Sam Levin
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Sam Levin

Cortlandt Manor, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2010 | SELF

Cortlandt Manor, New York, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2010
Solo Alternative Indie

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"16-Year-Old Prodigy Sam Levin Is The Next Big Indie Rock Star"

While the rest of us were learning state capitals and how to write in cursive, Sam Levin was producing his own music.

The young indie rocker picked up a guitar at five and started producing music just a few years later. And now, at 16-year-old, his songwriting is already coming full circle.

I discovered Levin last year following the release of his first full-length debut Frame of Mind. If you check out my review you’ll notice I keep using the word ‘prodigy,’ in reference to the New Yorker. I haven’t shied away from the adjective. His latest work continues to demonstrate he’s a songwriter with skills well beyond his years.

I Am is his follow up album that he released last month. Levin says it’s an honest look at who he’s becoming as a person.

It’s ‘smart indie-rock,’ sure, but it also paints a picture of what life is like for him at 16. He’s a teen writing about teenage feelings. And it’s perfect.

“I can only start to write about other things if I write about myself first,” said Levin. “This is me stepping into my sound while also realizing what I do, what I think, what I feel, and who I am.”

With influences like Kings of Leon, The Lumineers, Imagine Dragons and Bon Iver, Levin already has a melting pot of musicality in between his ears. Add to the fact he can play nearly every instrument known to an inner-city high school kid and it’s a recipe for a solar flare of creativity at the very least

Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Bass Guitar, Drums, Beatbox, Bongos, Piano, Hammond Organ, Melodica, Percussion — oh, and all ‘instrument Programming,’ is what Sam performs on his newest record.

“A lot of my songs are just filtered experiences,” said Levin. “I take lots of little pieces or feelings or colors or emotions and I mash them into a string of words.”

Some call Levin’s music ‘modern folktronica.’ I call it good.

Although acoustic driven, Levin weaves in electronic elements into his sound that all share a heavy jazz and alt-rock influence. It’s different. And the sound of his voice is easy on the ears.

Levin told me that these last two albums have been very fulfilling. But the humble teen is still anxiously waiting for his audience to continue to grow.

“It’s been so overwhelming waking up to see more and more listeners on Spotify,” he said. “It’s hard to get it through my head that people are actually listening and enjoying the music that I put out there. It’s already more than I could have ever asked for, and the numbers just keep going up.”

And if he continues to write smart songs that still have a catchy melody or two, he’s bound to blow up some day soon.

What else makes me believe in Levin is not only his honest song-writing, but his ambition.

“I’m also excited to grow as a writer, and to see how my music theory knowledge pushes me to create more and more interesting pieces of music,” Levin said. “I love creating these songs for listeners, and I can’t wait to keep doing it for the rest of my life.”
So what’s next for Sam Levin?

Well, getting school ‘out of the way,’ first, so that he can 100 percent focus on his music.

“I see myself writing and creating music on a daily basis,” said Levin.

“It’s so rewarding and relaxing, and right now there are a lot of things like school that get in the way of creating, because of the time commitment, so hopefully in the future I will have more time to work on the things I’m most passionate about!”

I mean, John Mayer dropped out of Boston’s famous Berklee College of Music before going mainstream. Not implying Levin shouldn’t go to music school, but if you got ‘it’ you got it.

As for advice for other young aspiring musicians? Levin says to finish what you start, always.

“If you’re working on something and you’re getting less and less enthusiastic about it, push through,” he said. “Even if you don’t feel too great about the finished product, if you don’t finish, it’s hard to forget about the fragments of something you only poured half of your heart into. So finish the song! If you don’t like it, put it aside, but every song deserves to be finished.” - Mandatory


"Album Review: Sam Levin – ‘I Am’"

Sam Levin was one of the breakout stars in indie fol last year with his breathtaking song composition and vivid storyteller-style lyrics in his powerful debut album Frame of Mind. His second album, I Am, released in March of this year and is even more emotionally open lyrically and interesting compositionally.

I Am seems a pretty clear declaration for Levin’s sophomore album title, but in case audiences were unclear, the “Intro” spells it out in plain spoken words: “…and this is who I am.” It thus stands to reason that this album is going to be at the very least geared around that declaration and at best a self-conscious self-examination through music and lyrics. Turns out it’s both.

Songs like the album’s title track, “With Love and Compassion” and the all-instrumental “I Was” seem to go right along with Levin’s self-examining theme, but they’re not all totally introspective. “Carbon” and “With Love and Compassion”, for example, are more about relationships and reaching out. These don’t stray far from the introspective theme, but there are still some surprises on the album.

“First World Problems” is one big surprise. In an album of indie folk, this track is full-on rock, about, not surprisingly, the irony of modern society and the silliness of the things we choose to give importance to. Another surprise on the album in terms of style is Levin’s use of electronic production to underline his now characteristic indie folk guitar style. The electronic elements is most noticeable in “Intro” and the album’s closing track, “Everyone Goes.” This final track is undoubtedly a highlight and seems to be an apotheosis to the album emotionally. Listening to it one gets the sense that Levin may have lost someone close to him recently, as it’s that personal and that poignantly painful. Landing after the instrumental “I Was,” this track turns the theme of I Am from introspective to existential, leaving audiences truly wondering what it’s all about.

Sam Levin has delivered a powerful and emotional piece of work with I Am, and considering this is only his second album, one can only wonder where he will go next. Per his own lyrics, “this isn’t the part that you know where everyone goes, and everyone goes.”

I Am by Sam Levin is out now and available to stream on Soundcloud or Spotify. The full album can be purchased on Levin’s Bandcamp page. Check out his website for info on upcoming releases and shows. - Ellenwood EP


"Video Premiere | Sam Levin – ‘First World Problems’"

With charming lyricism and an irreverent delivery, rising indie rocker Sam Levin’s ‘First World Problems’ feels like a recipe for success. Coming from off of his upcoming sophomore album, I Am, Levin’s single recalls a time where poppy hooks met world-conscious rock brevity to create some of the greatest music to grace the pop-rock movement. Drawing similarities to the likes of Scott Murphy and Julian Casablancas, Levin pushes forward with throwback rock riffs and undeniable wit on his new single.

The accompanying music video for ‘First World Problems’ matches the song’s charm with a simple, but sweet recording of Levin’s performance. It’s another callback to days of old, where punk videos were ferried forward with dry humor and simplicity to succinctly carry their point across. For Folk’s Sake is privileged to do the very punk, very folk thing here and premiere it exclusively here today.

Levin says: “First World Problems is all satire, it’s a nod to all the things I hear in the hallways, and a few true stories that I still remember, which remind me how lucky I am, but at the same time how much I take for granted. It’s one of the only real rock songs I’ve ever written, and it’s a ton of fun to play. I do an acoustic version when I perform the song live, but my favorite thing about the official version is the Strokes-inspired drums and crunchy guitar riff.” - for folk's sake


"Sam Levin - I Am"

New York indie musician Sam Levin is back with another collection of deceivingly unassuming pop with his sophomore full-length simply titled I Am. The songs are densely produced with delicate layering, but rather than a large cast of revolving musicians, the focus is still predominately on Levin. His backing vocals play an integral role with complex arrangements, and even his own hands are responsible for a large majority of the album’s percussion. There’s a real physicality to the recording, and it’s about the closest one can get to a capella without actually stripping it all of the instruments.

The title track, “I Am,” is a rare piano ballad amongst a predominately acoustic album, but Levin truly excels with the guitar tracks from the breezy “Five Fortunate” to songs that show off a sweet and tender side like “Carbon” and the superb “With Love and Compassion” where he sings with an unaffected naivety few others could pull off. The harder edge of “First World Problems” and the electronic “Common Sense” serve mostly as punctuation to add some variance to the album, but it’s filler in a quality album devoid of typical filler. I Am ends up as the perfect title for what is essentially a quietly confident manifesto on a deeply personal level. - The Big Takeover


"Review: Sam Levin takes you on a “feel good” journey with his new project, ‘I Am’"

In a digital age where music has no boundaries on how it’s distributed or even how it’s made, Sam Levin’s, 'I Am' is a breath of fresh air.

Sam Levin does an excellent job of storytelling and chooses the right beats to accompany each song, providing a diverse listening experience with a range of upbeat and slow tempo tracks. With soft beats and an alternative music foundation, this project creates an experience that feels gentle and intimate. The album makes a great transition from alternative, folk, and a hint of Pop music.

