A driving attitude, soaring ambitions and high-profile collaborations have all lead to musician and producer Leven Kali becoming one of LA’s fastest rising artists. Describing his music as “a bridge from the past to the future”, his mature approach is reflected in his romanticised lyrics and mellow, floating beats that have captured the attention of international tastemakers.
Growing up with parents who are also musicians, he was raised on a range of styles from Michael Jackson to Tupac and Rage Against The Machine. At just two years old he was given his first drum kit and began developing his love for smooth grooves from a very young age. Kali was born in the Netherlands but his parents relocated to Los Angeles when he was eight years old, opening him up to another world of genres. As a teen, he started experimenting with GarageBand and found not only his passion but also something he truly excelled at. Now in his early 20s, it’s become more than just a career to him. He can be found constantly writing and recording – whether he’s at home in one of his regularly-visited studios or on tour converting his AirbnB into a makeshift recording space – so listeners can be reassured with every release that it really is the best of the best.
Sociability became a key part of Kali’s success. Making connections with ease, he found collaborating and experimenting in the studio with other up-and-comers such as Topaz Jones, Zack Sekoff and Taylor Mackall the norm. Being able to write high quality lyrics and beats off the bat enhanced his craftsmanship, and saw him often hanging out at the likes of Palm Studios and Paramount Studios in LA. This lead to him becoming part of a tight-knit group that regularly meet up and work together in some way, spreading his name even further.
This is how huge collaborations with the likes of Drake and Playboi Carti came about. Kali co-wrote the Canadian rapper’s trap track ‘Do Not Disturb’ which featured on his latest number one mixtape More Life and Drake even sampled one of his beats on his 2016 album Views. He is featured on Playboi Carti’s ‘Flex’; a more mellow single that was organically recorded with both vocalists simultaneously sharing a booth and bouncing off each other in a now uncommon style that made the experience all the more unique.
In 2018, he released his debut EP I Get High When I Think About Us which he produced himself. The 3-track release flows through the concept of love, with Kali telling Wonderland “Love is a constant theme in this project. Love comes in all sorts of forms, and these three songs show some of those. ‘Thursday’ is a more promiscuous type of love. ‘Mine’ is more of a declaration…a real deep love. Even on ‘Too High’, it’s about the love for getting faded with the homies. Musically there’s different vibes as well, but it all revolves around the themes of love.”
Now signed to Interscope Records (Billie Eilish, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar), in May 2019 he released his brand new project: Leven Kali: Low Tide. It features the previously released singles ‘Mad At U’, ‘NunWrong’, ‘Do U Wrong’ feat. Syd, and ‘Sumwrong’ which was described by Ones To Watch as “both classic and afro-futuristic”. Hot New Hip Hop rated the 11-track project 5* and Albumism added “the talent it displays from Kali is immense”. Check it out below!introducing / leven kali