Los Angeles-based singer and Arkansas native Ivy Levan started in the business when she was a mere 18–old enough to sign a contract but perhaps not old enough to embrace fully the intricacies of the business.
She landed a deal with Virgin Records initially, but it was an ill-fated relationship. Levan left the label, got to know herself better and ultimately signed with Santa Monica-based Cherrytree Records. “I didn’t know who I was when I started,” Levan explains. “I wanted to be a rock singer, but other people told me that I should be like Celine Dion. I didn’t want to do that. I had a lot of angst and a lot to say. I did an EP, leaked some stuff to the Internet and [ultimately] got put on the back burner. I had a bad experience with that, so I took a few years off to be a kid; to go through what a normal person would in their college years: party, meet people, have fun.”
“I was terrified of people in the industry.”
Clearly this artist had a rough start. But the spark hadn’t been extinguished entirely. “I met [producer] Lucas [Banker],” the singer recalls. “He’d heard about me from a guy at Sony. He tried to chase me down, but I wasn’t having it. I was terrified of people in the industry. I didn’t want to do music anymore. But he coaxed me into it and we started writing together. It was magic; instant chemistry. We shopped my stuff around and the reaction was amazing.
“Cherrytree was the label that we loved the most,” she continues. “They really got me as a person and understood what we were trying to do creatively. I’d been fighting to be free to explore who I was. I’d done a lot of soul-searching. They saw that and the honesty behind it.”
No Good drops on Aug. 7. “Biscuit,” the album’s first single, was released in January and has over one million YouTube views. Cherrytree labelmates include LMFAO and Sting.
– Rob Putnam