With songs like, ‘Five Fortunate’, Levin serenades with you harmonies and the sounds of a guitar with what seems to be waves crashing in the background. The title song, ‘I Am’, focuses heavily on the piano and creates a ballad and more sombre like feeling, but it’s also something that you don’t want to turn off so soon once you hear the lyrics. Depending on your mood, ‘I Am has a track for every feeling. A song for the lovers, a song to clean your house to, and a song for just a casual day in your car on the way to work. Levin did a great job with creating an intimate sound that’s also universal. Each song paints a vivid picture through the use of lyrics and hypnotizing melodies.

First thoughts on listening to the music: If ‘Plain White T’s’ had a music child, Sam Levin’s ‘I Am’ would be it. The perfect album to listen to while riding on the bus or train, or when biking through a park. It’s almost as if Levin is holding his hand out to you and personally inviting you into his world.

It’s refreshing to hear the range of Levin’s expertise in music whether it’s his vocal abilities or the musical instruments he uses. This is a solid piece of art that leaves you wanting more, perfectly combining elements of different genres and delivering personable, yet relatable lyrics. It’s exciting to see how Levin will continue to grow and evolve as an artist and with his sound. - Grungecake


"Review: Sam Levin - Frame of Mind"

At the young age of 15, Sam Levin has the compositional talent of an industry veteran. The young protege performs virtually every instrument on the album and weaves together complimentary melodies and tight rhythms with ease and finesse. With a debut EP released at 12, Levin is well on his way to a long career in the industry. Frame of Mind, his first full-length delivers 12 thoughtful pieces with a laid-back feel and lyrics that transcend his years. From the acoustic base, Levin adds in tasteful electronic albums, giving them a modern, folktronica style.

Tight arpeggiated programming and verbed-out claps open the album. 'Everything's Okay' builds with warm ascending lines mirroring U2-style inspirational numbers. Welcoming keys percolate under the verses. 'Setup' takes a more cynical tone over a snappy bossa nova. An adorable, mischievous girl joins the fray to duet with Levin. The tale is brief and to the point, the narrator fell for the setup. The album's title track lays acoustic on a bed of organ. Levin restates his insistence that everything's gonna be alright. Wise words about changing perspectives follow. The organ giving the pop tune a gospel twist.

The most interesting material comes at the end of the album when some of the focus on pop balladry fades away and Levin lets himself get further into crossover territory. 'Metronome' creatively bounces off a metronome-like clave, playing with rhythms somersaulting over each other and clever references to chord changes. The album finale 'Tru Mo' relies fully on an electronic beat and samples in a basic music instructional video. The 'Bob Ross of music' conveys a beautiful message about the art form's ability to make you deeply happy.

The album is a strong effort from an artist with a bright future. The songs though well-crafted, don't really stick out from each other save for the final few numbers. The musical talent is there but there is a lot of room to develop in terms of diversity and ingenuity. With such an early start, Sam Levin has plenty of time to find his voice. - Music-News.com


"Newcomer Songwriter Sam Levin"

Für Euch habe ich exklusiv den Songwriter Sam Levin ausgemacht.

Und der junge Kerl ist wirklich eine Entdeckung. Denn als ich am 23. März seine Facebookseite geliked hatte, waren es gerade mal 7 Likes. Parallel habe ich seine erste Single „Hide And Seek“ angehört. Seine Seite zu liken, war der Auslöser. Ein einfacher Beat, den er sich selbst gebastelt hat und dann seine unfassbar gute Stimme. Mit gerade mal 15 Jahren ist der Kerl einer der wohl talentiertesten Songwriter, den ich kenne.

Wenn der keine steile Karriere vor sich hat, weiß ich auch nicht. Und dafür, dass „Hide And Seek“ sein erster Track ist, ist das schon mal ein Statement. Wie schön ist das außerdem mal wieder eine nette Geschichte um den Songwriter erzählen zu können? Denn er hatte sich damals als fünfjähriger eine Fender Mini-Strat ausgesucht und meinte: Das wäre das was er unbedingt wolle. Mit 12 kam seine erste EP raus und was macht man mit 15? Na klar man will unbedingt ein erstes Album rausbringen. Kann man mal machen.

Am 28. März wird es soweit sein und er wird mit „Fram Of Mind“ insgesamt 12 Tracks drauf packen. Meine Güte, wie krass ist das bitte. So ein talentierter Kerl mit einer solchen Stimme, nimmt sein eigenes Album mal selbst auf. Also eines kann ich Euch sagen: Der Typ wird durchstarten, wenn das Album die richtigen Leute zu fassen bekommen. Für mich ein riesen großer Wurf. Kleines Hightlight seiner Platte ist für mich „Setup“. - Sound Kartell


"Listen To Sam Levin’s Optimistic New Single 'Everything’s Okay' [405 Premiere]"

Sam Levin is a fifteen-year-old self-made and self-produced multi-instrumentalist. He began making music at the tender age of five after pointing to a Fender Mini-Strat in a gear shop and saying, "I want to do that!"

At only twelve years old, Sam released his debut EP titled I'm In Here. Fast-forward three years later, Sam brings forth his first full-length album, Frame of Mind. According to Sam, "Frame of Mind is really about the last year-and-a-half of my life." The record is about choices, changes, reflection, joy and how music fits into all of that. Sam's talent is highlighted by the fact that he played practically every instrument on the album. Frame of Mind is for fans of The Head and the Heart, Kings of Leon, The Lumineers, Imagine Dragons, Bon Iver, Bahamas and Jose Gonzales.

A particular standout track on the record is the single titled 'Everything's Okay', a catchy optimistic track layered with yearning harmonies and tightly looped synth tracks. 'Everything's Okay' opens with the song's signature muted guitar picking backed by sweeping strings. Enveloped in a potentially intentional lo-fi aesthetic, 'Everything's Okay' is a reassuring song that deals with accidental collisions and everyday trials and tribulations.

The song boasts intricate instrumental layering and wide tonal variety. The track unfolds in a cyclical manner with steady guitar, synthesizer and drum patterns that act as glue to bond the parts together. Sam's vocals whine with nostalgia and longing overtop of multiple unedited throwback synth patches. Brief instrumental interludes provide encouraging relief to Sam's teary singing style. The track is complete with a memorable radio-friendly hook, instrumental sections and charming bells.

The visuals unravel in a slice of life format in New York City as two separate stories merge together - Sam is on his journey to go busking in Times Square, but things take a turn when a new plot line develops. Although the title is excessively optimistic, the video cries of loneliness. The feeling of loneliness is only amplified by the fact that Sam is surrounded by hundreds of bustling people who ignore him. On a brighter note, the female character in the music video brings optimism and hope for happiness. Cleverly, at the halfway point in the video, Sam essentially breaks the fourth wall between himself and the female character by acknowledging her actions, although they are not physically together. As she puts in headphones to get ready for a stroll, Sam asks, "How's the music that you're listening to? Did you know it does a lot for you?" Furthermore, a complex atmosphere is created in the video thanks to the juxtaposition between the rambunctious concrete jungle and the solemn weepy melodies.

As a part of the record, 'Everything's Okay' is a catchy, lazy-day tune. But as a whole, Frame of Mind is an easily relatable and promising work from this young talent. - The 405


"Amazed By The Music Of Sam Levin"

Music is a bug that can affect people at any age. There are rockers and crooners out there that are way up there in years and there are major musical prodigies that are still only in the single digits of life. Music knows no age.

However, I know that Sam Levin is only fifteen years old, but has the musical genius of someone much older than his decade and a half. The thing is, he actually started his music career at the tender age of five. After falling for a Fender Mini-Strat in a music store he decided that he would start working on music, but in a way many people his age weren’t. Instead of getting on a show like American Idol, he opted to hang at home and write great music.

His debut EP was released when he was only twelve, full of songs he had worked on from the ages of seven to eleven, all self-produced songs (wow). Now he has just released his first full-length album, ‘Frame Of Mind.’

While his musical influences growing up were admittedly some of the greats, like The Beatles and Jackson Browne, the music on ‘Frame Of Mind’ has more of a millennial feel to it. My own comparisons include the sounds of Modest Mouse and Coldplay, while the press release rightly compares Sam’s sound to Bon Iver, Kings Of Leon, and even Imagine Dragons. That’s all some popular music to be compared to.

