarencebrowntheatre.com.)
“Million Dollar Quartet” tells the story of the Dec. 4, 1956, impromptu jam session Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash held at Phillips’ Sun Studio in Memphis.
The actors in the four main roles — Kavan Hashemian (Presley), Sean McGibbon (Lewis), Peter Oyloe (Cash) and Chance Wall (Perkins) — have played those parts in other productions. Oyloe may be familiar to Knoxville theater- goers; he was Hank Williams in the Carousel Theatre’s 2014 “Lost Highway.”
“It’s super exciting to have guys already living in the skins of these legends,” Kreis said.
He see Phillips as a father gure to the young, not-yet- superstar musicians. His non-singing role also serves as the play’s narrator. “We are investing in the father dynamic of this story and you can see it; he kind of helped make these guys.”
But he will sing too
Kreis (pronounced Krice) won’t sing in “Million Dollar Quartet,” but he will sing at Clarence Brown. He’s performing two “Broadway at the Keys” concerts at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 22 and Sept. 23 at the theater. The rst show is sold out; general admission $25 tickets for the 90-minute Sept. 23 concert are at clarencebrowntheatre.com.
“There’s a lot of music and storytelling and how a kid from Oliver Springs gets to Time Square and Broadway,” Kreis said of the concert. “I try to put my own spin on some of Broadway’s favorites with my story.”

Listen to this boy
He was also no stranger to Sam Phillips. “As a singer- songwriter, when I create music I go back and think about what Sam Phillips is all about — that if it ain’t di erent, it ain’t nothing at all.”
‘Bad Habit’
Before he got the CBT part, Kreis was already diving into Phillips’ life, but as an inspiration for new music. After seven albums, he needed self-re ection.
“I was at a point where (I thought), ‘I got to dig a little deeper and nd out who I am musically. I need to rebirth, get back to roots, to the gospel-infused and church-inspired piano gifts.’ I had fallen out of love with music; I really had.
“Not to sound dramatic, but Sam Phillips sort of was a lighthouse for me this past year. I had already gone back to him and dived into his philosophy ... That’s part of why I really l wanted to do this play.”
His new album, “Bad Habit,” comes out in January. The rst single, “Three Words,” drops Sept. 20. A second single will be released in November. “It’s super fun, everything on it.”
Sam Phillips and Elvis Presley on Dec. 4, 1956, when
Sam Phillips and Elvis Presley on Dec. 4, 1956, when Elvis dropped by Phillips’ studio and joined Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis
for an impromptu jam that would become known as “The Million Dollar Quartet” session. (Photo: Phillips Family Archive)
His story also means talking about his mother, Connie Lee Kreis. Connie was
president of the Brenda Lee fan club; Levi grew up listening to lots of music. “Playing ‘Great Balls of Fire’ was a family reunion party trick at 12,” he said.
Southern gospel and rhythm and blues also helped comprise much of his musical core. “As a kid,” he also began composing classical music.
Connie decided her ninth-grade son needed in-depth musical instruction. She began dialing Vanderbilt University’s School of Music. When she got a classical piano professor on the telephone, Kreis remembers, “She held the phone over my piano and made me play an original classical composition.”
The result was a full musical
scholarship in classical piano to
Vanderbilt as a high schooler.
Each Monday and Thursday for
the next three years, he went to
Vanderbilt for a day of classes.
His maternal grandfather, the late
Leroy Copeland, would nish his
early-start job at the post o ce, then drive Kreis from Oliver Springs to Vanderbilt.
“I would take my classes and then he would pick me up at 5:30 and we’d stop at Cracker Barrel for dinner and come home. Every Monday, every Thursday.”
Back to ‘Quartet’
Kreis is no stranger to “Million Dollar Quartet.” This is his rst time playing Phillips, but he originated the Jerry Lee Lewis role on Broadway. “It is the sweetest thing — it’s been nine years since I’ve touched this story,” he said.
His Lewis portrayal won him the 2010 Tony Award for best featured actor in a musical, a 2010 Outer Critics Circle Award and a 2010 Drama League nomination. “Playing Jerry Lee Lewis gave me a sense of power and personal con dence that I can trust what I do and I can know it has a place in the world. I can trust that and not doubt myself.”
He got the Phillips role after a fellow East Tennessean, actress and friend Dale Dickey, introduced him to CBT Producing Artistic Director Cal MacLean. “At some point, I met Cal and the conversation started.”
He wanted to be inspired, he said, “to make the best music I ever made. By God, I think I made it.” He’s played the songs for his mother.
“She said, ‘Son, this is the best thing you have ever put out.’ “If I got Mama’s approval, I’m good.” - Amy McRary, Knoxville News Sentinel | Aug. 21, 2019

"Levi Kreis Jumps from Stage to Screen in “A Very Sordid Wedding”"

Levi Kreis knows what it’s like to be ones own worst enemy.

In A Very Sordid Wedding — the latest installment of Del Shores’ Southern-fried Sordid Lives series, Tony-winner Levi Kreis joins the cast as an anti-gay zealot evangelical named Reverend Jimmy Ray Brewton. While the film itself provides yet another good-natured ribbing of rural Americana, Kreis faced a kaleidoscope of emotions while working on the project — which quickly catapulted him back into one of the darkest periods of his life.

Unbeknownst to many of his fans, the now out-and-proud Kreis spent six years of his own life in self-imposed conversion therapy — hoping to unlight the fuse of his same-sex attractions. “A lot of us who are healing those wounds keep it very private,” he confides. “All that flies out the window when you’re playing a character like this. Showing up on set after doing my homework on the character and going to that place where I had to believe the words coming out of this guy’s mouth? That was a bit of a mindf**k.”

Playing Opposites

Kreis’s fire-and-brimstone role makes him part of a relatively recent showbiz tradition: casting well-known liberals as conservative villains to telegraph that the project doesn’t share these characters’ values. Examples include openly gay David Hyde Pierce and outspoken LGBTQ ally Rob Reiner playing men who opposed gay rights in the ABC docudrama When We Rise. And much like Alec Baldwin reveling in the weekly tweets of fury he incites from the White House via Saturday Night Live, Kreis says there’s a certain satisfaction in putting words into the mouths of his onetime adversaries.

Perhaps no one has performed this parlor trick with more finesse than the late Rue McClanahan. In her personal life, McClanahan dedicated considerable time and energy to LGBT community causes, while onscreen, she famously played women coming to terms with their own homophobia — both as Blanche Devereaux on the Golden Girls and later as family matriarch Peggy in the Sordid Lives prequel series on Logo. In the Sordid universe, her character wrestled with the fact that she had committed her son Brother Boy (played to Tammy Wynette-channeling perfection by Leslie Jordan) to a mental institution for being a cross-dressing homosexual.

As the character evolved, audiences saw that Peggy was haunted by the consequences of her actions. “Sometimes I don’t know how you sleep at night,” her daughter LaVonda says to her.

“Sometimes I don’t,” Peggy replies.

