Martone: It is a pleasure to have Keith “WildChild” Middleton, the lead member of the musical group Levels, on IRMIXRadio.net First, Keith, I would like to congratulate you and your group on your latest release Levels (the album). Please tell our readers how the group came together.
Keith “WildChild” Middleton:
Wow, it is really a great pleasure to be here with you my brother. We are honored. Kismet, the energy was out there without us realizing we were being brought together. I toured my 1st album and gave a 1week master “body percussion” class in Milan at the CPM Music Institute. I thought it would be kool to give a concert there at the end of the week with the students as my band. The college thought better and introduced me to the professors there.
Jacopo Mazza and Luca Marcias. Two of the most gifted musicians I have ever met. We hit it off and became brothers, I introduced the fellas to Aaron Marcellus, who was also a STOMP cast member, and LEVELS was born.
Martone: I recently had the opportunity to check out two of your videos one called Unicorns, and the other called A Place. There is a lot of love in these songs is this something that you consciously set out to do with the lyrics and videos?
Keith “WildChild” Middleton: Most of the lyrics I wrote during that time just kept falling on paper that way so I suppose, yes. Unconsciously we were creating what would become a full-on concept album about our take on the world’s oldest love story, Adam and Eve’s.
Martone: Would you please describe your group’s sound to our readers and how it came to be?
Keith “WildChild” Middleton: We are all from different countries, cultures, disciplines, languages etc … so there is a little bit of everything. A contemporary R&B group that constantly pushes the envelope. If you listen to D’angelo, Kendrick Lamar, Robert Glasper, Fela, Africando, Joni Mitchell you’ll dig us hahaha. We would have these Jam/writing sessions any and every time I came to Italy. We’d get a gig and just go for it and magic would happen on stage then we’d immolate it at the writing sessions. when we were apart which was more often than not, we’d have ideas and would work via the internet. This album took us 4 years to complete.
Martone: What are the benefits of being a member of a group as opposed to being a solo artist?
Keith “WildChild” Middleton: Being in a group has great advantages especially for us with our diverse backgrounds. The ideas are in abundance. Solo artists don’t have anyone to answer to. This can be a plus or a minus for some. Steel sharpens steel and I like to be challenged by my brothers and vice versa.
Martone: While performing on stage, what is the craziest thing that has happened to you or members of your group?
Keith “WildChild” Middleton: We are always having fun. Always. On stage, I feel like we are soaring through the air taking the audience with us on a ride. People laugh and dance and cry at our shows. Always. We have had articles of women’s clothing somehow find their way on the stage hahaha.
Martone: Looking at your career in its entirety, you have had an amazing one. From Stomp Out Loud to now a recording career. What was it that had you make the leap (No pun intended) from Stomp Out Loud to becoming a rapper/ spoken-word artist?
Keith “WildChild” Middleton: I was always a rapper/Musician. STOMP was peripheral. I had no idea I was even capable of doing the material in that show. I was just amazed when I saw it on a hot date. I went back and told my dancer “friends” about it. I was shocked when they told me they all auditioned for it. Was disheartened when I was told that because none of them made it, I would not have. I was young, however, I believe we all have our own skill sets and personalities, so when I heard about a new audition a few weeks later I went anyway and got it! Do not ever let anyone tell you what you cannot do, especially if it is in your heart to try your best. My last injury in the show made me really sit down literally and take notice of how I’d been neglecting fully listening to my heart. Falling back into writing and recording is 1st nature.
Martone: Looking back on your career, what are some memorable moments that you would like to share with our readers, is there anything that stands out to you?
Keith “WildChild” Middleton: Ha, far too many to mention my brother. I have to say, I have had a blessed and colorful career thus far. Performing on the Oscars, The Grammys, flying all over the world, performing with STOMP and then LEVELS. Attending the GRAMMYS with LEVELS, Film, TV, Music all of the beautiful people and lands I’ve met and seen. I am having an amazing time. I think I will write a book.
Martone: As a voting member of the NARAS aka The Grammy’s what do you think about all of the latest controversies whether it is someone believing that they were shutout due to their involvement in other well publicized commitments or just saying that the whole process is political?