His music has a great beat, all of it sounding a little different though somewhat the same. It all fits well together on this new album. My favorite song is the first on the album, “Everything’s Okay.” It’s a feel-good song in its own right. “Stepup” continues the funky beat of this album, with lyrics that feel far more adult than the boy singing them. I really dig the female backing vocals on this one.

However, of the twelve songs on this album, “Shades Of Pale” is one of the most memorable. The lyrics bring you through the world of fairy tales, and have an appeal for people of all ages, from pre-teen to senior. It’s a very poetic song with well-written lyrics. I also really enjoyed the video for this one (or maybe I was just jealous of that book collection in the first frame). I like the simplicity of simply watching Sam play his guitar, but the ever changing background imagines take you on a tour as his lyrics do the same.

“Ride” kind of has a country-feel to it. The title-track, “Frame Of Mind,” is a very mellow tune, keeping the beat to a minimum so that you can focus more on the meaning of the lyrics.

“Hide And Seek” brings the beat back up, with a toe-tapping sound. It’s a fresh and fun sound, even as the lyrics seem to be a little more on the serious side. It’s no wonder this is one of the first releases off the album, though. It gives you a good taste of what Sam’s music is like and what you can expect throughout this album.

There are six more songs on this album that I haven’t mentioned in this review, but that’s because I want you to listen for yourself. I am really in love with this sound and am looking forward to seeing what this talented young gentleman does in the future with his interesting and unique musical style.

Since he’s been playing open mics since he was seven, and writing songs since then, it makes sense that he can only get better, and he’s already creating amazing music far beyond his years. - Beat


"Sam Levin – ‘Frame of Mind’ Review"

New York’s new kid on the block, Sam Levin, kicked off his career at the ripe age of 5 years old and is on the verge of creating a world of his own with his mature disposition and musical style that’ll charm and captivate listeners of all ages. The young man who is now 15 years old is on the brink of releasing his debut album, ‘Frame of Mind’, which is evidence of what is only the beginning of what’s to come for Mr. Levin.

Sam pours his heart and soul over the album’s opener, “Everything’s Okay”, that is a tale of feeling lonely amongst the presence of the love of his life and having to succumb to agreeing and pretending that everything is okay to keep things happily moving along. If you’re a fan of Jack Johnson and John Mayer, the second track, “Setup”, showcases a tender side of Sam that is full of wonder and pulsating female background vocals that lead to the truth of being taken for granted over affectionate and sensual strumming of the acoustic guitar.

Sam sounds far ahead of his time over the third track, “Shadows of Pale”, over charismatic lyrics that speak of topics that individuals in his age range can connect to while meeting the tastes of older audiences who enjoy sitting on the porch strumming a tune or two.

The fifth track, “Frame of Mind” smoothes away even the darkest imagery with the ease of Sam’s optimism and bewitching pleas of hope. If you dig some good ol’ Jason Mraz, then “Hide and Seek” is a track that will capture your heart and with its mellow and youthful emphasis on existing behind a mask to cover up inner insecurities.

Sam has certainly found his groove and picks up the pace over the eighth track, “Make My Day”, which is fitting to the current style of songwriting that captures modern-day hipsters and today’s Pop music. ‘Frame of Mind’ closes with “Tru Mo” which cleverly laces an old-school touch reminiscent of the opening of an NYC underground Hip-Hop track over the pacifying effect that Sam naturally gives off throughout the album.

It is bewildering that this is Sam’s first release and this album highlights the talent that he has developed over the past ten years of developing the skills to become the exemplary musician that he is destined to gradually become. - Tattoo.com


"Emerging Artist: Sam Levin, Teen Prodigy"

Sam Levin is like that guy you went to high school with, who you knew was smarter than all the other ‘bros,’ yet didn’t get the credit.

The 15-year-old’s newest work, Frame Of Mind, just came out March 28. What’s crazy is that it’s not his first project. That came at the age of 7.

Of course Frame Of Mind is Levin’s first full-length album. And it’s one hell of a debut considering his age. When I was 15 I was mastering Mario Kart and my jump shot, not an epic collection of self-made art for the masses.

The singer-songwriter’s first video off the album is “Shades Of Pale.”

The snapping is well, snappy. Personally, I could go without the cough in the beginning, but it makes the track affably human.

If you notice, Levin’s simple, repetitive, acoustic licks on the above track are mesmerizing. There are times when his baritone voice also resembles that of Shawn Mendes, especially on the track “Ride,” which is one of the stronger tracks on the album.

“I Sure Hope Not (Again)” and “Shades Of Pale” are also songs that standout from the New Yorker. I love how the 80s-inducing horns keep you guessing in “Made My Day.” But the song I keep wanting to go back to is “Setup.” My God, the Setup. Such a great song.

The track has this cool, jazz club feel that has masterful picking, which again, meshes perfectly with Levin’s baritone voice. Adding Annie Rubinson’s backup vocals adds a nice touch, helping to paint a solid picture of what that ‘setup’ may have really been like. But the track comes full-circle with the crescendo of the last 30 seconds that showcases Levin’s amazing acoustic chops, blasting ripe solos that almost make a grown man cry.

I would also be remiss if I didn’t note Levin’s love for experimentation. No, he’s not tripping … I don’t think. But it appears the kid really wants to swing for the fences when it comes to adding as many instruments to an album as possible.

While listening to Frame Of Mind, I found myself asking:

Is that an organ?

Is that xylophone?

Is that mouth percussion?

A 50’s PSA?

A metronome?

What instrument is that which sounds Beatles-esque?

You get the idea.

And there’s nothing wrong with it. I love the fact that Levin wants to dabble in a little bit of everything. It’s every music lover’s dream. It does make the album a little less relatable to the average listener.

Overall, Frame Of Mind isn’t going to break records (no pun intended), but it is an incredibly solid debut from a kid that appears to have a bright future in music. If I could, I would buy stock.

Levin is already a master of his craft at an age most boys are too busy frosting their tips (wait, my 90s is coming out). And while there are times it appears he’s just using words that rhyme, such as in “Shades Of Pale,” it all kind of works. And lines such as “we both see eye to eye through telescope” in “Telescope” proves Levin can write well beyond his years.

He’s creative, yes. And his songs also need to be a little more appealing to a wider audience. But he also shouldn’t ‘sell out.’ And he won’t.

I have a feeling if this kid continues to grow at his current pace or collabs with the right people, he’s certainly a future star. All the talent is there.

Or should I say, “It’s all gonna be all right right right.” - CRAVE


"Album | Sam Levin – Frame of Mind"

Few things in this world can sway this writer into even partially believing that there is such a thing as a fate that wasn’t malleable, but the story of how Sam Levin got into music is one such tale that moves him. Allegedly, the New Yorkian singer-songwriter’s career in the musical arts began at just the tender age of five-years-old following a visit to a local music store where he pointed at a guitar and proclaimed that he wanted it.

While he could’ve been like many other precocious performers in the modern age and take to YouTube or a show like The Voice to perform a series of covers for the masses, Levin had decided for himself early on to take on, purely, his own original songs in performance. He hustled between the ages of seven and 11, which eventually became his first EP at just 12 years-old before turning his sights on developing his first full-length effort. His debut EP is here now in the form of 2017’s Frame of Mind, but what is the end result of this now 15-year-old’s pursuit of a full-length record?

Decidedly, it’s all actually rather good. Whereas one might have a clear picture engraved into their mind of just what a 15-year-old performer should look like, showboated out by a major production company to be their next pop drone show-horse, Levin takes that image and tosses it straight into the trash bin. Instead, he veers left and he veers right—anywhere but straight ahead towards any preconceptions about his musical ability that might crop up because of his age.

The arrangements on Frame of Mind come from a studious place of reflection. They’re more akin in their production and delivery to an alt-j or Bon Iver record than anything Bieber or Grande would’ve put out at the start of their careers (or now). It is an astoundingly thoughtful, artful work of an album that ascends above expectations to deliver something introspective and full of an individual soul. Unusual and upbeat, this is going to be one to remember. - for folk's sake


"Sam Levin “Frame of Mind”"

Sam Levin begins Frame of Mind with Everything’s Okay. The track is a blending of alt rock with a twinkling electronic sound that comes forth as tremendously reverent of 1990s and oughts styles, all while having a current and vibrant sound.