Series creator Del Shores says that McClanahan instinctively understood and embraced the character’s complexities. “Rue’s from Oklahoma and I’m from Texas,” he explains. “She was just as twisted as me.”

Shores remembers McClanahan being keenly aware of the potentially powerful effect of playing such a role.”Rue was such an ally and supporter of our community,” he says. “She actually felt that by playing this type of woman that she could shed light and expose this kind of ignorance and bigotry. Her demographic crossed well into the conservatives, so I believe she did just that, and as she brought many new fans to Sordid Lives, she educated them.” But where McClanahan seemed to easily spritz her performances with magnolia-scented charm, Kreis struggled to find his way into Reverend Jimmy Ray.

Getting into Character

As Kreis took on the role of a preacher hellbent on making sure a tiny Texas town remains a haven for “traditional marriage,” the process exhumed a graveyard of ghosts Kreis had considered long dead and buried.

“No question it was a daunting experience for me to live in that headspace again because the scripture that I ingested to make me change, in fact, made me a suicidal teen,” Kreis recalls. “I was raised in a small-town fundamentalist environment, and after all these years of learning how to own who I am, you would think I’d be completely confident, given all the work I’ve done. But re-experiencing that level of self-hatred, I still caught myself having the occasional moment of apologizing for who I am.”

Nevertheless, Kreis knew it was essential for his performance that he get inside the Reverend’s head. “That’s the commitment we have as actors: you’ve got to be as honest as possible,” he says. “It was really difficult to get to a place to speak these words and have them come out being genuine — these words that gave me the deepest scars.”

A Very Sordid Wedding marks Kreis’ first onscreen work with Shores, although the two have been friends for years, and it’s easy to understand the bond they share. Shores grew up in the rural South — deeply closeted through his first marriage (to a woman). Kreis was reared in east Tennessee, where his fear of being identified as “one of those people” led to an adolescence of hiding his orientation behind achievements as a musician. And then suddenly, his time of hiding came to an end.

Nothing to Fix

At the time, Kreis was studying in Nashville at Belmont University and still actively resisting his attraction to men. “I was in this music history class, and there was this beautiful boy who would stare at me,” Kreis recalls. “I just knew he was conspiring with Satan to bring me down to his base level. So one day after class, I confronted him. Deep in the shame of feeling the attraction I had for him, I said, ‘Look, I’m going through reparative therapy, and Jesus can heal you.’” At first, the boy seemed receptive. “He told me, ‘I need someone who can help me through this.’” Ultimately, says Kreis, “I think it took us all of two weeks before we had sex.”

After that, Kreis finally began to seriously question the nature of his shame. “I’ve always been a very sincere boy,” says Kreis, “and I wanted to know the answers to the questions I had about myself and my relationship with God.” At one point in college, he even spread three different translations of the Bible on his dorm room bed, hoping to triangulate the common truths tucked within.

“The conclusion I began to come to was that maybe God didn’t have an issue with me and perhaps there was nothing for Him to fix,” Kreis says. He confided this conclusion to his roommate Chris, inadvertently setting off a life-changing chain of events.

“Chris took that to the Baptist Student Union and requested prayer for me,” Kreis says. “The union felt responsible to let the college board of directors know what was going on; so they began deliberating on what to do with me.”

By this time, Kreis had also already had a Top Ten hit as a songwriter in the Christian market. “An intern at the Christian label where I was signed let them know what was happening [at school],” Kreis explains. “So a week later I was dropped from the label.”

Coming into Focus

“I was really angry with God at that point,” Kreis remembers. Disillusioned, Kreis relocated to LA, where he met Del Shores at a performance of Shores’ play Southern Baptist Sissies. “It took me right back: the tiny town and high school graduation — where I was valedictorian with a C average,” Kreis says with a chuckle. “By the end of the play, I was in a fetal position from laughing so hard.” He sought out the playwright, and they became friends as Kreis began to more fully accept his sexuality.

However, that did not necessarily mean the music industry was ready to accept it. He soon went through eight major labels. “No one knew what to do with me,” explains Kreis. “Until Rufus Wainwright introduced audiences and industry people to the idea of an openly gay crooner, there just wasn’t any precedent for someone like me.” Still, there were some artistic benefits: “I was getting really authentic and honest in my songwriting. I was beginning to write more and more about our experiences as LGBT youth.”

It was here that Shores would play another defining role in Kreis’s life, coming up with the title for his debut album, One Of The Ones. “It’s an innocent jab at the embarrassing number of boys I really believed were ‘The One,’” Kreis says sheepishly. “The album deals with all the demons we face in terms of our relationships as gay men — as we fumble in dark rooms and on the apps to try to become the versions of ourselves we really want to be.”

Finally, Kreis’ career started coming into focus. Mainstream TV shows such as Vampire Diaries, Sons of Anarchy and Days of Our Lives began licensing his songs. And eventually, his path led him to Broadway, where he ended up playing rock’n’roll piano pounder Jerry Lee Lewis in Million Dollar Quartet — a performance that won him the Tony award for “Best Featured Actor in A Musical” in 2010.

Through it all, Kreis and Shores kept in touch. “I’m not sure how the conversation started with Del and I regarding playing the role of Reverend Jimmy Ray in the film. Maybe I was just at the top of his mind, since I had just played a preacher in Violet on Broadway,” Kreis says. Whatever the reason, it seemed like high time for him to work with Shores, whom Kreis refers to as “the writer/director that saved my life” with his humor. And despite the personally traumatic nature of the subject matter, Kreis found Shores to be a remarkable and intuitive director. “Our working together was a long time in the making, and it was definitely worth the wait.”

Forgiveness Is the Fountain

So, in retrospect, how does Kreis feel about the religious culture that tried so hard to convince him to change? “When you look back at a fundamentalist upbringing and see people whose convictions damned you to Hell, at some point, you have to ask yourself: can I force these people to have different convictions?”

Kreis chooses to channel his energies into more practical pursuits, including work on an album he recently released called Broadway at the Keys — in which he performs classics from shows including Pippin, Rent and (naturally) Million Dollar Quartet. But he has more to be grateful for than career success.

“I’m now eight years sober from using crystal meth,” Kreis reveals. “All of this change sprang from the realization of how little I valued myself and began a quest for self-love.” Kreis also says that when he stopped judging himself so harshly, it allowed him to judge others less harshly, as well — even those whose beliefs are diametrically opposed to his own.

“If there is anything that has impacted me over the last year,” he concludes, “it’s that we’ve all become so intolerant of each other that we can’t have meaningful disagreements anymore.“ However, his journey has helped him continue to find compassion “for those who truly pain me,” says Kreis. Though he admits that it’s not always a simple process:“Its much easier to just say: f**k ‘em.” But the work pays off in surprising ways. “I have a secret for you,” Kreis shares. “Forgiveness is a fountain of youth, and letting go is the best wrinkle prevention there is.” Ultimately, he believes advocating diversity necessarily includes being tolerant of those with problematically different religious or political opinions. “The message of the film says it all,” Kreis explains. “Dear friends, let us love one another. Period.” - Kevin Phinney

"'Million Dollar' Kreis Bangs Out A Playful Set"


Near the close of his sold-out concert at the Apollo Theater on Monday, Levi Kreis, who won a 2010 Tony Award for his depiction of Jerry Lee Lewis in "Million Dollar Quartet," briefly channeled the Louisiana wild man, kicking back his piano stool as he wrapped up an abbreviated "Great Balls of Fire."