Keith “WildChild” Middleton: With every organization on this planet even the most earnest of origins and intent, there are always opportunists that infiltrate. There are folks out there with self-serving agendas. People have really had enough and so you see changes happening. I am proud to be a part of the academy, I know for a fact that myself, and alike are pushing for change and transparency. We are seeing great improvements.
Martone: This is something that I ask of all guests on IRMIXRadio.net- what if any, obstacles have you faced in your own career, and if you had faced obstacles, how did you overcome them?
Keith “WildChild” Middleton: There are always naysayers. People place their own fears onto you. Sometimes unintentionally, sometimes out of envy and spite. You must always believe in yourself. trust your heart, it never lies to you. It never second guesses. This is what I tell my 3 sons.
Qaasim is an American Idol finalist, an accomplished singer/ songwriter as well as Khalil. They amaze me with how they constantly push the envelope. Makai is right behind them already creating music and rapping at 11yrs old.
Martone: What can we expect next from Levels?
Keith “WildChild” Middleton: We are constantly creating. We have a few videos dropping soon from our debut album. A few online shows in the works. Follow us @Levelsband on IG for our regular podcasts and interviews plus upcoming events, online and in person.
Martone: Because of COVID-19, and all of these shutdowns, and performance opportunities have all but dried up. Have you found a way to get the music that is inside of you out?
Keith “WildChild” Middleton: I was born in the ’70s. No such thing as the internet back then. It is in my DNA to create and reach out to people with what I have in the means that are available. COVID has hindered our traveling, touring etc. It has not stopped our creativity.
Martone: Can we expect more televised performances or acting in the future from you?
Keith “WildChild” Middleton: I am always open…In fact, I’ve created a children’s tv show hosted by yours truly. Shhhh that’s all I can say.
Martone: What advice would you get to an upcoming singer/songwriter about making it in show business?
Keith “WildChild” Middleton: For me, I did it because it was in my soul to do it. I did not look at it from the “I’m going to become rich and famous” angle. I can only say that if you love it, go for it because you are going to put maximum effort into it. That is the only way I know how to do anything creative. Success will always follow you if you are humble and do what you love from the heart.
Martone: Will there be new music from Levels in 2021?
Keith “WildChild” Middleton: ABSOLUTELY!!! Hahaha. Be on the lookout for collabs with my younger brother’s group @The.6ixers. @Lr_blitkrieg and @thebadseedBrooklyn have a Nottz (@nottzdaruler) produced EP out now. It is absolutely incredible, hip hop music, we may have them some work on the remixes. Follow them.
Martone: Please share with our readers as to where they can find out more about you and Levels the Group.
Keith “WildChild” Middleton: Please follow us on IG and Facebook @Levelsband Our website levelsband.com Like and subscribe to our “Levels Official” YouTube page. Leave comments because we do this all on our own dime. We are fully independent artists, so everything counts for us in tremendous ways. Our music is on all digital platforms from Spotify, Apple Music to Bandcamp.
Martone: Thank you so much for joining me today for this interview. I would like to invite you back once the station has launched to talk more about what the plans are for Levels.
Keith “WildChild” Middleton: Absolutely a pleasure and indeed an honor. We thank you so much for your graciousness and yes of course we look forward to another chance to chop it up with you. Peace n Rhythm, Love n Light Keith n the gang.
More about Keith 'WildChild' Middleton and Levels
Keith “WildChild” Middleton Keith “WildChild” Middleton Brooklyn born and bred. Grew up surrounded by music. Formed a rap group HYDRA with his brother LR BLITZKRIEG and best friend GMS. Keith was a part of the international hit show STOMP for nearly 20yrs. Performing on stages worldwide. From the Oscars to The Grammys to starring in major films, TV shows, and commercials with the likes of Beyonce, Quincy Jones, Paul Simon, Robin Williams, Ewen McGregor, Halle Berry, and many more.
Surviving a car wreck in early 2008 prompted Keith to fully follow his life-long dream of a music career as an artist, writer, and producer. In 2014 he released his critically acclaimed debut album “Transitions” which was recognized and accepted by the recording academy and gave him Grammy Voting Member status. Keith now has his sights on new LEVELS.