Shades Of Pale is a truly beautiful effort. On this outing, Levin needs little more than a guitar an his inimitable vocals to make something that will resound loudly with listeners. Frame Of Mind is one of the most complex and contemplative songs on the album; there is a guitar line that strives to match Levin’s vocals. It is with this dynamic that listeners will have to play the effort multiple times; there are just that many distinct layers that one can enjoy. Hide And Seek is out favorite song on the release. The playful synthesizers oppose the natural sound of the guitars and vocals; fans of Owl City and The Rocket Summer will love what Levin does here.



Sam Levin begins Frame of Mind with Everything’s Okay. The track is a blending of alt rock with a twinkling electronic sound that comes forth as tremendously reverent of 1990s and oughts styles, all while having a current and vibrant sound.

Shades Of Pale is a truly beautiful effort. On this outing, Levin needs little more than a guitar an his inimitable vocals to make something that will resound loudly with listeners. Frame Of Mind is one of the most complex and contemplative songs on the album; there is a guitar line that strives to match Levin’s vocals. It is with this dynamic that listeners will have to play the effort multiple times; there are just that many distinct layers that one can enjoy. Hide And Seek is out favorite song on the release. The playful synthesizers oppose the natural sound of the guitars and vocals; fans of Owl City and The Rocket Summer will love what Levin does here.

I Sure Hope Not (Again) infuses a bit of reggae and soulful sounds into the mix. It is precisely what listeners need to re-energize; after the sizzling guitar line, fans will eagerly devour the balance of the release.

Make My Day keeps the momentum high. The shuffling beat, sultry vocals, and snap/synth one-two make this into a dance floor-worthy track. The bit of synth that is heard here will appease fans of 1980s dance (e.g. Pet Shop Boys).

Frame of Mind ends with Tru Mo, an effort that does a tremendous job in tying up any loose ends that were created over the course of the album. For additional information about Levin, check out his main domain or social media profiles.

Top Tracks: Hide And Seek, I Sure Hope Not (Again)

Rating: 8.2/10 - NeuFutur


"Sam Levin - Frame of Mind (Self-Released)"

Although New York singer/songwriter Sam Levin has been performing in some capacity or another since the age of seven, he has just released his first full-length debut album entitled Frame of Mind. His own style is reminiscent of newer artists like Kings of Leon or The Lumineers, but his songs are more firmly rooted in a classical pop tradition with strong hints of ’60s soulful melodicism. The production is full and lush, but still raw enough to put the focus on Levin’s unpretentiously introspective lyrics. When necessary songs like “Ride” have a chanting, group-like quality, whereas others such as “Shades of Pale” turn the spotlight solely on Levin’s guitar and voice.

Frame of Mind is definitely an album wholly devoid of pessimism, but neither is it blindly idealistic. Instead, Levin’s lyrics lean towards the cautiously optimistic with the occasional trace of melancholy. Electronic and synthpop elements sneak in once in awhile, typified best by album highlight “Hide and Seek,” but it never clashes with the more acoustic songs, blending in perfectly. Frame of Mind has a wonderfully charming home grown sound that perfectly suits Sam Levin’s quietly confident style, and should easily turn out to be surprise indie sleeper hit. - The Big Takeover


"THE KID HAS TALENT: AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH SAM LEVIN"

When Sam Levin’s album Frame of Mind was sent to me by his publicist it was recommended if you like The Head and the Heart, Kings of Leon, The Lumineers, Imagine Dragons, Bon Iver, Bahamas and Jose Gonzales. Naturally, with an impressive list like that, I had to give it a listen. I didn’t even read the bio at first, I just downloaded it and put it on. I was immediately impressed with his songwriting, which featured a multitude of colorful instruments that were blended together perfectly, creating a rainbow of sound. To my ears, he reminded me of The Bens. You know, Ben Lee, Ben Folds and Ben Kweller. Each are offbeat and rather unique and yet they have a broad enough appeal at the same time. By the time Sam’s album was over, I’d made up my mind that I wanted to interview him. Then I went back and read his bio and was shocked to learn that he is only 15. Granted, he looks young on his album cover, but I still would have guessed that he was at least 20, if only because his music has a certain degree of maturity that I wouldn’t expect to come from someone so young. As I read on, I learned that Sam wrote his first song when he was just seven years old. And in addition to his fantastic solo music, he also plays in a jazz band. I don’t know if these things qualify him as a prodigy or not, but they certainly impressed me. Give his album a listen below as you read this interview and I have a feeling you’ll be impressed, too.

MM: First of all, it was only when I looked at your Bandcamp page that I read that you’re from New York, New York. Everywhere else, including your Facebook page, you leave it off. Are you trying to be mysterious?

SL: I don’t think so. I just think maybe that slipped past.

MM: I read that you asked for a Fender Mini Strat when you were just five years old. Were you joking or were you already playing instruments at that age?

SL: I had been taking piano lessons, as kids take piano lessons, I guess. But that was the first time I had an I-actually-want-to-make-music moment in my life.

MM: So, what instruments do you play besides guitar? I understand you play quite a few.

SL: Mostly piano, drums, bass, and I do a lot of programming, too.

MM: When you write songs do you usually start with the music or the lyrics first?

SL: Actually, it’s almost entirely the music first. The lyrics are normally much later because I feel like lyrics, you really have to think about them a lot more because that’s what people are gonna remember.

MM: I understand you wrote your first song when you were seven. Was it an actual verse chorus verse type of song or something abstract?

SL: No, it was pretty generic. It was C, G, A minor, F, all really standard chords. Really basic verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus.

MM: What was it called?

SL: It was called “I Sure Hope Not.

MM: After you wrote that song when you were seven, did you continue writing songs from that point on or did you stop until you got older?

SL: I stopped for a little bit. It wasn’t too long. It was maybe almost a year before I decided I’d try it again and I wrote another song. I wasn’t deliberately waiting. It was just by the time I got back to it.

MM: Prior to Frame of Mind you released a few singles and an EP. How old were you when you released your first single?

SL: First single was ten then second single at eleven then the EP was at 12. And then I just released a single from the album earlier last year.

MM: When did Frame of Mind come out?

SL: Frame of Mind came out this year. March 28th.

MM: How’s it been doing?

SL: It’s been really great. I don’t really expect much. I just kind of wanted to get it out there. But so far it’s been really amazing.

MM: Are you looking to get a record deal for it or are you just glad to have it self-released for now?

SL: Yeah, it’s good to have it self-released. I’ve been trying to send it out, like try to just get it out more but I think I’m not really looking for a record deal more than just for it to be heard more.

MM: I know there are some female backing vocals on Frame of Mind, but is all of the music we hear all you?

SL: A good amount of it is. I had someone help me with the drums on “Set Up” and, of course, there’s a chorus on “Ride” and, yeah, the back up singers you were talking about.

MM: Did you produce the album yourself, too?

SL: Yeah.

MM: What kind of software do you use to produce?

SL: I use Ableton Live Nine.

MM: Do you use any samples or loops for the beats or do you do it all with live percussion instruments?

SL: No, everything on there was actually played.

MM: Did you mix and master the album yourself, too?

SL: Mostly. My Dad helped me out.

MM: Did you design the album cover?

SL: Yeah. That was fun.

MM: You’ve said that Frame of Mind is about what happened to you during the past year, which isn’t necessarily a good thing or a bad thing. What were some of the main events in your life that inspired it?

SL: Well, I started high school, which is just the classic. Writing music as well was getting harder. You know, realizing that a bunch of people have written songs, it’s hard to sound original. A lot of like realizations and, you know, going into high school. A lot of that. It was mostly like thoughts that turned into songs. There wasn’t a lot of physical things that turned into songs.

MM: Now you also make electronic music, which I was really impressed with. What do you use for making that?

SL: That’s also Ableton except for the album I was doing a lot of recording into Ableton, whereas with the electronic stuff most of the time I’ll just sit down at my computer for an hour or two.

MM: I also understand you’re in a school band and a jazz band – or are they one in the same?

SL: Oh, yeah, those are the same.

MM: What do you do in the band?

SL: I play guitar in the jazz band. Which has been cool because I’ve been playing jazz for a while. Since I was like eight. And it’s cool to be challenged by that because I’ve been playing a lot of really basic jazz songs.

MM: Do you do covers or do you do original material?

SL: We do mostly covers. Not really jazz standards but some pretty popular jazz songs.

