Jeffrey LeValley is a gospel composer and songwriter. He discusses a Grammy-winning song he wrote, "Revelations 19:1," recorded by hip-hop artist Kanye West.
The pandemic brought well-known Flint area gospel composer, director, and performer Jeffrey LeValley a gift he could never have imagined. In 2021, a song he wrote, Revelations 19:1, was recorded by hip-hop artist Kanye West. The song won a Grammy Award for West and LeValley, who wrote the song. In previous years, LeValley was Grammy-nominated for his work in gospel music. LeValley also received a lifetime achievement award from BMI for his work in Gospel Music.
LeValley has no shortage of Flint area fans. He wrote and performed a song played for Pope John Paul on his visit to the Detroit area. He has performed with Aretha Franklin, Peabo Bryson, and Lou Rauls, to name a few. He estimates he recorded 275 recording projects in his long musical career.
For over 40 years, Jeffrey has served as the minister of music at the New Jerusalem Full Gospel Baptist Church in Flint. He also served as the International Minister of Music for the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship, Bishop Paul S. Morton, Presiding Bishop for nine years.
During the interview, Jeffrey discusses his life and career. He shares his love of Flint. Jeff LeValley is a Flint music legend. Kirk Franklin provided the music for this podcast (Lift Every Voice and Sing). The outro is Revelations 19:1, performed by the New Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Choir, featuring Pastor Odis Floyd and Jeffrey LeValley. He directed the choir and wrote the song.
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00:00:28 Arthur A. Busch
Jeffrey, welcome. It's a pleasure to have you as a guest.
00:00:33 Jeffrey LeValley
It's a privilege to be here, honored.
00:00:35 Arthur A. Busch
I have wanted to interview you for two since I started this. You are a legend in Michigan, if not beyond, in gospel music. Your name is synonymous with excellence. You've been recognized across this country as one of the best composers, producers, and gospel music writers.
In recent years collaborated with a number of musicians of gospel music.
The Jesus is King project was nominated for an award as Billboard’s Top Christian artist and their top Gospel Artist award.
The Jesus is born Project was nominated for the top Gospel Album Award, and the song Selah was nominated in the top Gospel Song category.
00:01:20 Arthur A. Busch
In March of 2021, the Jesus is King Project won the Grammy Award.
00:01:25 Arthur A. Busch
For the best contemporary Christian music album making, Jeffrey Lavalley, my guest, a Grammy-winning composer, Uh Jeffreys been recognized nationally by the BMI as one of the 2021 Trail Blazers of Gospel Music. A highly.
00:01:46 Arthur A. Busch
Prestigious award in the music camp.
00:01:48 Arthur A. Busch
History, and it's in recognition of Jeffrey's many contributions to the gospel genre. 2021 the Kanye single Sailor, which contains a sample of Jeffrey's composition revelation.
00:02:01 Arthur A. Busch
Nineteen one was certified gold by the recording industry of America, denoting sales of half a million copies.
00:02:08 Arthur A. Busch
I didn't realize how much you were getting frequent flyer miles.
00:02:14 Arthur A. Busch
00:02:16 Arthur A. Busch
Jeffrey Lavalle has received proclamations from several cities.
00:02:23 Arthur A. Busch
Which include Dallas, Buffalo, Cincinnati, and Little Rock, and he was decreed an honorary citizen of the city of Louisville.
00:02:34 Arthur A. Busch
You wrote and composed a song for the Pope on his papal visit to Detroit four years ago.
00:02:42 Arthur A. Busch
He has performed.
00:02:45 Arthur A. Busch
As a writer, musician, director, and producer, or have appeared on over 275 projects of All Nature and gospel music with choirs throughout the nation. Besides playing for the Pope and performing his music there, he also performed music with Aretha Franklin.
00:03:05 Arthur A. Busch
When she came to Flint.
00:03:07 Arthur A. Busch
He also was featured as an artist in the Gentlemen of Gospel Series at the John F Kennedy Center in New York Jeffrey has done an amazing amount of work in 40 years.
00:03:20 Jeffrey LeValley
Thank you, it's an honor.
00:03:21 Arthur A. Busch
That's the longest introduction I've ever given.
00:03:27 Arthur A. Busch
What does gospel music mean to the people of Flint?
00:03:29 Jeffrey LeValley
Gospel plays a big part in the city of Flint, with of course you know we have near churches here.
00:03:36 Jeffrey LeValley
You have a myriad of church choirs, good choirs, from gospel music.
