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:: Spotlight :: Spotlight on Elen Levon

By: Carmine Pascuzzi

We alerted you late last year that a new Australian singing star was set to soar. Dynamic 17-year-old Sydney singer-songwriter Elen Levon is one of the most exciting new artists to explode onto the local music scene and she is set to be noticed internationally as a dance-pop star. Elen has wowed audiences at Supafest, tearing up the stage alongside headline artists Snoop Dogg, Taio Cruz and Nelly, and has recently featured in a special performance at the Gala World Music Festival in Beijing as personally invited by the Government to sing “Sun Burns Out” in Mandarin.

Elen Levon was born in the Ukraine. Her family moved to Sydney not long after her birth and she has grown up in Sydney's eastern suburbs. She started dancing at age three and singing at age six. A record deal came about in early 2011 through Ministry Of Sound's Nufirm label.

You would have heard Elen's first single “Naughty” a few months ago. Now, she has a sizzling, hook-laden song “Like A Girl In Love”, produced by Rogue Traders’ James Ash and written by Melinda Appleby and Jamie Appleby. It's a brilliant song with a video that was filmed on location in Cambodia by the talented Benn Jae of SILO. The video features Elen running wild across the beautifully rugged landscape, through small towns and an abandoned amusement park with accomplice in tow. It's just about the best song I've heard at this stage of the year. Elen is a rare talent in Australia - being able to sing and dance effectively, and I am sure there are some real opportunities for her. On a recent trip to Sydney I met the lovely Elen at Bondi Beach to discuss a range of things that have led to this point of her career.

Q. Firstly, tell us about the recent Beijing experience?

A. I was in Beijing for a week. It was fantastic to be invited to sing there and everything worked out well - rehearsals and the performance. It was great to play to a huge audience.

Q. What have you decided to do with regards to your schooling?

A. As much as I 'd love to be singing all the time, my education is very important so I will do the final year this year from home. I want to finish school.

Q. I read that you're involved in an anti-bullying campaign at school…

A. Yes, I wanted to support the school's efforts in helping to stamp out bullying as it has been a big issue across the country. It's good to play such a role.

Q. How supportive is the school towards your music?

A. The school is very supportive and pleased for any success I achieve. I have a few more friends now.

Q. Tell us about the way you've been collaborating with other songwriters?

A. Well, “Naughty” was a very quick process with Israel Cruz, written in an hour. I've been doing lots of writing and recently with Ilan Kidron from The Potbelleez. They've been good sessions and very productive. Ilan's a very good writer. I've also worked with James Ash (Rogue Traders) and several others. I see myself writing a lot more in the future. It’s really important for an artist to to be able to write. I've got a thick notepad full of songs I've written.

Q. What is the short-term plan?

A. The plan is to release a few singles before an album. I just need to build my profile and following, and get a few songs out there in the next few months. I'll also be performing more shows in that time.

Q. I can envisage some worthwhile fashion endorsements for you down the track…

A. I am actually going to get a sewing machine as I would like to do some clothes designing. I would be happy to get any endorsements that come along but I am keen to do some things myself in the future.

Q. Who have been most influential to you?

A. My mother is a big influence, of course, and so are my distant cousins in Russia. It would be great to tour Russia one day. As far as music goes, the two main people I've looked up to are Madonna and Michael Jackson. When I've learnt to sing, dance and play piano I simply look at what those two have done. If you want to be an artist, you have to be not only a singer but an entertainer. That's what they are. They are incredible. I also like Lady Gaga for the sheer fact that she is not afraid to do anything on stage.

Q. How do you react to the importance of the Internet?

A. The Internet is so important these days, especially for an artist. You need to be socially connected and it is a great thing to interact. It's hard for some people to get to gigs, so you need to please them in other ways, and the Internet is the means to do it. I gained a lot of exposure on Youtube, where my friends would share it around. I can put any video on my own channel.

Q. Where can you take your music?

A. I just want to work very hard to do well. I want to have timeless music. I want to be able to write a lot of my music and express everything that I feel, so everyone can relate to it. That means writing worldly music that everyone around the globe can listen to. I am still learning lots about singing and I'll be learning things every day.

Elen's new single Like A Girl In Love is out on March 2 through Ministry Of Sound/Universal.

Check out the great video for the new song here