MM: What are some of the ones you do?

SL: Well, right now we just finished working on some Chick Corea, “You’re Everything.” But right now our big project is we’re gonna try to play the entirety of Aja by Steely Dan.

MM: As far as your original material goes, do you think you’ll always be a solo artist or could you see yourself ever starting a band?

SL: I kind of like the whole solo thing. It’s nice to kind of have people help you, but I feel like if you start a band [it’s like how] people always say getting married is a huge commitment. You’re with that person forever. And I feel like a band is kind of like that. You’re writing the same music. And writing music is a really intimate process. So, I feel like if I’m constantly doing it with a bunch of other people it might be a little hard.

MM: I like how the metronome is used as an instrument in your song of the same name. How did you come up with that idea?

SL: When you start a new song, most of the time I’ll just hit the metronome because there’s no other way to really hear what tempo you have set up. I kind of had forgotten to take it off and when the time came around to finish the song I realized that I wanted it to be in. But there’s also no way to get that metronome sound. I came up with a cool drum hit and I put in that as a generic metronome sound. And then as the song progresses, I thought it would be cool if there were certain breaks where the metronome kind of changes rhythm. Maybe triple it and some cool stuff.

MM: “Tru Mo” has someone instructing kids on how to play music. Did you write that whole spoken word part or is that something that you found?

SL: I made all the music. Those are really old samples. I just thought it was really cool. I don’t know if it has the same effect on people but it’s kind of inspiring in a weird way. At the end of the song the guy’s saying like you can make whatever you want. Once you figure out how to do certain things then you just go and you play then the album ends. I thought that was really cool, kind of like encouragement to, you know, make your own music.

MM: I really like that track. Did you get permission to sample it? Or is it just something so old you figured nobody would care?

SL: Oh, yeah, we got permission for that.

MM: Is that a triangle I hear chiming in “Everything’s OK”?

SL: Yeah. I didn’t want to make it too loud. It kind of blended pretty well.

MM: I think that’s one of the first times I ever heard a triangle used in an actual song.

SL: It’s a tough instrument to put in there.

MM: On “Ride” you sing about having singalongs with family and friends. How often does that happen?

SL: That song is true. I was also mocking other songs about [how] everything’s fantastic and everything’s great. And there’s a line in there about how it’s OK if I don’t see you again because I’ll eventually see you when we’re all together again. So, it’s all kind of ironic in a way.

MM: You also sing about how thinking too much can lead you on a downward spiral on that one. Do you find that you’re prone to that type of thinking?

SL: Yeah. I said how the songs are more like thoughts than physical things. Most songs come from thinking about something then that would turn into something else and eventually I can’t stop thinking about a certain thing so writing a song about it was really helpful.

MM: Which song on the album would you say finds you at your most vulnerable?

SL: I think the title track, probably. You can probably hear it. Near the end I go pretty high. I normally don’t sing very high, but that song is sort of all about growing up. Not growing up like going from a small child to a larger child. Growing up as in going from a teenager to an adult.

MM: I read that aside from songwriting you like to write stories. Are we talking about short stories or have you ever worked on a novel or anything?

SL: I’m the type of person who will come up with a really cool idea and I’ll sit down and I’ll start writing it and then the idea will kind of fade. The excitement that I’ll have. I have so many first five pages of a lot of stories.

MM: I read that you’ve done a lot of coffee house tours and open mic nights. Are you headlining any shows or are you opening for other people?

SL: That would be great. I’d love to open for someone. But, as of now, I just try to find gigs. If I get them I’ll post about them or tell people about them, but as of now I have nothing really big because I’m in school.

MM: Do you think you’ll do any touring around your area or anything during the summer?

SL: Um, that would be really cool. That’s actually a great idea.

MM: Do you generally prefer writing and creating music or performing live?

SL: I think writing and creating is definitely – I’m not gonna say more fun, but I have so many tools when I’m just sitting there and I can make mistakes and experiment with different instruments, whereas if you’re playing it live you’ve rehearsed it and you have specifically what you want to do so there isn’t as much freedom.

MM: I know you do some covers at your live performances. Who do you cover and which songs?

SL: One of my favorites is Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine.” I came up with a really cool solo guitar version of that song. I also try to play LCD Soundsystem as much as I can. That’s a big inspiration.

MM: Yeah, I like them. What do you do by them?

SL: Lately, mostly “All My Friends.” I try to do “Home” and my big goal is to play “”Dance Yrself Clean.” I’m still figuring out how to do that.

MM: That’s a tough one. How popular would you ideally like to be? Would you like to be a household name or would you rather have more of a cult following?

SL: I use Spotify a lot and when you go to artists it tells you how many listens they have and I feel like at a certain point it becomes like a really big thing and less like a small treasure kind of artist. Not very big. I’d just kind of like to be known. Not known but kind of known.

MM: How many monthly listens would you like to get?

SL: I don’t know. Right now I have 200 monthly listeners. Really, really cool. I was not expecting to have that many. But, yeah, definitely the more the better. Maybe like 2000.

MM: I know you like listening to music on vinyl. What do you think about the vinyl comeback?

SL: I think it’s really interesting, considering it’s like definitely one of the biggest, physically, ways of listening to music. It’s also expensive, too. But I think it’s really cool that it’s coming back. I’m not entirely sure how it happened.

MM: I think it was gradual.

SL: Also, these days a lot of people are only releasing singles or small EPs and I think it’s cool how whole albums are meant to be listened to. If you buy an album on vinyl then you’re gonna play the entire thing.

MM: So, do you buy new releases on vinyl or do you mostly collect old records?

SL: Well, my Dad has boxes and boxes of old records. I think it’s really cool to support new artists by buying vinyl. I just bought Courtney Barnett’s album on vinyl. That was pretty cool.

MM: The one thing I don’t like about the vinyl comeback is how the prices have gone up as it’s gotten more popular. Especially when they put albums out on 180 gram vinyl and charge 40 bucks for one album.

SL: Yeah. It’s definitely even crazier because nowadays a lot of people just pay fifteen dollars a month and they can listen to whatever songs they want.

MM: It’s funny how at the same time vinyl has come back you have this huge streaming industry now. What do you think of streaming services? Are you generally a fan of them?

SL: Well, I can’t say no. I use Spotify a lot. But at the same time musicians are making a lot less money off of them. But from my point of view, I’m not really in it for money. I just think it’s cool to get music out there. A lot of people are discovering new artists. But at the same time if people are really all about money then it’s definitely not the best.

RANDOM QUESTIONS:

MM: What was the first album you ever bought with your own money?

SL: Probably Gorrilaz’s Plastic Beach on vinyl.

MM: What do you think of their new album?

SL: I kind of just started listening to it. I don’t know enough to say. Definitely, I think the singles they released are probably my least favorite songs on the album.

MM: I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. I’ve only listened to it a few times myself. I think where it’s such a long album you really have to listen to it more than a few times to get into it.

SL: Yeah.

MM: Name three artists from your parents’ record collection who you actually like.

SL: Well, growing up there was a lot of Steve Miller. Like classic Steve Miller. Traffic. Jackson Browne.

MM: What have you been listening to lately?

SL: Well, this is gonna be my fifth time talking about Spotify, but every Monday they send me thirty songs with Discover Weekly so that’s how I find most of my artists. But where the new Gorillaz album just came out I’ve been listening to a lot of old Gorillaz albums to get back into it. A lot of Phoenix, I’ve been getting into. And also, for fun, a lot of Tom Waits.

MM: If someone was giving you a million dollars to give to charity and it all had to go to one charity or cause, which would you give it to?

SL: Maybe the ASPCA.

MM: That’s one of the animal rights ones, right?

SL: Yeah.

MM: If you could have one artist cover one of your songs, who would you like to cover you and what song would you like them to do?

SL: I would say I would really like to see – do you know Car Seat Headrest?

MM: Yeah.

SL: I’d like to see them do “Everything’s OK.”

MM: What’s the first concert you attended?

SL: Oh, man, there’s been a lot of concerts. Maybe JJ Grey & Mofro.

MM: Who else have you seen?

SL: Well, I recently saw Bon Iver. And I just saw James Blake at Radio City Music Hall, that was pretty great. And I just bought tickets to see Marcy Playground a couple months from now.

MM: Tell us three things from your bucket list you have yet to do?

SL: I’d love to go skydiving. I’d like to be in a hot air balloon. I’m a heights guy.