00:03:41 Jeffrey LeValley
It has played a part in encouraging the people of Flint for years. Sometimes it's a difficult circumstance, and on Sunday morning, we come to church to be encouraged to be uplifted, and 90% of the time, it's the music that gives us that uplifting that we need that carries us.
00:04:01 Jeffrey LeValley
Until next Sunday, we come back to hear more good music and singing.
00:04:06 Jeffrey LeValley
And very few churches here in the city of Flint don't have good choirs.
00:04:11 Jeffrey LeValley
Everybody got a good choir.
00:04:13 Jeffrey LeValley
I mean that that's something that you don't find in most of these, but everybody is quite pretty good.
00:04:19 Arthur A. Busch
You wanted to be a broadcaster at one.
00:04:21 Arthur A. Busch
Time is there.
00:04:22 Jeffrey LeValley
When I went to Marquette, I started in business administration, and when I realized how much math was.
00:04:28 Jeffrey LeValley
Going to be.
00:04:29 Jeffrey LeValley
Involved, I said no.
00:04:30 Jeffrey LeValley
We're gonna switch here.
00:04:32 Jeffrey LeValley
So when I went to Penn State, I started studying journalism, and I wanted to be a newscaster.
00:04:39 Jeffrey LeValley
I desired to be an anchor.
00:04:41 Jeffrey LeValley
I don't know what happened, but somehow I never got the opportunity to do so.
00:04:47 Jeffrey LeValley
I never finished any of mine.
00:04:49 Jeffrey LeValley
And courses for the class.
00:04:52 Jeffrey LeValley
So I never really got into doing journalism.
00:04:55 Jeffrey LeValley
I love movies.
00:04:57 Jeffrey LeValley
I'm a news junkie.
00:04:59 Jeffrey LeValley
I always watch the news, which I always wanted to do, but I never got the opportunity.
00:05:06 Arthur A. Busch
You have had a lot of success here in Flint, MI.
00:05:12 Arthur A. Busch
00:05:14 Jeffrey LeValley
I love Flint.
00:05:15 Jeffrey LeValley
We're central to go anywhere around the country, so close to Detroit airport.
00:05:20 Jeffrey LeValley
I can go anywhere in the world in an hour.
00:05:23 Jeffrey LeValley
's time I can just be Flint and go wherever I want to go and come back here. I love this city. When I moved here in 1972.
00:05:34 Jeffrey LeValley
I never expected to become a lover of this city.
00:05:39 Jeffrey LeValley
I just figured we're gonna be a place I'd live for.
00:05:41 Jeffrey LeValley
A while and.
00:05:42 Jeffrey LeValley
I would move on to somewhere like DC, another city I've always loved, but I love Flint.
00:05:50 Jeffrey LeValley
Flint has so much to offer.
00:05:52 Jeffrey LeValley
And many people take living and sleeping for granted, but you don't have to leave Flint to accomplish anything. If they want you, they'll get you from where you are.
00:06:02 Jeffrey LeValley
And I'm living proof that I stay here in Flint and travel around the country and around the world doing what I do, and I love it.
00:06:11 Jeffrey LeValley
I love this place.
00:06:12 Arthur A. Busch
Do you have some favorite places?
00:06:15 Jeffrey LeValley
I like the Cultural Center. I love Whiting auditorium. I love the slums and close FIM. Have a special place in my heart because I went to school there and when I was attending my so they have a special place.
00:06:29 Jeffrey LeValley
In my heart.
00:06:30 Jeffrey LeValley
But I just love the city.
00:06:32 Jeffrey LeValley
I love the vibrancy and people saying finish dying.
00:06:36 Jeffrey LeValley
Fenn is dying well, the only reason it may be dying is that General Motors left.
00:06:42 Jeffrey LeValley
But there's plenty of life outside of General Motors that's going on in.
00:06:48 Arthur A. Busch
Flint has had quite a few people over the years who have been very successful nationally, and internationally as recording artists.
00:06:58 Arthur A. Busch
Tell us a few of the people you admire and follow.
00:07:03 Jeffrey LeValley
It's a lot you got, Dee Dee Bridgewater.
00:07:05 Jeffrey LeValley
You got ready for the world, but those guys do not get the credit.
00:07:10 Arthur A. Busch
00:07:10 Jeffrey LeValley
That they deserve for putting the city of Flint on the match.
00:07:14 Jeffrey LeValley
They weren't ready for the world to expose people to the talent in Flint.