But although Kreis portrayed Lewis in the Chicago production of the musical for 15 months and continues to do so on Broadway, the song still had to be coaxed from him. "I've backed myself into a corner," he said sheepishly after teasing the audience with its fiery intro. The singer-songwriter dedicated much of the remainder of his 70-minute set to his solo output - deeply personal tunes that swung between heartfelt ballads and rollicking ragtime spirituals - despite his concerns that "Quartet" fans might not want to see the "weird guy who contorts at a piano," as he put it.

Kreis, seated at a piano, surrounded by electric candles and a bushel of rose petals, joked that the set looked like an episode of " VH1 Storytellers." And he took full advantage the surroundings to muse on his upbringing in Oliver Springs, Tenn. Stories touched on coming to terms with his own sexuality (Kreis is openly gay), the six years he spent attending reorientation therapy prior to college and a 2004 split with Atlantic Records that left him with $200 in his pocket and countless questions about his career choices.

That said, Kreis, dressed simply in a plaid shirt and with his short hair artfully tousled, maintained a playful, optimistic demeanor throughout — a personality trait that frequently bled into his music. "Sky ain't fallin'," he sang on a swinging "Ain't Nobody." "At least not today." Elsewhere, the singer appeared to age ten years as he delivered a devastating take on Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me," flirted with gospel on a version of "Not Afraid" that had the crowd swaying like a rapturous church congregation, and captured the tingle of first love on "Just This Good," his fingers fluttering over the piano keys to match the butterflies rising in his gut. Miles removed from the glitz and gloss of Broadway, the casual show was the equivalent of catching Kreis in his own living room, his guard down and inner-workings defiantly on display. - The Chicago Tribune: Andy Downing

"Levi Kreis: Live @ Joe's Pub CD Review"

I am always intrigued by live CD’s / albums. The ambiance between the performer and audience bring a whole new artist awareness to the listener. We have all heard that performers “turn on” when they walk upon a stage. This is hugely apparent on “Live @ Joe’s Pub”. From the first piano key stroke to the CD’s end there is a real and vivid love affair between this audience and Tony Award winning Levi Kreis. Having had the pleasure of seeing Levi perform I can say this is the norm for this charismatic entertainer. And that love affair is a two way street. The excitement and sincere reaction is evident in Levi’s opening remark, simply, “Seriously?” You know you are in for something very special.

The CD is “Live @ Joe’s Pub” but could easily also be a best of, (although it would need to be much longer), or even a favorite songs. But then many would say of Levi that all songs are favorites. Once you hear and experience the energy that is Levi Kreis you will understand. No half hearted efforts here. All award winning caliber performances. The golden tones of Levi’s vocal talent are equally matched with his intuitive self accompaniment. A true piano man himself, it seems the piano and Levi become one. Merging into a creative brilliance which fills the listener with an experience which can only be described as Levi Kreis.

An amazing fact about “Live @ Joe’s Pub” is that Levi did not know this was even being recorded. This masterpiece is what you get when Levi is before an audience. No recording prep, no technical bargaining, just pure simple Levi Kreis. And that is indeed an awesome thing. When you combine the musical experience with the personal sharing Levi includes you have a stand alone empowering show. One you will be glad to attend whether via the CD or are one of the lucky ones to see Levi live. Fancy costumes and extravagant light shows not required. Levi’s talent stands on its own with a power if tapped could heal a saddened heart.

Not a light weight performance in any way. Levi shares himself through enlightening banter and a full and filling ten songs. Well filling in that the experience is breath taking and commands an immediate reaction, hit the replay button! If you are already a Levi Kreis fan or just experiencing the amazing talent for the first time, “Live @ Joe’s Pub” is a must include in any music collection. A smorgasbord of talent, fun, heart touching song and performance. Just to mention a few gems Levi includes in this show are; “We’re Okay”, “Nothing At All”, “I Can’t Make You Love Me”, and that is just the beginning. I do not want to ruin or spoil any surprise. Do yourself a huge music loving favor and own this CD!

For all information about Levi Kreis, and to get your own copy of “Live @ Joe’s Pub”, check out Levi’s website. www.levikreis.com - Len Rogers: NoUDidn't.Com

"Tony Award Winning Performer Levi Kreis Bids Farewell to LA With Unforgettable Concert Up Close & Personal"

On Friday July 13 and Saturday July 14 Tony Award-winning actor/singer Levi Kreis presented his electric one-man odyssey Up Close and Personal to a packed house at the NoHo Arts Center to benefit both the venue and Independant Music. Consisting mostly of original material from his three albums - and a preview of "Timeless" from a brand new album with a 2013 release - and a little patter in between the tunes - just enough for audiences to get a sense of just how up close and personal Kreis really is - the 75 minute set was a whirlwind of Kreis's excessive talent. Imagine a flamboyant Billy Joel, only gay, alone at the piano, pounding the keys harmoniously and singing from the depths of his soul. Of course to please his fans, the bill included the familiar "Hallelujah, I Love Her So", "Seasons of Love" from Rent, in which Kreis played Roger for a while on the West Coast tour, "Great Balls of Fire" from his Tony winning Jerry Lee Lewis in Million Dollar Quartet and his own composition, the very popular "Nothing At All". The Kreis sound is unique - a little rock, pop, blues with enough touches of gospel and country mixed in to make each tune the perfect telegram to communicate his very personal experience as passionately as possible. Most can relate to such passion, but, regardless of how serious the tone may become, it is always laced with humor. Take for example, the Gospel According to Levi; there's a delicious tongue-in-cheek quality to it. He's intensely sweet and full of a devilishly unwicked charm. Hardly wicked, as he does glow spirituality!
Kreis brought everyone in the room to their feet, as he bid a tearful farewell to his many LA friends. There is no better way to say it, but Levi Kreis is Who He Is, Where He Belongs, and we're all the luckier for it. The best to him as he leaves LA after 12 years to take up residence in Chicago! Prior to the concert there was a lovely private VIP reception with wine and delicious hors d'oevres in an upstairs Center party room, hosted by Artistic Directors James Mellon and Kevin Bailey, where Kreis spent time talking to everyone. In my chat with him he expressed feelings that Chicago is currently where it's at for him and his partner, as he continues to explore opportunities to make waves in his musical career. Hopefully, he will wend his way back to Broadway in the not too distant future to enchant us once more, maybe this time with ... The Levi Kreis Story. - Broadwayworld.Com -By Don Grigware

"Rock 'n' Roll's Killer Meets Broadway's"

Published: September 9, 2010

FRESH off a matinee performance of “Million Dollar Quartet,” Levi Kreis ran a nervous hand through his pompadour as he stood in the living room of a hotel suite high above Times Square on Wednesday. Mr. Kreis, the actor and musician who plays Jerry Lee Lewis in that Broadway musical, seemed unsure of how to comport himself when the suite’s primary occupant arrived. First he propped himself between two chairs, like a sprinter waiting for a starting pistol. Then, half-reverently and half-jokingly, he got down on one knee, which was the position he was found in when the real-life Mr. Lewis entered the room.