MM: Have you ever been to the Eiffel Tower?

SL: No.

MM: That would blow your mind then. It’s so much bigger in real life than it always looks in photos and stuff. Are there any foreign countries you’d like to visit?

SL: I went to London. I did an open mic tour in London. That was fantastic. I love it there.

MM: Were you well-received there?

SL: Yeah, definitely. Their open mic crowd is a lot better, I think, than ours. They’re actually really interested in listening. At every show they would ask me how old I was so that they could hate me. But, yeah, they definitely are a lot more interested.

MM: What’s your biggest pet peeve?

SL: Probably people who think big pop stars are musical geniuses.

MM: If you could resurrect one musician from the dead, who would you bring back?

SL: Jaco Pastorius. He played jazz. He’s a bass player. He’s also on Hejira by Joni Mitchell.

MM: One last one. What’s the most useful piece of advice you’ve ever been given and who gave it to you?

SL: Does it have to be directly given to me?

MM: It can be in a roundabout way.

SL: Bill Withers has a song where he says “it doesn’t matter how you do it, but do it good.” - Love is Pop


"Sam Levin – Frame of Mind [Album]"

There was a time when the word “indie” seemed on the verge of becoming synonymous with “acoustic” or “lo-fi”. Perhaps these genre spaces were on the verge of a stylistic shift, something difficult to explain, and difficult to move within. New York artist Sam Levin inhabits these areas but leaps around within them so that it feels as if he is transcending genre, but what genre he is beyond is difficult to pin down — as it should be.

Frame of Mind is sometimes electronic, sometimes acoustic, and sometimes takes elements of both and weaves them together. Beginning with the truly optimistic and cinematic “Everything’s Okay”, we get a bouncy, complex sweetness that pops up again and again throughout the record — the assortment of instruments on “Hide and Seek” is a strong example. “Setup” introduces the acoustic vibes with an incredible clicking percussion line (something that appears again on “Hide and Seek” and “Metronome”), then softens further on “Shades of Pale” for a more delicate album centre.

There’s a certain summer feel to Frame of Mind that is most prevalent on the big-chorus party feel of “Ride” and the sunshiney groove of “I Sure Hope Not (Again)”. But the highlights of the album come with the velvety nighttime R&B flavoured track “Make My Day” and the innovative instructional smoothness of “Tru Mo”. When Sam Levin pushes at the walls of genre and utilizes the true musicianship featured on “Frame of Mind” and “Metronome” for something that drifts from pop into another sphere, the album becomes something bigger than itself. Something beyond the frame. - New Sick Music


"15 Year Old Multi-Instrumentalist Sam Levin Presents “Frame of Mind”"

Fresh, bright and immediately appealing to all ages, this young man has a true talent. I was extremely impressed with his versatility and stage presence.

His music is wholesome and evergreen which will surely take him to distant places in his music career. At the age of 15 he already has an old soul when it comes to expressing the story in each song. His passion is clear and present in each note and lyric.

I enjoyed the sharp and clean strumming of the acoustic guitar. Each chord grabs you and you can’t help but begin to sway with the music.

Sam’s talent is natural and it shows in his confidence on stage and with the music. This new album is a 12 track jewel. It appears that growing up with classics like The Beatles, Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne and of course one of my favorites, The Rolling Stones has deeply impacted Sam’s desire to be genuine and lead him to choose to write his own songs then cover others.

At the young age of 5 Sam began a magical journey in the music industry and it appears he has no plans to stop any time soon. While passing by a local music shop a Fender Mini-Strat caught his eye and he immediately said, “ I want to do that”, and now he is a gifted singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist with not one but now two albums under his belt.

Somewhere between the ages of 7 and 11 Sam self -produced several songs and short videos, then at the age of 12 he released his first EP “I’m In Here” that has received rave reviews. Now at the age of 15 he has released a full length album sure to do the same. “Frame Of Mind” is a winner. For someone of his age his gift for producing soulful, upbeat and toe tapping tunes is outstanding.

Levin has appeared on many various stages since the age of 7 when he had his first open-mic night to the recent 2 hour shows at community arts festivals, coffee houses and a one week London Open MicTour. Artists who have played a big part in influencing his music are James Blake, Herbie Hancock, Courtney Barnett and Bon Iver as well as Galactic and JJ Grey.
Sam Levin courtesy of Independent Music Promotions

This album and Levin’s talent borrows on a multi list of genres. He gives us a splash of indie acoustic, with a little jazz, a little folk, and some highly appealing melodies that will have you singing along from the first verse.

For a teenager he sings about real life struggles, hopes, dreams, and anxieties that most teens face in today’s society. I think he would be great with soft rock and that the female background vocals only bring out more in his vocals. His instrumentation is solid and on target and I would love to have this album in my own personal collection.

The amazingly talented Sam Levin performed all vocals and played Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Bass Guitar, Drums, Beatbox, Bongos, Piano, Hammond Organ, Melodica, Percussion and all instrument programming on this album. The album “Frame of Mind” was produced, recorded, mixed & mastered by David Levin. - Nashville Music Guide


"Sam Levin Stirs The Soul With Debut Album “Frame of Mind”"

Today’s hyper-commercialized muscial landscape forces young artists into preconceived boxes at a very young age. It is always refreshing to come across an artist who is dead set on doing it their own way. Sam Levin is a talented singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who started his career in music when he was just 5 years old, pointing to a Fender Mini-Strat on the wall of a local music store and saying, “I want to do that!”

In an age where young musicians aim to please by singing on TV talent show competitions, Sam, having grown up on a steady diet of classic artists like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Joni Mitchell and Jackson Browne decided he would rather write and record his own songs. Between the age of 7 and 11 Sam did just that, he released several self-produced songs and videos and at 12 released his debut EP titled I’m In Here. Now, at 15 years old, Sam is releasing his first full-length album, Frame of Mind.

Sam’s undeniably honest lyrics, soul-soothing vocals, and crisp production combine to create a captivating indie experience. Lead single “Hide & SeeK” is stirring and introspective tune that is as infectious as it is relatable. The album’s title track “Frame Of Mind” is a spectacular acoustic ballad that brims with a triumphant and positive energy. Sam exhibits a conspicuously old soul for someone of his tender years. At only 15 years old Sam Levin is showing that he has a profound wealth of wisdom and maturity that should speak to all of his listeners. Other highlights from Frame Of Mind include the funky synth-driven “Make My Day”, the beautifully somber “Shades Of Pale” and the immensely upbeat “I Sure Hope Not (Again)”.

“Frame of Mind, is really about the last year and a half of my life,” according to Sam. “It’s not a good thing or a bad thing, it’s just what happened.” His music has been called “upbeat, soulful” and “startlingly introspective,” and Frame of Mind is exactly that. It’s full of loneliness and love, friendship and struggle. It’s about choices, changes, reflection and joy. Most importantly for Sam, “it’s about music’s place in all of that, in my life.” The record has a sense of wistful optimism best expressed in the title track, “It’s all gonna be all right, right, right.” Sam composed all of the music and lyrics himself and performs almost all of the parts on his recordings.

Sam has performed on many stages from his first open-mic when he was 7, to his more recent 1 and 2 hour shows at coffee houses, community and arts festivals, and his 1-week London Open Mic Tour. Sam’s musical tastes cover a broad spectrum of unique artists and songwriters, from Herbie Hancock to James Blake, from Courtney Barnett to Bon Iver, Alt-J and Childish Gambino, and throw in some Galactic, Gorillaz and JJ Grey for good measure.

For fans of The Head and the Heart, Kings of Leon, The Lumineers, Imagine Dragons, Bon Iver, Bahamas and Jose Gonzales, be on the lookout for the young Sam Levin and his debut full-length album, Frame of Mind. Produced, recorded, mixed and mastered by David Levin it is set for release March 28th 2017. - Sensible Reason


"Review: Sam Levin album Frame of Mind"

The do-it-yourself (DIY) era has given us a lot of singer/songwriter/musicians of all ages from all backgrounds. Add Sam Levin, age 15, to the list of artists who play a wide selection of instruments and write quality songs that deserve to be heard by millions. His 2017 album Frame of Mind showcases his talent for writing and singing catchy melodies over rhythmically unique arrangements. Despite his youth, his influences go back to the Beatles and singer/songwriters like Jackson Browne.

