INTERVIEW W/ PAOLA LEVITCH

Paola Levitch

Originally from Madrid, UK based artist, Paola Levitch released her debut single “D.” in April this year. The sentimental pop track gained recognition from Abbey Road Institute and BBC Radio Surrey and Sussex as BBC Introducing’s “Featured Artist”. Whilst in lockdown, Levitch released her second single “New Addition” where all funds were donated to the British Red Cross for Covid-19 Relief.  The indie style singer doesn’t just stop there as she now is building an EP for early next year. At Sass and Snarl, we have loved seeing Paola Levitch develop as an artist and can’t wait to see all the success she will have in the future! Here is our interview where we speak about networking, music business and music content in lockdown.

How did you get into the music industry?

You know how there’s some things you just know? I always knew I wanted to do music. It was very strange in my case, because I was not brought up in a musical background, my parents weren’t musicians in any way shape or form – but I just gravitated towards it – spent my weekends listening to the charts, writing music. Back when I was in high school (when I used to study in Madrid , where I’m originally from), I used to “sneak” out of class to go into the music studio we had at school and just record stuff and write songs. I guess my music teacher at the time spotted the kind of “talent”  I had since I was quite young, or how natural music was to me. He was really the one who pushed me into taking this up seriously, and since he was English, he introduced me to the many opportunities and how big the Industry is in the UK. I took the real step when I moved to London to study music at University and start to build my career as an artist – releasing my debut single last April.

What is the best thing about what you do?

Being able to keep creating. I think people who write music must all feel this way in the sense that it’s not just only a “job”, but it’s a coping mechanism with the world and the most effective and powerful way of expression – or at least it is for me. If it’s hard for me to say something, or feel something, I’ve probably written a song about it at some point, because I feel I understand it and can deal with it better that way.

I would also have to say collaborating with other musicians/ artists/ producers is the highlight of making music for me. I’m so lucky to have so many incredibly creative and beyond talented people around me. Sometimes someone simply adjusting your EQ in a vocal within a song’s mix can make it sound a million times better, just because they have that outside listening ability that you don’t have when you’re immersed in your own track.

New Addition Single Artwork

Where do you see yourself in the future?

I honestly try and not plan or try and see into my future, and just let things evolve naturally like they always do. I know I will be working in the Industry one way or another – I am really interested in the Marketing, A&R and Press side of music too, and I’m soon starting a masters in Music Business Management at the University of Westminster. 

I honestly just want to uncover and know as much about the Industry as I can. I know I am only barely gracing the surface of what is a huge infrastructure, so I feel I am not able to make a proper decision about where I fit in exactly in the Industry yet.

One way or another – I will certainly still be making music.

What is your greatest achievement?

I think just having the courage to release something so personal to me as my first single “D.”, and have it be recognised by Abbey Road Institute, BBC Introducing and something as crazy getting three radio plays in less than six months – one of them internationally, in France!

I feel like when you release music, or any kind of art really, you open yourself up completely, you are sharing your most intimate self and truth  – and that takes a lot of strength. However, it also puts yourself in a position to be vulnerable; there is a possibility of rejection, of “it’s not good enough” or “no one likes it, no one is ever going to listen to this”. And so I feel I am most proud of taking that risk.

Favourite music experience?

Any live music event. One of my top favourites was a Rex Orange County show from his PONY tour in the O2 Academy in Brixton. I think it was the tour’s closing show, and the energy from the music and the audience was just one of the best I’ve experienced so far.

Your favourite ways to network?

University has been the biggest “network-site” for me. Studying a music course you meet many people who are interested or already in the Music Industry. Also, never underestimate the power of social media. I feel like lockdown especially has had us all adapt to virtual networking, and sometimes sending a DM can spark a really interesting conversation – that is how I got to feature on a French radio.

Recently I attended the Sass and Snarl “How to sell your soul webinar”, and it introduced me (amongst other many cool things) to the networking platform The Dots, which I have started using for networking too.

The hardest part of getting to where you are now and how you overcame it?

Might sound a little clichéd, but I honestly feel like sometimes the biggest thing stopping you from going places is yourself. The hardest part for me was just letting go of the fear of “what if no one ever listens to me?” or “what if my music is actually sh*t?” and releasing that first single. It was hard to stop trying to make it perfect, but there came a moment where I just had to let it go. I think everyone in the Industry, whether you are an artist or not, feels like that sometimes, especially women – let’s stop doubting ourselves. Have the confidence to believe in yourself. If I got here in less than 6 months, where would I be if I had started 6 months earlier to that? Or even a year when the song was already finished and I was just dragging it along? Sometimes you just have to let it happen.

What content have you been loving?

I’ve been loving seeing artists uploading raw, un-edited videos of covers or their own songs to Instagram, and the casual “Instagram lives” where they perform a “mini concert”. I think in that sense, lockdown has given us a more natural version of these big artists we are used to seeing on professional sets in music videos, now letting us into their own space.

What women should we be looking up to right now?

If I’m going to stick to music for this one, obviously SZA cause she’s a badass.

But a bit closer to home, I really admire London’s singer songwriter Joy Crookes. I recently attended a webinar where she was interviewed, amongst three other amazing creators, and I loved her energy and how she is finding her voice in the Industry through embracing her roots. I have always been really into poetry, so I also love how raw and sincere her lyrics are, and her amazing story-telling ability.

What advice would you give to creatives starting out?

Surround yourself with people that are doing what you aim to do. The type of energy and people you have around you is so important. Seeing someone that is pursuing similar or the same dreams as you will make you bounce off their energy and push forward towards achieving your goals.

How can you stand out in the music industry?

Own what you create. Believe in yourself and put out your truth with no shame.

Or attend the Sass and Snarl “How to sell your soul” – honestly they have better tips than I do!

Do you notice a lack of equality and representation? 

Is there someone who doesn’t?

LISTEN FOLLOW PAOLA LEVITCH

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