This is how the two performers were introduced, and Mr. Kreis had to laugh at the circumstances. “I’m bowing before you, sir,” he said.

Mr. Lewis replied in a voice that rumbled like dry gravel. “How you doing?” he said. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

Sure, it was public relations that brought them together on this afternoon. Mr. Lewis, who turns 75 on Sept. 29, has just released a new album of duets called “Mean Old Man” and is busily working the television talk-show circuit before he takes the stage of the Nederlander Theater on Friday night to play with the cast of “Million Dollar Quartet.”

Mr. Kreis, meanwhile, won a Tony Award in June for his spirited, piano-pounding performance in that show and sings a cover of “Money (That’s What I Want)” with Mr. Lewis on a special version of “Mean Old Man” to be sold at the theater, though their contributions were recorded separately.

While their first face-to-face encounter may have been a promotional stunt, it was one made poignant by Mr. Lewis’s unmistakable frailty. Dressed in a rockabilly shirt, black slacks and slippers, Mr. Lewis made his way around the room gingerly while a team of managers and handlers watched him. He had difficulty hearing, and his arms and hands shook as he sat and spoke with Mr. Kreis.

But beneath his delicate exterior and the swooping white hair he tames with a hot pink comb, Mr. Lewis remains a rare living link to the birth of rock ’n’ roll, as well as a talent who continues to inspire devotion and fascination from younger admirers like Mr. Kreis.

Mr. Lewis’s work was “the fabric of my upbringing,” Mr. Kreis said before their introduction, “and to have him here in person, it’s like I’m meeting my most fantastical childhood figure.”

Their conversation began with Mr. Lewis giving his blessing to Mr. Kreis’s portrayal of him, which he had not yet seen live but had watched on the Tony Awards telecast. “You do a splendid job, I tell you,” Mr. Lewis said.

(For the record, this is not a distinction that Mr. Lewis hands out arbitrarily. Describing the 1989 film “Great Balls of Fire!,” in which he was played by Dennis Quaid, Mr. Lewis said: “I was kind of leery of that movie. I didn’t really think it was up to par.”)

Mr. Kreis remained eager to prove his bona fides. He noted that he, like Mr. Lewis, who came from Ferriday, La., and now lives in Nesbit, Miss., was a Southerner, from Oliver Springs, Tenn.; that he had also shown a childhood aptitude for the piano; that he shared an appreciation for the gospel music of Mr. Lewis’s cousin Jimmy Swaggart; and that he was presently enrolled in a ministerial school, as Mr. Lewis once was.

Mr. Kreis also wanted Mr. Lewis to know he’d had reconstructive surgery on both knees as a result of “Million Dollar Quartet,” which he has been performing in since the show’s first workshops in Los Angeles. (“I’ve given my limbs to play you,” Mr. Kreis said. “Well, I appreciate it,” Mr. Lewis replied.) And Mr. Kreis emphasized that he and his Broadway cast mates were good friends and that there was “no jealousy” among them.

Asked if he shared a similar rapport with his musical peers, Mr. Lewis chuckled.

“No, we didn’t get along so well,” he said.

In “Million Dollar Quartet,” the Jerry Lee Lewis character is depicted as an immensely talented, unapologetically coc - NYTime: Dave Itzkoff

"Concert Review: Love Letter To Levi Kreis"


I have been to the church of Levi Kreis and the gospel is simple. Love yourself! The last stop of his SideXSide Tour at Joe’s Pub in NYC was electrifying and amazing! Levi is astonishing. Listen, you can sit there and say, ‘great show,’ but that’s simply not enough. I am here to testify that this talent comes along once in a lifetime! If you are ever lucky enough to see him live, you’ll know what I mean. Some of us had tears streaming down our faces almost the entire show. I kept asking myself why I was crying. I’m still trying to process what was happening to me. I was embarrassed, but when I looked around it seemed I wasn’t alone.

Let me state his obvious talents. He is marquee idol beautiful, his voice is one of the most freely expressive voices I’ve ever heard; his singing appears effortless. He is sincere, warm, gracious, connected and grateful to his audience. His life story and journey are inspiring and honest. He has transformed the shame, pain and confusion of being a gay man into becoming a soul that is bright, illuminated and proud. We can only thank this universe for giving him the gifts, talents and strength that transformed him and that he shares with us. He preaches and lives self-love from a deep and knowing place. He will inspire you, lift you up!

Levi has won a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor for his current role as Jerry Lee Lewis in Million Dollar Quartet on Broadway. He’s leaving the show within two weeks and heading to California to record his next album. The show at Joe’s Pub also featured Eric Himan, a romping, cool guitar player/singer. Jason Anton opened the whole show with his big, soulful voice. He seemed a little nervous but I would love to see him sing when he’s chilled. I can’t thank Levi enough for that show! From the bottom of my heart... - Diana Prano

"Levi Kreis, "One of the Ones""

Grade: B+

Sometimes an up-and coming singer needs weeks upon weeks upon weeks of enduring Simon Cowell. and sometimes he only needs part of an hour on a totally different kind of reality competition for the world to discover him. Recently seen on Donald Trump's The Apprentice, Levi Kreis is a pianoman with a baleful tune all his own. Of course, comparisons to better known artists are unavoidable when introduction someone new to the scene. Starting right off the bat, I'd say there's a smattering of Tori Amos--from her Under the Pink days, minus the delirium effect -- with a touch of Billy Joel's "Piano Man".

The bulk of the album is Levi at the piano, singing songs about lost love, found love, new love--and while each song on its own is a right and proper piece of art, I began to wonder if, collectively, Mr. Kreis was a one-trick pony, excelling only at the malady melodies of sadness and longing. Fortunately, there is redemption to be found in the last two songs, both of which are performed live and both of which feature Levi doing some passionate jazz-blues the likes of which I haven't heard come out of a white artists since Wendi Slaton's "Turn Around and Look" (which only goes to show that sometimes you can describe a struggling artist by comparison to yet another struggling artist.)

The songs are all developed from Kreis's past relationships with other men, but are written so that they can be just about anyone (the exception being "Man Outta Me" which, to compare again to Ms. Amos, is Kreis's "Me and a Gun", an angry tale of a prior abusive relationship he endured. "Left Over" has a hint of old-style John Denver to the vocalizings and lyrics and speaks to being the one who's left by a partner who takes another partner, and "I Should Go" (which leads off the set) brilliantly captures that moment when you realize you're falling in love with a friend and the fear you have in letting that friend know. "Love in Another Light" is an empty heart yearing for fulfillment and a song that could easily be adapted to the Contemporary Christian Music genre by a talent like Mark Schultz.