Levin, who has been a musician since age 5, plays acoustic and electric guitar, bass, keyboard instruments and percussion instruments. By age 12 he released a debut EP called I'm In Here. Three years later he's on the path to building a repertoire of listenable songs with wide appeal that tell meaningful stories about his personal experiences. It's music that fits coffeehouse atmospheres, which matches the venues he's played in recent years. The 12 songs on Frame of Mind demonstrate more maturity than typical material aimed at teen audiences. Sam obviously has listened to enough classic pop and rock to know that picking up where great artists left off in the 60s/70s still has relevance.

The opening track "Everything's Okay" sounds like it has the most amount of production behind it out of all the selections, while the rest of the album is more basic with moments of surprise instruments and sound effects. The opener has a modern edge that includes electronics, but what's important is that the song - as well as the full album - stands up musically without the bells and whistles of production tricks. The hooky chorus makes the song a contender for airplay. As far as commercial appeal, it's probably the strongest track on the album.

Much of the album has a "thinking out loud" type of consciousness to the lyrics. There's an earthy quality to each of the songs that gives it a traditional flavor, but not so much in the folk vein. It's more like modern pop with folk influences. Lyrically, it leans toward introspection rather than social issues. So it has an honest vibe and doesn't really wander from the central themes that everyone notices growing up about relationships and where individuals fit in with society. The song "Shades of Pale" reflects on childhood memories, followed by "Ride," which is about revisiting his hometown, with the curious line "you shouldn't think too much / 'cause if you take awhile / start to crash and burn / on a mental downward spiral."

Musically, the album can also be described as earthy and not so reliant on electronics. The acoustic guitar is prominent throughout the album, as is basic percussion techniques. The organ adds ear candy and diversity on some of the tunes, such as "Make My Day." Some songs, such as "Telescope," contain harmonies that enhance the melodies, but what stands out the most on the album to my ears is Sam's voice. Not only does he sound fine without the layers of reverb that often make pop records sound phony, he has a strong vocal presence that creates instant familiarity, as on songs such as "Setup" and the title track. The manner in which his vocals were recorded is definitely part of the equation why it's an enjoyable album from start to finish. However producer David Levin did it, Sam sounds like he's singing in the same room as the listener.

My only question for Sam is: does he have a wider vocal range than what the album indicates? While the arranging is diverse, the singing is kind of locked in a tight range, but that could just be this particular collection of songs. It's a good sounding voice that reminds me a little of Third Eye Blind or Jason Mraz at times, especially the song "I Sure Hope Not (Again)." A song that a musician might like - since there aren't that many songs about writing songs - is "Metronome." I like the lyrics "the bpm's too fast for me / can't slow down a catastrophe."

To some degree the album is like musical medicine for those living in tough times. Several songs such as "Everything's Okay," "Frame of Mind" and the finale "Tru Mo" paint an optimistic picture ahead. He has the opportunity to erase the damage that contrived throwaway reality TV shows like American Idol brought to 21st century pop music. He's more creative and certainly a more talented musician than the average teen that's put in the spotlight. Sam Levin is off to a good start with this album and seems like a great inspiration for other young talent. - Nu Pop Culture


"Audible Review: Sam Levin Lets Us Into The Teenage “Frame Of Mind” With His Full-Length Album"

Taking matters into your own hands is exactly what singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Sam Levin did in order to get his name into the music scene. From a young age Sam knew that he wanted to make it big in music. Between the ages of 7 and 11 he has released several self-produced songs and videos and at 12 he released his debut EP, I’m Here. Now 15, he released his first full length album Frame of Mind.

There are 12 songs on Frame of Mind which give off the type of music on would listen to in a coffee shop on a rainy day or in some record store. The type of audience for these songs are aimed at the teens, particularly around Sam’s age. Despite him only being 15, his influences of music trail back to the Beatles giving his music that classic pop and rock feel to it.

The mix of genres in the album are electronic, acoustic, and indie. The opening track “Everything’s Okay” sets the scene for the album, yet this song in particular has the most production in it. The rest of the album seems to be more basic with moments of surprise instruments and sound effects. Throughout the whole album different styles are incorporated, going from indie rock to an impassioned folk, while framed by a clear adherence to pop. Each song that passes my on the track flows perfectly to the other one.

“Frame of Mind, is really about the last year and a half of my life,” according to Sam. “It’s not a good thing or a bad thing, it’s just what happened.”

Sam’s music is upbeat, soulful, and extremely optimistic. Frame of Mind is full of loneliness and love, friendship and struggle. It’s mainly about reflection, changing, and finding joys in life regardless of what has happened.

“It’s gonna be alright, right, right.” Sam says about his album being optimistic and expressed in the title of that very track. Sam seems to be off on a high note with his album and he is the perfect candidate to inspire other young talent. - Audible Addixion


"Sam Levin Frame Of Mind Review: Amazing Talent Personified"

If you’ve never heard of Sam Levin and you listened to his newest album, “Frame of Mind,” you may think he is 30. That is because at 15, Levin has the talent and intuitiveness of an experienced musician. Not only are his songwriting skills on point; Levin also plays the majority of the instruments on his self-released album, and produced it to perfection. At a time where legitimately good music is hard to come by, Levin shows us that it still exists.

The first track on the album is “Everything’s Okay,” which has a catchy instrumental build up until the vocals begin about a minute in. The song features an interesting experimentation with sound, and Levin’s vocals are smooth. The lyrics are surprisingly meaningful as well. The hook has lyrics like, “When I’m with you/I still miss you/I must tell you/that everything’s okay.”

The second track “Setup,” features female vocals and expertly played acoustic guitar. The song is about an untrustworthy girl and again has witty lyrics like, “She told me lies as light as feathers/ She said we could be young and infamous.” The hook is catchy and will have you singing along to it. This song is probably the best track on the album.

“Shades of Pale” again portrays Levin’s old soul with the song’s lyrics and he speeds it up with “Ride” a fun, optimistic, and more hectic tune which features both acoustic and electric guitar, and ends with backup vocals and the sound of clapping, which makes you picture a family singing together, and all you want to do is join in.

Another song that stand out is “I Sure Hope Not (Again),” where Levin thinks about the future and hopes he will always stay true to himself. The song is self-reflective with lyrics like, “When I’m older will I be/ Just like the person that I want to be?/ Will there peace?/Will I be fair?/Will I always be myself?/I sure hope so.”

“Telescope” is a sweet duet with lyrics like, “I don’t have much anything to do/ but all in all at least I got you.” “Metronome” is about how you can’t stop time, and the hook includes the lyrics, “The BPM’s too fast for me/ You can’t slow down a catastrophe.”

While you listen to this album, you completely forget that a teenager wrote, produced, and sings this album. It’s incredibly insightful and each song is unique while the album still manages to be coherent. If Levin is only 15, there’s no telling what he can do at 25. If you like Indie-rock, or even if you don’t, this album is worth a listen. - Review Fix


"Review Fix Exclusive: Sam Levin Talks Frame of Mind And More"

Review Fix chats with 15-year-old singer songwriter Sam Levin, who discusses his new EP, Frame of Mind. Powered by masterful guitar work and poetic lyrics, Levin is a star in the making.

Review Fix: How did you get involved in music?

Sam Levin: At first it was very gradual, listening to music and asking questions about how it was made. Around age 5 I asked for my first guitar and when the answer was yes, it opened up a whole new aspect of that. Instead of “How do they do it” It became more of a “How am I going to do it” which is a really refreshing, inspiring feeling.

Review Fix: How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard you?

Levin: Every day it gets harder and harder to try to describe my sound, even just to myself. I listen to such a wide variety of music and I feel like I try to put little pieces of inspiration from everything into my songs. I think that the safest bet for most of my songs is to say alternative, but there are definitely times like in Ride, where it can feel very folk.

Review Fix: What makes “Hide and Seek” a special track?

Levin: Hide and Seek is definitely one of the oldest songs on the album, I wrote it a couple years ago. The whole theme of the album is getting older, and in that process people change a lot, but there’s also these very refined aspects of a person that stay the same. The song is special because it’s physical proof of what the album’s all about; other parts of my music-making have changed drastically, but that piece is still there.

Review Fix: What musicians influenced you the most?

