Born and raised in Odessa, in Soviet Ukraine, but now calling Philadelphia her home, singer-songwriter Julia Levitina is bringing a global perspective to her unique brand of Americana. Subtly blending in Russian and French folk influences from her youth, her debut EP, Take Your Time Loving Me, is a snapshot of an artist who has literally and figuratively crossed oceans and seas to pursue her dreams. The record's opening track, «Rubicon,» is about putting fear aside and taking risks while on a quest for fulfillment. Says Levitina, «The Rubicon is a shallow river in Italy that Julius Caesar crossed, starting a civil war that he eventually won. This song, and the entire record really, are about finding courage to go the distance.» Another key track, «Edge of the World» casts this theme in a somewhat romantic light with «What if I fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?” in its refrain.
Levitina's organic, lyrically driven songs are born out of a natural curiosity and creative drive that began early in her childhood. While her parents pressed for piano lessons because the instrument was already installed in the cramped family room, Julia was far more fascinated with the guitar. She recalls fondly the warmth associated with frequent get-togethers and cookouts, inevitably accompanied by campfire sing-alongs to someone’s beat-up semistrunka. These gatherings became her introduction to the French folk and the likes of Joe Dassin and Francis Cabrel, as well as to the Russian bards, such as Vladimir Vysotsky, considered by many to be the Soviet John Lennon. These influences find an unexpected home alongside Julia’s more current favorites like Josh Ritter, whose songs she regularly covers in her live shows.
Already an established artist in the field of sculpture and an accomplished figure skater, Julia sees her musical adventure as part of a continuum: „I don't look at music as an entity unto itself, separate from, say, sculpture or figure skating. I think this is consistent with how great artists throughout history saw things. It's not about where one art form ends and another begins. As an artist, I have something to say and I am communicating that. Whether I sculpt or play guitar, I'm still using my hands. “
As a songwriter, Levitina has taken her time crafting the material for Take Your Time Loving Me. Joining forces with co-producer John Faye, an acclaimed long-time Philadelphia singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Julia has worked to tweak granular details of her melodies and lyrics until she felt she had a solid collection of songs for her debut recording, cut primarily at Cambridge Sound Studio in South Philadelphia with engineer Todd Mecaughey. Along with “Rubicon» and «Edge of the World,» the record contains the top-shelf originals «To The Dogs» (a song Julia refers to as her «Let It Be»), «Without A Word» (a tune ripe with influences from the old country), and the title track, which Levitina feels is the fitting closer for the EP: «It's a song that started out as a very conventional love song, but I tore it up and gave it another go. I am always looking to find extraordinary in the ordinary. I think an artist's gift is to be able to see the same old thing with a little more insight, and then spin it in a way that illuminates something that might have been easily overlooked otherwise. I think the tune is representative of who I strive to be as a songwriter. It’s succinct and a little poignant and definitely tongue-in-cheek. It felt like the perfect sentiment: You don't have to love me right away. Take your time. I'm gonna stick around.»