Levi Kreis, a boy from East Tennessee, got his start in Nashville as a Christian artist, but he quickly become disenchanted. He was groomed for a major record label signing in New York City, but found an unlikely outlet for his music when his song "Just This Good" was featured on The Apprentice. Since then, he has had "I Should Go" featured in Second Season Finale of The Vampire Diaries, "Nothing At All" featured in Sons of Anarchy, and "U Found Me" featured in the motion picture Kiss the Bride. In 2010, he also became a Tony Award Winner for his impressive performance as Jerry Lee Lewis in Million Dollar Quartet.
For Imagine Paradise, Kreis used his fan base and Kickstarter for financial support. In his liner notes, he states, "I had fallen out of love with making music. Because of you, I feel in love again. This is the first time I've had the financial and creative support to make an album where the sound wasn't an 'economical' choice with disheartening compromises." The end result is an exhilarating pop album that blends his engaging, rich, and soulful vocals with the sensibilities of the R&B and Dance music that emerged from both the black and gay communities in the 1970s. Making the album all the more endearing and meaningful, each of the 12 tracks is based on stories told to him by his backers.
Whether singing a smooth and laid back ballad like "Timeless (We Are)" or an up-tempo dance anthem like "So Much Better," Kreis's voice on the album is spirited and charismatic. In all honesty, the record presents the listener with a fascinating blend of R&B and disco songs that are truly exceptional. There is not a bad song on the disc. The hooks are infectious and unforgettable, drawing the listener in to the deeply personal lyrics that reflect experiences that are both relatable and utterly realistic.
"Any Way You Wanna" is an uplifting and upbeat dancehall disco anthem that reminds every listener that something makes them extraordinary and worthwhile, "All Over Again" is a wistful pop elegy about consistently re-falling in love with our perfect soulmate, "Never Will I" is a gorgeous and evocative ballad that speaks of a cherished love and life lost, and the feisty "It Ain't Over" is a fantastically powerful anthem of not giving up on our dreams.
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Each of the songs on Kreis's Imagine Paradise is sure to have listeners bobbing their heads, tapping their toes, and possibly dancing around their living rooms. Kreis demonstrates a palpable and undeniable passion for creating inspiring and stirring music on this album, creating a treasure trove of music that is radio friendly, emotionally gratifying, and impeccably memorable. This is an album that you'll be listening to and enjoying for years to come.
For a small taste of the wonderful album, watch the video for "So Much Better" here:Kreis' Imagine Paradise was released on June 20. It can be purchased from iTunes, Amazon, and CDBaby.