Levin: Every time I get asked this by someone, I suddenly forget all of my favorites, which is odd because there are so many of them. I grew up to Bill Withers, Joni Mitchell, Herbie Hancock, the Beatles, the Doors, and so many others, and they all affect me and my writing every day, but at the same time I have some newer musicians that I listen to that totally help to shape and inspire my music, such as Francis and the Lights, Courtney Barnett, James Blake, LCD Soundsystem, and Bon Iver. Listening to other artists is a great way to figure out which direction you want to go in, and I have so many favorites that sometimes that’s a tough decision.

Review Fix: How do you want your music to affect people?

Levin: I think that the best thing a song can do is make someone emotional, and I can’t be the judge of whether or not my songs make other people emotional, but I would definitely feel very good about myself and my music if someone cried over one of my songs and felt better afterwards. It’s all about helping people.

Review Fix: Why is this album a must buy?

Levin: Frame of Mind is very much a window into the mind of someone who is still figuring out who they are and what they want to do. I think what makes the album special is what went into it. I had so many people supporting me and there was so much self-pressure to make it good and to make it work. I really think that it’s a good experience to get in someone else’s head, and Frame of Mind is a great opportunity to do that.

Review Fix: At 15, how do you think your experiences in life lend themselves to music?

Levin: My music is 100% fueled by my experiences and how I dealt with them, right or wrong. Experiences are so important when it comes to music because not only can you write lyrics to try to convey how you felt, but you can also craft the music to make people feel the same way. I’m very much still growing, and experiences in the future will definitely be strongly featured in both my lyrics and my music.

Review Fix: What are your end goals in music?

Levin: I’m not looking to become super well known because I’d like to stay who I am and write my music how I want. That doesn’t stop me from wanting a good, loyal group of listeners, and it would be my dream to end up on a Spotify playlist or break 20,000 listeners or something like that. I want to get out there, but not that out there.

Review Fix: What’s next?

Levin: I am always working on new music. I’m in the process of making another album, and I’ve been making a lot of experimental electronic stuff and releasing it on soundcloud under the name emusicall. I love trying out new genres and ideas, and that’s where you can hear me figuring it all out. - Review Fix


"Sam Levin: interview"

Singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, Sam Levin, has recently released his new album, “Frame of Mind”. A New York based, talented artist, Sam picked up a guitar and started playing at age 5. Between the age of 7 and 11, he’d already begun to write and record his own songs, having released several self-produced videos as well. By the time he was 12 he had released his own EP titled ‘I’m In Here”. At just 15 years old, he has launched his first full length album. download

Sam began performing live at age 7 at an open mic, and continues to perform at coffee houses and community centers, and has even completed a shirt tour in London. I spoke with Sam, who has an innocent sensibility and a maturity way beyond his 15 years.

His songs contain a passionate wisdom, that examines love, loneliness, friendship and struggle. It reflects experiences from the last year and a half of his life.

Louder Than War: How long have you been playing music?

I started playing guitar when I was about 5 years old, so ten years ago. My first open mic was when I was around seven, and I started playing shows like that right after. I didn’t start writing till I was maybe nine, but it’s come along way. I am definitely a lot different now than I was.

How old are you now?

I’m 15. I turn 16 in December.

Do you play live shows in New York? I mean you’re not even close to drinking age. Do they even let you in?

I try to. When I’m recording I don’t play as much, but when the stuff comes out I go and play it. I went to London for a week, and I played there. I just try to find gigs as often as possible. There was one place in London that didn’t let me in, but everywhere else they definitely appreciate musicians and everything like that.

What about school?

I’m going to be a sophomore and high school.

Where can fans find your songs?

Well, they’re everywhere. Normally when I’m playing a live show I try to challenge people to find a website or a streaming service that doesn’t have my music on it. It’s on iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music, all that stuff.

Do you believe that music can change the world?

Oh, of course.

Which of your songs would you choose to help change it?

I’d probably say, “Shades of Pale”. It’s towards the beginning of the album.

What inspires your song writing?

I was inspired by just the last year and a half of my life. I was starting high school, and it was a big transition period for me. So the entire album is about my experiences doing that.

What do your friends think about your music career?

They’re pretty cool about it. I try not to talk about it all the time, because I don’t want to brag about anything, because there is nothing to brag about yet. I’m trying. But they are all very supportive.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Definitely bigger than I am now, but I want to stop getting bigger at a certain point. Someone asked me my ideal number of followers, and I said 20 to 30 thousand followers, somewhere in that range. Right now I have 2000, and I’m about to hit 3000 on Spotify. So I want to be small but I want to also have an audience.

What’s your next step?

Today was actually the first day of starting a new project. I’m actually going to do another album pretty soon.

How many songs do you think you’ve written in your life?

I’ve taken song writing classes, so they normally had me writing songs more frequently. Just last week I wrote three or four songs. So it’s definitely a big number. I just don’t know how many of those I will end up using.

Who inspires you in the music industry?

Recently it’s a lot of LT Sound System because they have a new album coming out soon. Then Bill Withers it’s a big inspiration, Marcy Playground is a big inspiration, and Joni Mitchell definitely. It varies a lot.

If you could play anywhere in the world, where would you choose?

I’d like to play at “Terminal 5” in New York.

If you could change one event in history what would you change?

That’s a tough one. It would be cool that if I had music from today, and I brought it back and showed it to people 30 years ago, how would that change music today. Like if we moved much faster how far would we be like 50 years from now? What’s the music going to be like? So I find that interesting.

That’s actually a cool answer to that question. So if you could tell your fans and followers anything, what would you tell them?

I’d say to vary the type of music that they are listening to. Maybe just try out a different genre, or try out a new band that they’ve never listened to. Don’t get stuck on one band, and one genre.

What do you enjoy most about playing live?

I like when you get something from the audience, like if you play one of your songs and they laugh, or if you finish and they clap for you. If I’m just playing by myself that’s an entire section that I don’t get.

Anything else that you want to promote?

I just updated my website. I’m selling T-shirts and stickers. - Louder Than War


"Sam Levin Releases the Epic "Frame of Mind""

Sam Levin is a natural born musician, he started playing guitar at age 5 and writing music by 7; and now at the ripe old age of 15 he’s releasing some of his best work. On his new album, "Frame of Mind," Levin takes center stage on a number of enticing tracks. An all around multi-instrumentalist, Levin plays all of the instruments on the record including Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Bass Guitar, Drums, Beatbox, Bongos, Piano, Hammond Organ, Melodica, Percussion and all instrument Programming


Standout single "Hide and Seek,” is an electronic, synth pop, indie fused track where Sam shows his vocal prowess which supersedes artist twice his age. His vocal range and harmonies are quite impressive even though he still has a lot of time to perfect his sound, he is already doing an excellent job at pitch and tone control. The track itself is pretty “catchy,” the beat is fun and easy listening, generally speaking he’s a pretty good vocalist and his musical styling is appealing. His melodies are soulful while the lyrics are a little melancholy on the track it’s still an amazing track and well worth the listen. Other favorites of mine that struck me immediately were "Shades of Pale," and "Because," both which show Levin's range from start to finish. Sam Levin is possibly one of the most eclectic and innovative artists in the current scene right now, and I'm eager to hear what he comes up with next! "Frame of Mind," is out now. - No Depression


Discography

Singles

  • I Sure Hope Not (2012)
  • Being With You is Easy (2013)
  • Shades of Pale (2016)

Extended plays
  • I'm In Here EP (2014)
  1. I'm In Here
  2. On My Way to You
  3. Look At Me
  4. Why Not
  5. Jam on A
Albums
  • Frame of Mind (2017)
  1. Everything's Okay
  2. Setup
  3. Shades of Pale
  4. Ride
  5. Frame of Mind
  6. Hide and Seek
  7. I Sure Hope Not (Again)
  8. Make My Day
  9. Telescope
  10. Because
  11. Metronome
  12. Tru Mo

  • I Am (2018)
  1. Intro
  2. Carbon
  3. I Am
  4. It All Comes
  5. Five Fortunate
  6. First World Problems
  7. Sessions
  8. With Love and Compassion
  9. Common Sense
  10. I Was
  11. Everyone Goes

Photos

Bio

Sam Levin is a singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist who has been playing music since he was 5, writing music since he was 7 and releasing singles and albums since he was 10.  His last album, Frame of Mind, received great reviews and his latest album, I Am, will be came out in early March to equally positive reviews.  Sam followed up the release with a 10 day, 8 city East Coast Coffeehouse Tour.

Band Members