Not many people can say attending their older brother’s show was a life-changing experience,
but for Levi Rowan seeing his brother play made him feel like he had a shot as a musician.
“The exchange of energy and the respect that the crowd gave them made him a superhero to
me,” the alt-pop singer recalls. Growing up in the small Canadian town of Belleisle, New
Brunswick, “aspiring musician” wasn’t on many peers’ résumés, so this was monumental.
From then on, the teen honed in on his own craft and has been professionally releasing music
for the past year.
Equal parts alternative, pop, and hip-hop, Rowan pulls influence from an eclectic mix of artists
including Childish Gambino, Odd Future, The Black Keys, and Nirvana; however, visuals might
be an even larger inspiration.
“The visual aspect of music takes an idea that was already fleshed out in a song and turns it
into a world. You are able to stretch out the canvas and show people a broader explanation of
what they’re hearing,” he explains. “I listen to a lot of movie soundtracks from Taxi Driver to
Drive because I love being able to see the scenes when I hear each track. I feel like music and
film are like brother and sister.”
Rowan takes this approach with his own music videos. Last year’s single “Night Terrors” is ac-
companied by visuals inspired by his favorite horror film, Evil Dead, and he’s working on anoth-
er video that pays homage to The Truman Show. The sense of vision also plays a big part in
the writing of his music.
“I recently wrote a song and saw a desert scene related to the themes of Fear and Loathing in
Las Vegas,” he explains. “That scene for whatever reason felt like freedom. I closed my eyes
and was on a long stretch of road heading toward a good time. That song turned out to be one
that was fun and careless while also being somewhat ambitious vocally.”
That drive is something Rowan’s learned to harness after continually feeling misunderstood
and misrepresented in his youth. “Music was something I could talk to, that knew I wasn’t a
bad kid, and that wanted the best for me,” he says. “I believe you manifest your destiny. And In
trying to manifest that, I’ve realized that if I would have fit in then I would have been comfort-
able. It’s in being uncomfortable that I looked for more, and that’s what I think I found.”
As he continues perfecting his sound, Rowan believes he’s currently writing the best music of
his life, both in terms of naturally combining his myriad musical influences and finding his true
voice through honest lyrics.
Before the coronavirus pandemic hit, Rowan was playing to packed venues while on tour with
Neon Dreams, and he plans to hit the road again when it’s safe to do so. In the meantime, he’s
continuing to write music that he hopes resonates with fans in a profound way.
“When I was younger I didn’t look to a teacher for help, I looked to people like Mac Miller who
was pouring his heart out in records,” he says. “That music kept me going and I think that goes
for a lot of kids. No matter in what way my music helps people, that’s all I want it to do.”