Most musicians spend an inordinate amount of resources developing an image worthy of the “it” factor. For electro-pop singer LEV, or Holly Peyton as friends and family know her – no façade is necessary, she was just born with it. Casually lounging at Dallas’ Ascension Coffee, the quiet, laidback, and ultra-cool singer has all of the makings of a star. All of those things that has the local music scene abuzz about her newly released EP “Fear No Evil,” — an EP that finally allows the reserved vocalist to emerge from the shadows.
I have stayed in the shadows too long. The lyrics from LEV’s newest single Shadow (released today) ring more than just a catchy tune. Beyond the 80’s beat and addictive melody, the talented pop artist unveils herself intimately if fans really dare to listen. No longer masked by the fear of being too real, the local musician (in a coming out style of fashion) embraces authenticity and channels her transparency lyrically with her new EP.
“I just want to be me,” she says. “I just want to show my artistry and I want to show the risks that I will take. I want to show what I’ve got inside. I’ve waited so long for this, and I’m willing to give up whatever at this point. I’ll do whatever I have to do.”
If I tried to shine, if I tried to show you the real me. Not that LEV’s turning the other cheek to her former self. The naturally beautiful creative is in the midst of transformational self-discovery, growth, and entering a new realm for her artistry. Almost a year and a half since entering the studio for Fear No Evil, the EP is now ready and so is she.
“Fear No Evil is really my whole entire mantra for this whole process, the fear of the unknown,” Peyton admits. “It’s just going for it and doing it, and not fearing any evil of what’s in front of you. Just plow through it. Nothing bad ever comes from trying and just going for it.” And that she did.
Admittedly, these statements aren’t too shocking for an artist whose stage name means “lion” in Czech. Fearless, fierce, and commanding, LEV has no plans of taming the beast anytime soon. Inspired by the harmonies of DC Talk, the funk of KC and the Sunshine Band, and the electro sounds of the 80’s, LEV’s overall individuality is what makes her a breakout star.
Aside from her mesmerizing vocals, the “sexy tomboy” (as she has jokingly coined herself), envelopes a random, yet eclectic sense of style. “I wear muscle tees all the time,” she laughs. “I cut every shirt and distress all my jeans and clothes. I bring scissors with me (material cutting scissors) on trips, and if I don’t like what something looks like, I cut it and distress it.”
While innately drawn to all things edgy and tomboy chic, Peyton admits an affinity for high fashion, especially designs reflective of a New York state of mind. All decked out for her latest photoshoot in local designs by Charles Smith, LeVenity, Nicole Kwon, Nine Muses, and more – the lioness no longer lies in wait.
“I love wearing stuff I can’t afford,” the singer drawls. “I don’t want anything typical of the Big D. I’m more New York style driven; I love the New York look.” While high fashion may spark her interest from time to time, it’s the aura of vintage shopping that truly rings her bell. Spotted from time to time rummaging at Feathers Boutique in Austin, the native Dallasite bathes her wardrobe in vintage inspirations and has no plans of going Hollywood with her aesthetic anytime soon.
Aside from fashion and staying true to self with singles “Crazy” and “Try,” LEV’s newest EP (released today) explores new heights within her career. As this newest chapter evolves, fans will anxiously observe as the chameleon artist unfolds — gracefully and fearlessly arising into the brave. Hey!
Images credit Nicollette Mollet. Wardrobe Styling by Amber LaFrance, Hair by Hannah Francis, and Make-up by Madison Banaszak of Avalon Salon in West Village. View LEV’s newest music video “Shadow” here. See LEV in concert at Club Dada on June 13. Tickets can be purchased here.