BLOG.001 | #TakeFlightDocumentary

shot by someone.

I was raised by two of the biggest artists that Curaçao has produced; ‘Duo Gleva’(my mom and dad). As a kid, I wanted to be just like them. Fell in love with music at an early age; joined their band (as the official drummer) when I was 12. And at the age of 18 I moved to the Netherlands to “study”, but soon turned to music, freelancing as an all-around drummer… living my dream. Then one night while driving home from a gig I fell asleep behind the wheels and crashed.

I was fortunate to walk away without a scratch, but that night changed my life. By that time I already gave up school and dedicated my life to pursue a career in music, but what used to be my dream became a nightmare. Drumming became painful… painful due to the intense backaches I had ever since the accident. I was even scared to travel, especially driving to gigs by myself. To make it even worse I started to noticed that my knees would go numb every time I played.

It was around that time that I grabbed the guitar and started writing ‘pick me up’ songs as a pastime activity. All I wanted was to be as close as possible to the music, and songwriting kept me motivated.

shot by Selwyn de Wind

After publishing one of my home recordings on myspace, it got picked up and it blew up on the islands. Now I (also) became “world famous” (only Curaçao).

Looking back, the last 8 years has been amazing filled with things I never ever imagined would happen in my life and career;

  • 2009 released 1st solo EP titled ‘Bek’
  • 2010 release of (hit single) ‘Djis Mi Mes’ with my 1st official music video
  • 2011 debut on Curaçao North Sea Jazz Festival
  • 2012 first performance on Aruba (headlining)
  • 2013 release of debut album and tour titled ‘Different’ on Aruba & Curaçao, and Performing with the Metropole Orchestra in the Netherlands
  • 2014 debut performance (with band) in New York representing the Kingdom of The Netherlands at United Nations
  • 2015 release of ‘Superando’ and the launch of ‘Documentary Concert’, the cross media project based on true stories
  • 2016 2nd ‘Documentary Concert’ (Curaçao and debut on Aruba), Dutch National TV debut, National Theatre Tour with Jandino, and 1st gigs in Scandinavia and UK

I had the honors to perform at the biggest festivals the islands has to offer and… I had the honors of meeting Nile Rodgers, shared backstage with artists like Sting, Earth Wind & Fire, Kassav’, Ruben Blades and collaborated with Joss Stone. Somehow I could never truly embrace it all; in my own eyes, I saw myself as the drummer that didn’t make it. So it felt like I didn’t belong. I was too scared to believe that I could on day be one of the greats.

All this time I stayed in my comfort zone, but I always knew I wanted to be more than “world famous” only on the islands. “I’m built for it”… felt it deep within, but never really dared to step into the unknown, until now.

I have struggled my whole life to get by, and I grew tired of it. My parents struggled financially a lot even though they were “world famous” and successful. I grew up with that reality and to me it wasn’t a happy one.

shot by Jonathan Petit

After my son was born, I knew that I needed to stop bullshitting myself. It felt like I adopted the same lifestyle; I was 28 “a superstar artist”, frustrated and broke. I had to break the cycle, be the best version of me that I can be and make sure that he doesn’t go through what I had to go through.

I got a kid to raise and I didn’t really know what it is that I was doing with my life.

I knew I needed to take my career (seriously) to another level or find a regular job and put my dreams aside. In either case; I need to provide.

I love music… and I wanna make a living from what I love. I wanna do well at it… well enough to be able to provide for myself and my family, and well enough to be able to travel the world and share this music with people all around the world. I knew I wanted this since I was a kid, so I needed to get my ass out here and put in the work.

I didn’t know exactly where to start, but I knew I had to start with me facing my fears…

August 2016 I decided to hit the road doing the number one thing that scares the shit outta me; start from zero, no management, no band, no big shows, just me… by myself doing small intimate shows, sharing my story with the people I meet and building my career and legacy step by step — brick by brick.

I want an international career, and I know that I can make it.

My childhood dream was to reach London, so now I’m back in Europe pursuing that goal. This will not be easy: It meant leaving my son, missing him every second of the day. It means facing myself, facing my fears, learning how to stand on my own two feet, being disciplined, committed, patient, self-confident and driven.

Learning how to be mindful and healthy, cause taking care of my body means taking my life and career seriously. My body is my voice and if it’s in good shape, the more I can get out of it.

I learn how to make new friends, meet new people, trust, communicate and build relationships. It also means finding structure and creating a work-life balance. It teaches me to work out my dreams and vision in goals, steps and action… which leads to focus, staying positive and having faith.

Despite that fact I don’t get to see my kid everyday, it drives me to do something that changes the course of our lives in a positive way; it gives me the strength to push.

I wanna be able to provide my son the platform where he can play, explore and be all he can be, by leading a life that can serve as an example and inspiration to him. Barely making it through the end of the month; frustrated, desperate to get by and doing dumb shit, isn’t my idea of providing and being the best parent I can be. I can do better and I will.

It’s a scary place to be in, but I believe in “you reap what you sow”, so I’m out here giving it my best. Putting on the best show I can, mastering the art of being a greater me in everything I do and sharing that through my music. I wanna share this music with literally everyone, and I will do all I can to bring it to homes everywhere; and by surrounding myself with like minded- and people that think bigger than I do, I know, in due time, I will reach my goal.

I think most us have that one thing we know we have to do, but we’re too scared of doing.

I know what I want, and I’m tired of holding myself back. With this project I want to challenge/push myself to face my fears and share the dynamic of this journey with everyone, and hopefully it motivates someone to ‘Take Flight’.

Thanks for being here and taking the time to read this blog post; it’s a real motivation. I look forward to taking you on this journey, and I’m excited to share the ups and downs with you, on my daily Instagram stories, weekly #voicenote releases on SoundCloud, the vlogs on my YouTube Channel and my blogs here on Medium. Don’t be shy to say “Hi” — I encourage you to share your thoughts, subscribe, leave a comment and pass it on… this content is for everyone.

► Watch VLOG.001 | ‘Embrace who you are and the people around you’ Now:

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Artist — music maker, writer & creative entrepreneur.

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Levi Silvanie

Levi Silvanie

Artist — music maker, writer & creative entrepreneur.

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