Bittersweet and poignant -- perhaps overly so -- this release is still enough to reveal the promise in Levi Kreis. I'll be very interested to see what he can do when he mixes it up a bit, changes some tempos, and throws in a few more themes into his albums. Definitely one to watch in the not-too-far- future. - The Trades: R.J. Carter

"Levi Kreis: One of the Ones"

One of the Ones, the captivating new album from Levi Kreis, is an intimate and inspired collection of relationship-oriented material revealing both the talented singer/songwriter's vulnerability and strength. Kreis - who was recently featured on an episode of "The Apprentice-Donald Trump" - begins his set with "I Should Go," a tender ballad of self-restraint, before launching into the lilting love song "With You." And where the heart sick "Lonely Sunday Morning" conveys a sense of loss, Lev admits to a deeper longing with the self-reflective "Love In Another Light."

Expressive, passionate, performances permeate this impressive album, perhaps nowhere better than "Just The Good", a soul-stirring celebration of love. But the two live tracks that end One of the Ones provide further proof of Levi Kreis' capacity to convey pure emotion. "Kiss U Yet", the only song on the CD not strictly a piano and vocal selection, builds with unbridled desire and anticipation, while the bluesy and cathartic "Man Outta Me" expresses the potential for growth from devastating life lessons.

A remarkable and memorable, self-distributed CD, One of the Ones by Levi Kreis is available online at www.CDBaby.com and direct from the artists website, www.levikreis.com. - AudioReviews

"'Love At First Sight' for Levi Kreis on NBC's 'The Apprentice': By Nicholas Snow"

Scene 1 – ‘Love At First Sight’ on NBC’s The Apprentice

It was "Love at first sight" on the November 17th episode of NBC’s The Apprentice when team Capital Edge Corporation met singer/songwriter Levi Kreis, and in the cutting-edge spirit of Notes From Hollywood, I bring you an exclusive interview with the artist himself, conducted within a day of his historic national television appearance.

How did Levi come to be on The Apprentice?

“I had been working with a producer in NYC who had gotten wind of NBC’s request for submissions from unsigned singer/songwriters,” explained Levi. “In light of being dropped from Atlantic Records a couple months beforehand, any potential outlet seemed reasonable. When I heard there were over a thousands submission, I dismissed it. Then the call from NBC came, and I completely panicked. I was like, “Oh shit! I’m afraid of reality T.V.! What have I done?” I imagined some evil editor scowling behind a control board transforming me into something unspeakable,” he laughed.

Talk about “adventures in the world of entertainment.” The behind-the-scenes take on how Levi ended up on national TV is no less than fascinating. “After being selected from my CD submission,” explained Levi, “I was simply given a date and time to show up, along with a very strict confidentiality agreement. Myself and 3 other artists met at Sony Studios in NYC to audition for both of Donald’s teams. We knew that if we were chosen to be a part of this episode, we would immediately become the subject of a 36-hour challenge to write, record, produce, package, and present us to XM radio executives for judging. The minute I was chosen, a whirlwind of cameras surrounded me for the next two days.”

“My team had the task of getting to know me as an artist and writing a song they felt was fitting for my style and influences,” continued Levi. “We then rushed into the studio, recording our tracks with the band from Saturday Night Live. Once production was done, it was hair, stylist, make-up, a photo shoot, and art design for the CD and presentation. The team was impeccable. They went to great lengths to know every detail about my personal creative choices. They were given a professional songwriter and a well-known producer to help guide them through the process. The end result was shocking; a catchy, positive song that truly represents who I am as an artist. XM radio seemed to agree, and I got to help lead my team to victory. XM radio has placed the song in rotation and has provided a great amount of exposure for my new album, which happens to have my audition song on it.”

Scene 2 – Atlantic Records’ Loss, Levi’s Gain

You would think The Apprentice experience would change Levi’s life forever, but it was actually his adventures the year before as a closeted artist signed to Atlantic Records that created the foundation for Levi’s transformation.

“Beyond providing a modest launching pad for my first openly gay CD, I think it’s hard to predict what will come of the exposure,” said Levi about his national TV appearance. “The real meat and potatoes lie within my experience with Atlantic Records for the last year prior to being dropped. I’ve lived my life primed for the big time—always a strong contender for a major label. When the opportunity finally came, having to hide my lifestyle went from being a distant possibility to a cold reality. Spending every day with a team of executives that are constantly encouraging you to bond with them on a personal level became a scary thing when so much of my personal life had to be passed over, edited, or out-right lied about. Coming to terms with my sexuality has been too hard of a road for me not to own who I am,” said Levi. “I realize that now. So, I’ve decided to stop playing by the rules of someone else’s game and trust my instincts. What a freeing decision it was. The Apprentice will serve as good exposure; but it also marks the beginning of a new chapter for me.”

Scene 3 – Jesus, Joseph and Levi

I asked Levi how he got his name. He laughed!

“I love this question,” answered Levi. “I always get the strangest looks. I was born Matthew. It’s a long road discovering who you are, as opposed to whom you are encouraged to be growing up. The more I began to disassociate from certain ideas and energies that were a part of my past, I began to feel I was becoming a self-made man: not as much a product of my past.”

“I met a gentleman that introduced me to a certain philosophy regarding the energy behind our given name; how it connects to our familial energy,” Levi continued. “I tip my hat to the strong southern upbringing I had. It served as a catalyst for who I am today, but I felt life was forcing me to discover the core of who I was. Levi is the origin of Matthew. I chose it for those reasons; getting to the core of who I am, and choosing to stand separate from some negative ideas and energies that connected me to my past.”

Wondering more about that connection to his past, I asked Levi about his experience of his family growing up.

“My family has always been supportive of my musical endeavors. They saw a natural ability with the piano early on and immediately started my musical education,” said Levi. “They have made many a sacrifice to make me the well-rounded musician that I am now. We were; however, a fundamental Baptist family. And they raised a very sincere son. By the time I was in junior high school, I had secretly checked myself into a Christian counseling program at another church. They used Exodus International as their curriculum, and I set out on a six-year journey to heal the homosexual in me,” disclosed Levi.

“All I desired was to sing Christian music and be the purest vessel for God that I could be. My parents were obviously emotionally invested in these early goals, and dreamed of nothing more than a son that could win a world to Christ. Telling them I was gay was certainly like a death for them.”

About his family today, Levi explains “We’re making progress. I think the more they see the choices I make and the fulfillment that life is giving me, they become less apt to reiterating their views. And may I add that I would never want to change their beliefs. I personally believe that we are meant to learn certain truths in each life. If living a devout Baptist life provides them with those important lessons, it’s just as divine as my beliefs leading me to my truths. I’ve come to believe that we are all right. And to isolate someone’s journey and say, You’re wrong’, is to miss the bigger picture in my opinion. But that’s just my opinion. I will always have the utmost respect for the passion that my family has exhibited in their faith. That is one thing they have certainly passed on to me, though my faith is defined differently. Do I think the belief system they subscribe to is damaging? Well, yes,” explained Levi. “I think it certainly has the ability to be. I’m living proof of that. My greatest concern here would be the young people struggling with their sexual identity who because of the church are driven to a remarkable level of self-hatred. It breaks my heart to know that it’s still going on.”

