NORTHERN SOUL GIRL – LEVANNA MCLEAN, the new face of Northern Soul, talks!

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  • NORTHERN SOUL GIRL – LEVANNA MCLEAN, the new face of Northern Soul, talks!

LEV_kingshall_6Do you collect vinyl singles yourself?

Yeah. I do when and as I can. I’m on a student budget those so it’s not the easiest thing to do.

What’s your most treasured Northern soul single that you own?

Oh, wow. There are quite a few that I really, really love. There’s a record that I stole from my mum by Mandrill, ‘My Kind Of Girl (My Girl),’ which I have to play every so often for myself because it’s a really great track. If I had to have one that I could keep and had to sell the rest I would probably say that record.

Have you ever seen any Northern Soul acts live at the weekenders?

Yes, I did. It was almost a year ago this week that I went to my first weekender, which was up in Prestatyn. It was amazing: a whole weekend of soul. I couldn’t have asked for anything more really. I saw The Impressions live. Oh my God, they were absolutely amazing. It was like they were 15 again. Honestly, their stage presence was absolutely amazing. They really know how to work a crowd. I also saw Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. They also helped get me to Northern Soul as well. They’re not necessarily Northern Soul but they’ve got that blues and jazz influence there. I remember going to see her about two years ago in London at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire. Because I was into rock music before I’d never seen such a stage production where everything was absolutely perfect; the brass section was stepping in time and just the way it all built up and the way that she worked the crowd with her voice was really amazing.

You danced alongside for Pharrell Williams at the Brits last year.

That was an amazing time for me. It all happened so fast, within the space of a week. Basically, Pharrell asked his dance agency who get all his backing dancers and choreographers that appear in his music videos, to get Northern Soul dancers. They didn’t have any on their agency so they had to go and find them. So I got a message on Twitter saying hey, do you want to come and dance at the Brits with Pharrell? At first I didn’t believe it. I messaged back and said yes, I’d love to dance at the Brits. That was about a week before and then on the Sunday before the Brits they called me and said right, you’ve got to come to London because you’re coming to dance on the Brits. So I got a plane down. The rehearsals were two days up on the stage. It all happened so fast. It was an amazing time because I got to do it with all my girlfriends who are into Northern Soul as well. It was a really amazing experience.

And did you get to meet Pharrell himself?

Yes, he was at rehearsals. One of my friends knocked him down to the ground by accident. Luckily it was only the rehearsals and wasn’t on the live show.

Had he seen your clip of you dancing to his record ‘Happy’?

Yes, I think that’s the reason why he wanted Northern Soul dancers. When he first released his 24-hour video of people dancing to his tracks for 24 hours none of them were Northern Soul dancers so me and my mum, we filmed the videos, we thought we’d do a spoof thing with a Northern soul track and he actually posted that on Twitter. It was unreal really. I couldn’t believe it. So I think that’s the reason why he wanted Northern Soul dancers at the Brits because he said in an interview on ITV 2 that he wanted to pay respect to the British music scene. I guess Northern soul is a big part of that.

What are your ambitions for the future?

I’m at college at the moment doing music production. I’m obviously massively into my music with the whole DJ-ing thing and the dancing. Even though it’s a music production course I’m not necessarily sure that I’d be a music producer but it gives me the techniques for going into something like radio or TV, making jingles or something. It’s given me all those techniques so that’s where I want to go: definitely in the arts or media department as a career, just because I love the people in it and I love doing it as well. My life just revolves around it.



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