Independent Artist Spotlight

It all started with a simple email. A visitor to the site asked me if I'd heard of LeVar Thomas, and recommended that I check out his stuff. After going to LeVar's imeem page, I was pretty impressed. This guy could sing, and could hold his own with just about anyone out there. Yet he's running independent, putting his everything into getting his music heard.

And so, here we are today. R&B Haven issues its own Declaration of Independence. We've put out a call and surfed the nets to bring you our own selection of some of the best independent R&B artists out there. We took some time out to find out the details on each of them, and especially so with LeVar. I've included a track by each artist, as well as a link to their Myspace. So if any interest you, check em out and support the cause!

Levar Thomas

LeVar Thomas Pt. 1

Hey LeVar, can you give us your musical background from past to present?

I could go on for days about that, so I'll give you the short and sweet of it. I started out singing with my church choir when I was very young. When I started middle school, I had a music teacher who really got me excited about music and singing. She gave me my first solo and people came up to me and told me I was good, so I took it and ran. During my high school days I sang in a group with my cousins. This is where I honed my writing, vocal blending and solo skills.

In 2002, I moved to Atlanta where I started to really focus on my solo career. I started to write more, collaborate with local artists, perform at local venues and put more time into creating an online presence. So far, I have signed a worldwide ringtone deal with jamster, I have been featured on imeem, youtube, myspace and several other online communities.

What got you interested in pursuing a musical career?

When I was a kid, R&B groups like Jodeci, Blackstreet, Boyz II Men, Silk & Shai hit the scene. It was good to see guys who looked like me rockin the TV. At that point I realized that I could make a career doing what I loved. Music!

Can you describe what type of sound you bring to your music? What artists would you liken your style to most?

I think I bring an old school, soulful sound to my music. It's just my natural way of singing. I don't think I sound like anyone in particular but I draw from Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway, & Marvin Gaye to name a few. These guys could throw down on a love song as well as songs about social consciousness. I think this is important and try to infuse messages about love and life that may help someone through their own situations.

Looking back on your musical career thus far, what's your proudest moment?
I have to say performing at charity functions in Atlanta. I performed for Feed The Hungry, 500 Songs for Kids and The Wounded Warrior Project. It just feels good to use your gift to help others.

Levar's most well-known track: Missing You

Antonio Walls

Antonio Walls

What got you interested in pursuing a musical career?

I've always been into music from the early days off Nat King Cole to Usher. But I think what pushed me into pursuing a career was the lack of true talent that some artist are displaying.

Can you give us a background on your career so far and your overall experience in music?

I grew up in the church choir like must artist started. During my travels in the military I did weddings and talent shows quite frequently. I was stationed in Hawaii when I joined a small production company called 7 Island Entertainment. I did shows and opened for major artist like Blaque, Adina Howard, Tamia, Fiji, Jessica 5, Snoop-dogg and the dog pound,and Tyrese( 2000-2001).

Returning home in 2003 I finished my first CD entitled Antonio (A long time coming.) And through a Little Rock based production company (Hometown productions) I've been able to open up for legends such as Keith Sweat, K-Ci & JoJo, The O'jays and Mase. I only hope I can continue to move forward in this industry. Since then I have done a few club shows, but working out of country most of the year keeps me out of the loop.

Looking back on your musical career thus far, what's your proudest moment?

Opening for the O'Jays in (2004) and meeting Gerald and Eddie leVert. They are legands in the industry, Eddie's been in the game for over 40 years and I shook his hand.

Antonio Wall's addicting track "Your Eyes":