Scene 4 – Levi’s Paid His Rent

In a sequence of events worthy of at least a movie-of-the-week, singer/songwriter Levi Kreis was dropped by his record label before completing his first “openly gay” CD; was then chosen from thousands of musicians and ultimately by one of Donald Trump’s teams to appear on NBC’s The Apprentice; and is now celebrating a career on the rise. I was privileged to obtain an exclusive interview with Levi within a day of his national TV appearance, which I’m delighted to share with you here.

Raised under the influence of a strict Christian family and with gospel music in the south, Levi also looks to Elton John, Stevie Wonder and Jerry Lee Lewis as his great musical mentors—and yes, Kreis has paid his rent. Kreis starred in the West Coast tour of the Broadway musical Rent—the movie version of which is playing in a theater near you, but you know that already unless you’ve been living under a rock. Levi may have been living under a rock, for he hadn’t seen Rent when he auditioned. “I had been in Los Angeles only a few months: maybe two,” explained Levi. “I woke up early one morning and was sifting through my roommate’s copy of Backstage West. It was my first time ever seeing that publication. I saw that there was a cattle call for some roles in the show. I had never done theatre before, but it seemed like a fun way to spend the day. So I sang, went through an eternity of callbacks, and ended up getting the role of Roger in the West Coast tour. Very strange—needless to say I was shocked as shit to find out they wanted me.”

“I signed on for an initial three-month period,” continued Levi. “The tour had been going for quite some time.” Levi was a replacement for a cast member that had hurt his leg. “I only stayed with the show for the duration of my initial contract,” continued Levi. “I felt it was a tempting distraction from my singer/songwriter pursuits.”

About traveling with the show, Levi explained, “For me, the best part of being on the road with this particular show was being off the road,” he laughed. “I have never met a greater vocal challenge than doing that role. I knew when I was cast that the role was not really within my range. I had to adhere to a very strict lifestyle: going to great lengths to protect my voice. I didn’t have one night on the town the entire time. But it did teach me a lot about discipline, that’s for sure.”

The downside of his road tour, said Levi, was “it was tough not having a familiar face around. I have a tight circle of the best friends a boy could ever have. I miss them easily.” He is not in the film. “I didn’t feel compelled to audition, actually,” Levi explained. “It’s also my understanding that casting was pretty set on using the original cast members as much as possible.”

On singing verses acting, Levi explained, “Ooh, that’s a tough one. I think I do prefer singing. Ever since I was twelve years old my outlet has always been to write a song. While it’s rewarding to take on the life experiences of a character you are adopting, there is something more lasting about the fulfillment I receive from expressing my own life experiences through my own music. I think that keeps music at the forefront for me.”

Scene 5 – A ‘Sissy’ Comes Out

Perhaps I was operating under an assumption or pure Gaydar, but I knew Levi was gay so I was surprised to learn he was coming out. “How have you been ‘in’ and what is changing now that you’re out?” I asked. “I have been out to close friends and family for some time. But when it came to anything career-oriented I would keep it all very secretive,” explained Levi. “There is a significant bleed over here though. When you live and breathe your career like I do, you find that you can’t go anywhere without looking over your shoulder afraid that some A&R guy or casting person is going to find out your business. 90% of my friends, even gay ones, tell me that I’m sacrificing a lot of success by deciding to come out. They say that I am forfeiting any opportunity to have a broadly recognized platform. You know, I just don’t buy it. Not these days.”

“I think I write songs that are from a universal perspective that a broad audience can relate to,” explained Levi. “I trust that audience to find me; right here, just as I am. For me, it just feels so amazing to allow myself to live day to day with complete acceptance of who I am with total abandon. In general, I would say few people could say they really know what that feels like. We’re all pressured to be something. But as I said, I have gone through too much to not own who I am. It really does change your life experience in a significant way when you decide to live unapologetically.”

Levi first entered my consciousness because of his involvement with Del Shores’ hit play Southern Baptist Sissies, which will have an encore run in Los Angeles in the coming months. I asked Levi how he came to be involved with the show.

“Well first of all, let me say that I just love Del Shores with all my little country heart,” exclaimed Levi. “Southern Baptist Sissies was the sole catalyst in putting years of pain behind me. Embracing the thought of being an abomination to God and an embarrassment to my family instilled within me the heaviest, darkest self-hatred I could imagine. Walking in that theatre one day, having no idea what I was about to see, I found myself in a fetal position in my chair crying uncontrollably. I had no idea there were other young men out there that had experienced the same journey as I had. “Del happened to be sitting behind me during my break down in the first act,” Levi continued. “He came to me during intermission to see if I was okay. After the show, he invited me to come in anytime and see the show as many times as it took for me to come to terms with my past. It was SBS that introduced to me the idea of a loving God; that helped me realize that I could actually love myself. The impact it had on me could never be accurately conveyed in words. I am honored to have found a place with this play, and yes I will be singing at the first encore presentation of the show. Del and his husband Jason have a lasting place in my heart, and so does SBS.”

Scene 6 – One of the Ones

One of the Ones, Levi’s new CD, is “like a diary, very personal in nature,” Levi explained. “I chose to be very vulnerable with all lyrical content on this album. That had a lot to do with me choosing to make it an intimate piano/vocal experience. Overall, this is a collection of songs about boys I’ve crushed on, dated, loved, and where those experiences have brought me. With ten songs each based on a different guy, I guess I’ve been pretty busy…”

In a song that Levi believes particularly tells where he comes from, Love in Another Light, he writes:

Too many nights I fed from the ruin
Of manic pursuits that left nothing to gain
In desolate bars drowning in whiskey
In back rooms with boys that don’t have a name

“I feel this material is the strongest I have ever written and represents the human experience in a universal way,” Levi explained. “I’ve tried to incorporate some of my philosophy of life within this album by suggesting good choices here and there. But life isn’t always black and white. My main thrust was to make an album that the listener would instantly recall a fond memory and relive it with me. I think I’ve managed to accomplish that, and I’m so excited for this new album to finally be out. It’s definitely for the romantic.”

Levi will premiere some of his material in Los Angeles January 16th (see his web site for all the details, and to get the CD), and is working to build an extensive tour for his album, which shouldn’t be too challenging because of the bump his career got from The Apprentice and the rotation of his single on XM Satellite Radio. Levi may even perform in Ireland and England.

Does Levi call Los Angeles home?

“Holy Mary Mother of God, YES,” exclaimed Levi. “I have had my dose of NYC. And while I do love many things about my last year here, I am so looking forward to getting back home.”

And for the romantics out there, Levi is single, but he’s “trying not to be.” “I’ve come to know more and more what I’m looking for,” said Levi. “And the clearer that gets, the harder he is to find. Also, being an independent artist is really time-consuming. You have to wear so many hats. I think a man would have to have the patience of Moses to date me right now.”

