lvl3rd exclusive interview
If you ask lvl3rd. frontman Jermaine Kelly what type of music he makes, he’ll tell you, “Whatever we want.” Many have tried to define lvl3rd. In general, it’s come to a group consensus that lvl3rd. is “alternative pop”. But the group isn’t afraid to break the rules and do things a little differently. It’s the only group on the planet that marches to the beat of its own drum even though they perform their shows without a drummer.
Lead singer and writer Lando Savage brings his skills on the microphone by singing lead, rapping, and even singing his own backup harmonies. Lando and Jermaine have a network of supporters, producers, singers, and rappers behind them that true fans know and recognize from live shows and videos.
With his cast and crew, the duo makes their magic together seamlessly. On stage, you can tell these two are childhood friends who grew up together. In the studio, that friendship synthesizes into a duo who each brings their own influences to create music that bends and blends, expresses, and impresses.
The target audience? The whole world.
How did you come by your stage / brand name?
Lando said it in a lyric in a song that we were playing around with when we first started this. Eventually, we were talking about what we would call ourselves and reverted back to that lyric and collectively said, “That works.” From then on what we decide to go with.
When did you discover your love for your craft and what made you realize you wanted to pursue a career in it?
Lando: The first time I played piano for my mother, she was joyous. I want to give that same feeling to our listeners, as well as myself.
Jermaine: My father is a bass player who studied at Berklee here in Boston and basically passed down what he knew at a very young age on a six-string Squire Strat. How to listen to music and more or less how to feel it. Then I saw Slash perform with Michael Jackson one time on TV as a kid and I told myself, “yup…that’s exactly what I want to do.”
To what or whom do you accredit your sense of style?
Lando: My mother and the internet shaped my music taste and my brother helped me have a sense of self and style. I would also steal his jeans.
Jermaine: My father who taught me about how music worked theoretically and he allowed me to branch out, listen, love, and appreciate different types of music in their respective ways. Aesthetically I just wear what I think is dope at the time. Like…my entire high school wardrobe were hand-me-downs.
On your current project, how did you come up with the concept?
Lando: I definitely am not reeling from a past relationship. Definitely not.
Jermaine: He’s absolutely reeling from a past relationship. Like he definitely is. I think we all do and that’s why it’s relatable.
What are some of your greatest challenges, and what is your greatest attribute when it comes to your work ethic?
We would say time management would be our greatest challenge. We have gotten tremendously better at it, however, we both always have a lot on our respective plates. Regardless, we truly believe if you want something bad enough you will figure it out and make it work.
Lando: I come from immigrant parents and seeing them adapt, survive, and make it work lets me know that I can make it in whatever I put my mind to. I was also inspired by the story of how Freddie Mercury persevered with his artistry while he was dying. It made me understand it doesn’t matter what I am going through. That I can achieve my goals regardless. This same idea came to me with the Chadwick Boseman
Jermaine: I would say my relentless pursuit of my goals. It is very hard for me to give up on what I am chasing after no matter how many hits I take. I think it helps us grow in not just our respective fields but as people. I would also say that it’s paying attention to the small details. In my head, they mean seriously everything. Maybe it’s obsessive, but I am just constantly thinking about how I am going to succeed and what I need to move myself forward in a positive direction. My friends sometimes hate it.
Are you the best at what you do in your opinion?
Lando: I am only 100% confident in my ear. Life is about growing and learning. I try to grow and learn every day.
Jermaine: Yes. Besides Mike Shinoda. He’s the G.O.A.T but otherwise absolutely. Though the athlete in me, in complete honesty, is never satisfied with where I am so I am always trying to improve myself.
What are your plans for the near future?
Quit our jobs and make a beautiful living doing what we want and doing what we love. It’s hard and we understand that but nothing good ever comes easy.
Is there anyone you’d like to thank, any shout outs?
We want to shoutout:
Bigcat Phoenix (nothing is possible without him)
Tristan Smith (manager)
John Kelly (Jermaine’s Dad)
How can fans find you?
Seriously the same for everything.
What suggestions do you have for other artist like yourself?
Trust yourself and love yourself.
Don’t stop evolving and growing. That’s how you separate from the rest.
Be confident in your choices. You will find a community that vibes with what you do.