By 96five NetworkThursday 9 Jun 202296five MorningsMusicReading Time: 3 minutes
By Emelyne Sezerano
96five’s Tim caught up with Australian singer-songwriter Levi McGrath about his new single Tear the Walls Down featuring Eliza King and the work he does for the outback community.
Levi is well known for his passion for social justice, and for bringing hope in very practical senses to communities in Australia and overseas. His new single Tear the Walls Down reflects his passion and expresses a desire for us to come together, despite our differences.
It was also born out of relocating recently from Victoria to Western Australia, an idea that was birthed during the Victorian Covid lockdowns. The McGrath’s were on holiday in New South Wales when the second Victorian lockdown happened, and it was here that the family looked at a move to the bush.
“We thought we could go back or we can pray and see where God wants us to go,” Levi told Tim Bain. “We didn’t feel being in lockdown was for us or suited our family.”
Levi told Tim that he felt God was calling him to the outback, as he had a friend who ran a music camp in an indigenous community.
“It came to the point where we needed to pray and seek God’s direction,” Levi said.
The Western Australia borders opened up and Levi and his family traveled to Kununurra in the state’s north, just near the Northern Territory border. Both Levi and his wife are now involved in youth work and mentoring in the remote community.
Levi teaches music locally and travels to other remote communities between five to ten hours away from Kununurra to teach music.
For many years, Levi and his friend Andy Horneman have run Instruments for the Outback, a program that collects instruments and teaches indigenous kids the joy of music.
“You never know who’s gonna be the next Dr Dre or the next Baker Boys.”
His new song Tear the Walls Down is a call for unity and features Brisbane vocalist Eliza King, who Levi discovered when his manager Kate showed him some of Eliza’s YouTube videos.
“She’s got such an effortless vocal style,” said Levi. “She reminds me of Brooke Fraser.”
“I wanted to sing about tearing some of those walls down, that we don’t even know that we’ve created. We have these inbuilt prejudices… are they based on truth, or are they seasoned with God’s love?”
Levi wanted to do something differed with his new song and thought that a duet with Eliza would be the perfect opportunity for a collaboration.
“It made it a really great project for me. This song is not written for any particular global issues, or the issues that indigenous people face here in Australia.
“It was written from a perspective of a broken relationship.
“The song was a healing process for me, it even came down to my personal relationships and my marriage. We build up walls of annoyance and frustration and before you know it, the relationship becomes sour.”
Check out the full interview with Levi in the video player above.