About what he wants for himself, Levi explained, “My dream would be to find that my creative expression has elevated the human spirit of those I’ve shared it with. But let’s take my answer from a high ideal to a practical application. The hardest part is doing that on a day-to-day basis: to live everyday with that intention. That’s a challenging hope to have, but a good one.”

With the acknowledgement that “Lordy, the preacher boy is starting to emerge,” Levi explained that he wants the world “To realize we are all responsible for each other. For we are One.” Finally, Levi sends the single gents a warning: “If you DO choose to date me, you will most likely have your dirty laundry aired to the world through a song you wish I had never written.”

Well, it fills my heart, Levi, to know your life force is expressing on the planet. Thank you. For information on Levi’s CD and tour schedule, visit his web site.

That’s a wrap! - Notes From Hollywood

"Levi Kreis Featured On 'The Apprentice', Releases New Album: By Joe Reality"

Levi Kreis, one of America’s most beloved up-and-coming singer/songwriters, is coming out with his new album, "One of the Ones." Born from the overwhelming response to his more intimate relationship-oriented material, "One of the Ones" is a collection of songs that speaks to the intricacies of love, pain, and life. Framed by nothing but a piano and his voice, these songs are carried by lyrics that are naked, vulnerable, and instantly relatable. "I wanted this album to be about the craft of songwriting," said Kreis. "The album is filled with my favorites – those with not only the strongest lyrical content, but that also speaks to the heart of relationships - the most relatable circumstances. I wanted to keep it very simple – very personal… just me and the piano. Each song is written about a different person I’ve either ‘crushed on,’ dated or loved with all of my heart."

After eight years of being courted by major record labels, Kreis realized a valuable and empowering thing. "Times have changed. Artists who have honed their craft and have something viable to offer don’t have to depend on a record label to be heard, nor to make a living. My focus has also shifted to an overseas market where there is an allowance for greater musical diversity -- an allowance for an artist to come from his strongest most honest place without being limited by a puritanical culture that forces you into a niche market." "One of the One’s" is now available for sale online, including iTunes partner: www.cdbaby.com

"The Apprentice" – Kreis was selected from over a thousand submissions to be one of four singer/songwriters that would audition on the show. "The experience was exhilarating," said Kreis. "I can’t believe how these guys accomplish so much in such an abbreviated amount of time. I was really glad that their goal was to get to know me, and what I do, instead of attempting to make me something I’m not."

Background – As a writer, he penned the song "Timeless" for the four-time Dove Award winning group Selah (Curb Records), and they took it all the way to the Top 10 on R&R’s Christian Inspo Charts. Kreis has co-written with many well-known Nashville writers, including Steve Diamond ("I Can Love you Like That") and Dan Muckala ("Incomplete").

Over the last 4 years, Levi has built a strong presence for himself in Los Angeles. He contributes this, in part, to the significant exposure his music received when he became a part of "Southern Baptist Sissies," the multi-award winning play written and directed by Del Shores. Levi became involved in the production when he and Shores penned "Stained Glass Window" a song that became the musical theme for the show. The song was included on a full length CD entitled, "Rough Around The Edges." The album sold well and in a short period of time, Levi had become a regular face in the Los Angeles music scene. "Southern Baptist Sissies" is presently being developed into a feature length film with "Stained Glass Window" selected as the theme song for the movie.

He merged his talent for music with acting when he was cast in the role of "Roger" for the National Tour of "Rent." He was soon cast as one of the musical leads in an independent film called "Don’t Let Go," and joined forces with Brad Hawkins (CSI, Charmed) to collaborate and record the entire soundtrack under the watchful eye of producer Keith Allison (Paul Revere And The Raiders). The film was selected as winner of Best Picture at the 3rd annual Westchester Film Festival, and went on to win the Festival Award for Achievement In Filmmaking at the 2002 Stony Brook Film Festival. In response to Levi’s performance Variety magazine wrote: "New-comer Kreis looks like an appealingly rougher blend of Harry Connick and early Bruce Springsteen." Levi’s next project was with Bill Paxton and Matthew McConaughey in Paxton’s directorial debut "Frailty." Levi took on the role of Adam Meiks, baring the blame for the woes inflicted by his brother (McConaughey). For more information, and to listen to his new album, "One of the One’s," please go to: www.levikreis.com and his Yahoo! Page at: http://music.yahoo.com/ar-25170449 - Reality TV Magazine

"The Chosen One: By Ken Knox"

Former teen gospel star Levi Kreis reinvents himself as a soulful singer-songwriter

When he was just a baby, Levi Kreis grabbed hold of the nearest thing in his crib that resembled a microphone-a crayon-held it up to his mouth, and began to wail. It was, of course, predestined that he would end up a musician. "I was performing into anything I could get my hands on," Kreis recalls with a hearty laugh. "My family has pictures of me barely standing with a garden hose in my hand singing into it. My great-grandmother liked to tease my mom and say, 'You're going to have a singer on your hands.'"

Great-grandmother Kreis was indeed correct. Little Levi has grown into a multitalented artist whose solo album, One of the Ones, establishes him as a major up-and-comer on the independent scene. A collection of piano ballads dealing with affairs of the heart, the disc showcases Kreis' soulful voice-a by-product of an early career as a teenage gospel singer-and his knack for simple, eloquent melodies. Inspired by the inherent passion in the gospel music he heard as a child while growing up in Tennessee, Kreis taught himself how to play the piano at age 6. "I just came home from school and sat down at the piano and started writing a song," he recalls. "My parents immediately got me into lessons."

He was singing in churches by age 8, and by 12, "I was at a different church every weekend all over the south," he says, "playing my songs and singing and preaching." Kreis admits: "I thought I was preparing for a career in Christian music." And, for a time, it almost worked out that way: At 15, he cut his first record and toured churches and other venues across the south. "By the time I was 17," he says, "I was walking straight into a Christian record deal."

But that deal soured when label execs received some new information. Kreis-who secretly had been attending "Healing of the Homosexual" meetings for several years through Exodus International, the anti-gay group that targets vulnerable gay Christians with promises of conversion to heterosexuality through Jesus Christ-decided to accept his sexual orientation and come out of the closet. He lost not only the record deal, but also a full scholarship to Vanderbilt University.

After those shake-ups, Kreis spent the next several years being groomed by 12 different record labels (including Atlantic and Universal) as "the piano John Mayer", a boy-band singer, and the frontman for a Radiohead-type band. This, Kreis reveals, is one reason why his new Cd is such a sparse production: "I wanted to make something that I could walk away from and say, 'This is unequivocally me.' I'm not relying on anything other than me in my living room sitting at a piano sharing my journey with you."

It's a journey that includes an abusive relationship with an alcoholic, appearances in Hollywood films (he played one of Bill Paxton's sons in the thriller Frailty), and, most recently, the revelation that he is gay. this, Kreis adds, is one reason why he feels his new CD is the fullest representation of who he is. "This is the first CD I've done that I've settled into my own skin on and not been afraid to say that I wrote these songs about guys that I've loved," he shares, adding that he couldn't be happier in the moment. "It's the first complete body of work that represents who I am as a person."

