Melbourne singer-songwriter Levi McGrath has been dubbed the ‘social justice musician’ and with good reason.
For over a decade Levi has put into action his passion for social justice, while inspiring others to do the same through his music.
His 2010 album Children of War was inspired by his six months spent living and working with former child soldiers in Uganda. He founded Instruments for the Outback which provides opportunities for indigenous musicians in remote Australia to perform and record their music, as well as to be mentored by professional musicians. Levi also founded Instruments for Ethiopia, which provides a similar program to homeless children in Addis Ababa.
Closer to home Levi also mentors a myriad of singers in his role as Assistant Musical Director of the renowned Choir of Hard Knocks, as well as in his involvement with the Voices of Frankston; an inclusive community choir.
And if all that wasn’t enough he has 2 young children at home. It’s been a long time between drinks, with Levi having just released the single Share The Love, and currently working on the follow up album to 2015’s Come Home.
He told 96five’s Tim Bain that his latest single was inspired by one of the Choir of Hard Knocks members, who’d been homeless for a significant period of time.
“He was in his late 60’s and the job was given to me to find him a place to live. I called every homeless shelter I could find in Melbourne and I just kept getting the answer – no, we’re full. He’d just fallen through the cracks. I began comparing my life with his, and seeing all the things that I have that make my life comfortable. I really started to see that I wasn’t being as generous as I could be.”
The message of the song is to reach out to others with generosity, and Levi says that will look different for everybody.
“That could be continuing to sponsor a child, or give to missions or towards our church projects and causes that we’re passionate about.”
The forthcoming album continues the theme of social justice, personal action, as well as songs that speak into his faith. But there’s one song that holds a special place in Levi’s heart.
“The title track of the album is called Be Here Now; it’s all about a time when I was sitting in my office and I get a little knock at the door. My son was 5 at the time and he wanted me to come and play with him. I remember telling him – no I’m busy and I have to work. I realised about half an hour later that we don’t get many opportunities while they’re young to just be a dad, hang out with them and be in the moment.”
Levi McGrath and his band will launch the new album Be Here Now on February 28th before heading out on a 3 month tour across Australia and New Zealand. Keep an eye on the Levi McGrath Music Facebook page for the launch and tour details.