Projects with Neverest, Keshia Chanté Among Priorities for Jackoby/ole writer Levi
ole/Jackoby writer Levi at the ole 7th annual Pop+Urban Songcamp in Los Angeles in the fall of 2013
Songwriter/musician Angelo “Levi” Themelkos is certainly not short of avid supporters in his corner. Signed to Jackoby Music, a venture launched by Backstreet Boys member Howie Dorough, prominent entertainment attorney Jason Klein and producer, artist manager CJ Huyer, which signed a worldwide publishing deal with ole just over a year ago, there’s no hiding the high regard in which the three partners hold Levi.
“Levi and I have worked together for about eight years and he has been my left hand writing guy,” says Huyer. “As a writer, I think his strong point is in R&B, but he’s versatile and can write everything.”
“From a young child, I’ve always been drawn to music... singing and dancing,” notes Levi, who met Huyer through Canadian radio/TV personality Tarzan Dan, with whom he used to play hockey. “As far as songwriting, that has been over the last 20 years. My producer friends say I have a 6th sense... ‘I hear melodies.’”
And some of those melodies have played a part in projects he worked on with an impressive list of artists and producers from all over the world during that period including HitBoy, Polow Da Don, Printz Board, jacksoul, Dre & Vidal, Howie Dorough (Backstreet Boys), Tank, JackyBoyz, Anthony M Jones, Stress, Ryan Teddar, Alan Frew, Rob Wells, Oh!, Shawn Desmond, Boi Ida and Massari. The Toronto-based writer has scored two #1 videos at MuchMusic, written 11 Top 40 radio hits (including a couple of Top 10s), and earned two JUNO nominations and numerous awards, including those from SOCAN, CMRRA and the Canadian Radio Music Awards, for his songs. Last October, he joined a group of world-class songwriters at the ole 7th annual pop+urban songcamp held at the historic Westlake Recording Studios in West Hollywood, California.
Huyer reckons that Levi’s “coming out party” was with the success of George Nozuka’s debut album, Believe, in 2007, for which both Levi and Huyer can take some credit. “Levi was instrumental in the success of that release,” states Huyer, who with Howie Dorough, co-managed and recorded Nozuka through their company HC Entertainment. Adds Levi: “I saw the world writing for George’s album: Sweden, Los Angeles, New York. It was amazing. He had a ‘cry’ about his voice that was special. The Top 10 CHR single, ‘Talk To Me,’ hitting #1 on MuchMusic was a first for me. We were also nominated for a JUNO for that record.”
Another milestone in Levi’s career came with his work on Keshia Chanté’s third studio album Night & Day (tanjola/Universal Music Canada), which saw Canada’s “pop princess” and JUNO Award-winner return from a four-year hiatus to follow-up her 2006 2U album. “Keshia was in a bit of a transitional period after that 2006 album,” recalls Huyer. “I’d known her a long time and I suggested to her manager, Ivan Berry, that it might be a great idea to have Levi and producer Mike ‘MK’ Kiofos (VicPark Productions) work with her. They really hit it off right from the start.”
Says Levi: “Working with Keshia is amazing. Our chemistry is off the wall. We wrote six songs together on her last record (Night & Day) and being nominated for a JUNO (R&B/Soul Recording of the Year) for the single ‘Test Drive,’ the first song we ever wrote together, was a definite high!”
The band Neverest is a a project for which Levi was recruited about five years ago by his VicPark Productions partner, Mike Kiofos. “The Top 10 hit, ‘About Us,” my second #1 at MuchMusic, was definitely a milestone moment with the group,” says Levi. “Spee [Spyros Chalkiotis], the lead singer of Neverest, is such a talent. We are about to release a new single from them this month (February 2014).”
Levi reveals that his priorities for the first half of this year include his work with Neverest, Keshia Chanté, Kim Davis and Danny Fernandez and “all the amazing opportunities ole/Jackoby are providing... along with international pitches. I’m truly blessed to be working with them all.”