New York, NY (Top40 Charts)
One could easily make the case that singer-songwriter Cat Levan has much more than just a double life. The former professional fighter, restaurant owner, clothing designer, marketing director, illustrator and mother will finally realize her long-held musical dream when her debut album, "Double Life," drops May 29 on the Wide Sky Records label. The Vancouver-based artist teamed with Billboard Top 10 hitmaker Steve Oliver
to write seven original songs for the 11-song set produced by Oliver
in the guitarist's Southern California studio. Her Canadian countryman and brother-in-law, contemporary jazz saxophonist Walle Larsson, guests throughout the collection that finished tracking just prior to the closure of the border due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"I've done a lot of different things throughout my life and experienced success in a variety of areas, but music has been a constant presence dating back to my family household while growing up. 'Double Life' speaks to the dreams we hold tight to our chest and never let anyone know about. The artist who has a rich inner musical world but lives a life of logic and order that never reveals the depth of her inner world. It's a double life, but in a good way," said Levan whose sister is Juno Awards-nominated singer-songwriter Melanie Chartrand.
As a lyricist, Levan is a storyteller who writes about love, loneliness, connection and uncertainty, which suits the inherently vulnerable qualities of her ethereal voice. After opening the disc with the upbeat dance-pop title track that is bolstered by tribal percussion beats, "What's Been Going Down" pours a smooth cosmopolitan cocktail of jazz and pop. The downtempo "Keep Moving" was the first song penned for the album.
"It's about a time in my life when I was stuck in an awful place. My mother had died, and I had just left a relationship and moved back to Vancouver. I was really down, feeling very alone, not seeing a future that I liked. Every day, I would get up and try to push myself to do something that would move me forward. I was sleepwalking through life with a constant ache in my chest," admitted Levan who plans to film a couple of videos to accompany the album release.
Levan found singing "December Road" helped her let go of the heartache. It is a stark and poignant piano ballad about accepting love and loss. She loves how the soulful and sensual "Something's Gotta Give
" exposes the seedy side of life.
"It makes me feel like I'm walking down the street late at night, peeking into steamy bars and witnessing shady deals. It's fascinating seeing the colorful underside of the streets."
The haunting "The Way I Feel
" was written and recorded by Gordon
Lightfoot and Levan's version exquisitely captures the pain and reality of love. A joyous slice of sunshine, "Baba Doo" is a wordless contemporary jazz dance set to the rhythm of life.
"Waiting for the Right Time" moves at the deliberate, tension-filled pace of a prowl. "This is a song with two stories. One is a story of an assassin stalking her prey, waiting for the moment to strike. The other story talks about how we hide our darker side in a relationship. We're always looking to see if it's safe to reveal our weaknesses. If we show who we are, will it push them away? It's all a test to see how much we are accepted exactly as we are."
Layers of percussion drive the snappy groove of "Diving Deep," Levan's first track ever sung in vocalese, one of Oliver's hallmarks. "When we wrote this song, I had no idea what vocalese was. Steve introduced me to it and asked me to be open to this new style of singing. We wrote and recorded the song the same day, so I was trying to adjust, but my voice was tired and a little unhappy with me. There were a few notes that I was struggling with and Steve recorded me grumbling about them. When we were playing back the rough track, he left my comments in and it made me laugh so we kept them as an inside joke."
Levan calls "Coming Home
" a companion piece to "Double Life." It is about the achingly deep connection between romantic soulmates. The album closes with a bonus track, the jazz standard "Autumn Leaves," that leaves lovelorn listeners remembering the sweet and seductive memories of summer love.
To help launch "Double Life," Levan will host a CD release party via Zoom on May 29 at 7pm PT/10pm ET that will include a live performance. General admission tickets ($15.00) include a signed CD while the VIP ticket package ($35.00) consists of a signed CD, bottle of wine, special party favor and a live Q&A with the artists. Tickets can be purchased at https://bit.ly/3cOR36L.
The "Double Life" album contains the following songs:
"What's Been Going Down"
"Something's Gotta Give
"The Way I Feel
"Waiting for the Right Time"
"Autumn Leaves" (bonus track)
For more information, please visit https://catlevan.com.