One of the Ones is available in record stores nationwide and through Kreis' web site. For more information, see www.levikreis.com - Frontiers Magazine

"Levi Kreis' "I Should Go" Named January "Best Song of The Month": By Dale Kawashima"

Levi Kreis, a talented, pop/AC singer/songwriter and pianist based in Los Angeles, CA, has won the SongwriterUniverse “Best Song Of The Month” Contest for January, for his song “I Should Go” (which was co-written by writer/artist Darci Monet of Los Angeles). This song is featured on Kreis’ new 10-song CD One Of The Ones, which he produced and released independently in November.

Levi Kreis “I Should Go” is an elegant, intimate ballad which is a fine showcase for Kreis’ expressive, soulful vocals, and his piano playing. The song’s recording is very basic, just piano and a lead vocal, but it has a strong impact due to the quality of the song, and Kreis’ performance. The lyrics (by Kreis and Darci Monet) are very articulate and thoughtful. When you listen to the song’s lyrics, you can envision the personal, heartfelt emotions that Kreis is feeling, as he sings this song.

Kreis was born and raised in a small town named Oliver Springs, which is in EastTennessee. He started playing piano at age 6, and by the time he was 8, he was performing at many churches. “I would perform at different churches every weekend, playing piano, singing and preaching,” recalled Kreis. “I started writing songs when I was 12, and (at age 15) I recorded my first CD Just Trust, which was a Christian album.” During high school, Kreis attended special classes created by the music department of Vanderbilt University, and he subsequently attended college at Belmont University in Nashville, TN.

Kreis then moved to Los Angeles, where he had discussions with several major labels, before signing a deal (via a record producer) with Atlantic Records in 2004. Unfortunately, his producer’s deal with Atlantic ended, which led to Kreis being released from the label. As a result, Kreis decided to record and produce his own CD One Of The Ones, and release it independently. It was released on November 17 (2005), which was timed precisely to coincide with Kreis’ appearance that evening on the hit NBC-TV show The Apprentice. This specific episode featured a live performance by Kreis, which was terrific publicity and exposure for him.

Darci Monet, who co-wrote "I Should Go" with Levi Kreis.
“I Should Go” is a key cut on Kreis’ CD, and it is one of three songs that he wrote with longtime collaborator Darci Monet for his album. “Darci is a phenomenal writer and artist,” he said. “She has a beautiful knack for tapping into my feelings as a writer, and helping me to convey my thoughts and feelings, in the songs we write. I also really like the other two songs we wrote for the CD, ‘Just This Good’ and ‘Hardly A Hero’.”

Kreis is excited about the release of One Of The Ones, which has sold a thousand copies in less than two months. He will be starting a nationwide tour in March to promote the CD, performing solo. And his CD has just received another boost: “I Should Go” has been placed as a recurring theme song on the popular NBC soap opera, Days Of Our Lives. - Songwriter Universe

"Featured Music From Days of our Lives: Levi Kreis"

First kisses-- the soundtrack is very important. You'll always remember what song was playing when you first lock lips with a new love. But what if you've kissed before, but it's been a long, long time? Soundtrack? Still very important. That's why Levi Kreis's song I Should Go is just perfect.

It's not every musician who finds his or her direction early in life. Levi Kreis is the exception, then; he was playing the piano by the time he was six years old and was performing in public two years after that. He added "songwriter" to his list of credits when he was twelve and recorded his first album at fifteen. Wow. At the age when most teenage boys are worried about clearing up their acne or making the football team, Levi was well on his way to a career in the music industry.
Flash forward a few years and Levi had moved from his eastern Tennessee home to Nashville, that hotbed of musicians and creativity. He took breaks from his studies at Belmont University (where he majored in Commercial Piano and Music Business) to polish his craft as a session player. Eventually, his song Timeless was recorded by the band Selah and reached the Top Ten on R&R's Christian charts.

After Nashville, Levi headed west to Los Angeles where he helped start a monthly music series, "It Came from Nashville" and then flexed his acting muscles in the national tour of Rent. He then turned his acting talents to an independent film, Don't Let Go, for which he also helped create the soundtrack. He also worked with Bill Paxton and Matthew McConaughey in Paxton's directorial debut, Frailty.
Levi's new CD is called One of the Ones, an intimate collection of songs about the vagaries of human relationships. It features just Levi's voice and his piano and the heartfelt song I Should Go is perfect for Austin and Carrie's budding new relationship.

Carrie was worried about returning to Salem. After all, she left her husband Austin for Mike Horton and now that marriage had failed, as well. And she knew she was still in love with Austin. But eventually she did return and the sparks between her and Austin were immediate. After Sami's New Year's Eve party, they found themselves together on the roof. It wasn't long before they found themselves in each other's arms, sharing a tender, then passionate kiss. With a beautiful song playing in the background.

Listen to I Should Go (Windows Media / Real Media).
Listen to With You (Windows Media / Real Media).

To learn more about Levi Kreis and to buy his album, go to http://www.levikreis.com/ - DaysOfOurLives.com


  • One of the Ones: (2005)
  • The Gospel According To Levi: 2007
  • Bygones: 2008
  • Where I Belong: 2009
  • Million Dollar Quartet: The Broadway Cast Recording: 2010
  • Live @ Joe's Pub: 2011
  • Imagine Paradise: 2013
  • Broadway At The Keys 2016
  • Liberated 2018
  • Home For The Holidays 2018
  • Three Words (Single) 2019



Levi’s gospel-rich vocals and church-inspired piano style has defined some of his best known songs. An East Tennessee native, Levi spent his youth mimicking the piano style of southern gospel music and idolizing men like Ray Charles who brought that sound to the mainstream. But Kreis (pronounced krice) confesses that everything he knows, he learned from one of Ray’s younger peers, Little Miss Dynamite, Brenda Lee. Traveling on her tour bus and studying her genius on stage and off, Kreis adopted Lee’s strong work ethic and classy reputation. But it was Brenda’s ability to have an audience in the palm of her hand that Kreis sought to make his own. By all accounts, Kreis succeeded. To this day Lee confesses, “I taught him everything he knows!”

Every stage of Levi’s life has been chronicled through his albums. Each one reveals a new side to this singer/songwriter, taking you through a myriad of genres – piano pop, gospel, country, r&b and jazz. Levi’s music has been featured in film and television shows including The Vampire Diaries, Sons of Anarchy, and So You Think You Can Dance. Seven albums have afforded Kreis impressive accolades – top ten positions on various charts, #1 music videos, national tours, TV appearances on The View, David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon and a Tony Award for originating the role of Jerry Lee Lewis in Broadway’s Million Dollar Quartet. With a multi-talent like Kreis, it’s no wonder his impact has been broad and varied.

But Kreis is now settling in to what he knows best – southern soul. His newest project Bad Habit drops March 20th, 2020 after leading with the previous single “Three Words” and the January 24th release “Faith” - a more soulful interpretation of the George Michael classic. Recorded in Los Angeles at Angelhouse Studios, produced by Drew Kapner, we get a grittier, perspective of Kreis.

Band Members