00:07:20 Jeffrey LeValley
Bernard Terry, had it not been for them, the fed would still be mediocre.
00:07:26 Jeffrey LeValley
You're talking about the Mccampbell brothers.
00:07:29 Jeffrey LeValley
The Mac band, wow.
00:07:31 Jeffrey LeValley
Kenneth Martin and the voices in praise on the gospel side.
00:07:34 Jeffrey LeValley
There's just talent among talent upon talent here in Flint that does not get recognized, but Seth is a very musically
00:07:43 Jeffrey LeValley
Talented city, a generation of young gospel artists coming on the scene house in Flint are going to break through and do some amazing things here.
00:07:54 Jeffrey LeValley
00:07:56 Jeffrey LeValley
As any semester, then you probably for me was Sidney Oliver, who left here, moved to New Jersey.
00:08:04 Jeffrey LeValley
His niece is probably one of the most spectacular vocalists in this area.
00:08:09 Jeffrey LeValley
You got Glenn Penniman's hamper?
00:08:11 Jeffrey LeValley
I mean, I could maybe Glenn Callaway, my God, I could name forever Delano.
00:08:17 Jeffrey LeValley
There's just Johnny person.
00:08:19 Jeffrey LeValley
Jeremy Riley, these people are up and coming and will break open on the scene on the music scene here in Flint.
00:08:28 Jeffrey LeValley
There's a lot of talent there, and a lot of the chatter that she goes up overlooked through something that we gotta change.
00:08:35 Jeffrey LeValley
Slim has an abundance of musically gifted people.
00:08:39 Arthur A. Busch
You left Milwaukee a long time ago.
00:08:42 Jeffrey LeValley
A long time ago.
00:08:44 Arthur A. Busch
And somehow, we landed in Flint.
00:08:46 Arthur A. Busch
How did that come about?
00:08:48 Jeffrey LeValley
I came here in November 1972 to play for a friend's father.
00:08:55 Jeffrey LeValley
Reverend Floyd was related to the person that never met him.
00:08:59 Jeffrey LeValley
Never seen him. I didn't know him.
00:09:01 Jeffrey LeValley
After the funeral, he asked me if I would come to their choir rehearsal on Saturday, which is always at 12 noon.
00:09:09 Jeffrey LeValley
So I came to rehearsal that Saturday and taught a couple of songs for the choir.
00:09:13 Jeffrey LeValley
They sang that Sunday morning.
00:09:15 Jeffrey LeValley
We had a.
00:09:15 Jeffrey LeValley
Great service after service.
00:09:18 Jeffrey LeValley
I found myself in the office with him and Deacon William Vaughn, the chairman of the Deacon board, and they asked me if I would consider moving to Flint.
00:09:30 Jeffrey LeValley
So I went home back to Milwaukee, and I asked my mom, and of course, on that day, I was brought up in the Church of God in Christ.
00:09:38 Jeffrey LeValley
So you didn't just in those days, you didn't just leave home without telling your pastor where you were going, and I went to my pastor until when I was thinking about moving the center, and he told me no.
00:09:51 Jeffrey LeValley
That I couldn't move here that I had to stay there.
00:09:54 Jeffrey LeValley
I was needed in Milwaukee, and Milwaukee was supposed to be.
00:09:58 Jeffrey LeValley
So I went home and told my mom what he said that he said no, and she said, well, I tell you what, if you really wanna go, I'll pack your bags, and two weeks later I was here.
00:10:11 Arthur A. Busch
You came to Flint and joined the Congregation of Reverend Floyd's Church. And then what?
00:10:19 Jeffrey LeValley
And moving here, one of the arrangements I had to make was thought I could play.
00:10:24 Jeffrey LeValley
For that church.
00:10:26 Jeffrey LeValley
I promised my mother that without withdrawing from the Church of God in Christ, so I joined Bishop Roger Jones Church, Holy Temple.
00:10:34 Jeffrey LeValley
So in the morning, I'd play in New Jerusalem, but at night I'd sit in the class.
00:10:39 Jeffrey LeValley
I am singing at Holy Temple on Sunday nights.
00:10:43 Jeffrey LeValley
I formulated to you Friday at Holy Temple when I was there.
00:10:46 Jeffrey LeValley
I guess about.
00:10:46 Jeffrey LeValley
Two or three years.
00:10:48 Jeffrey LeValley
And then I started feeling guilty taking the money I was being paid in New Jerusalem and paying me.
00:10:54 Jeffrey LeValley
I give my tithes to Holy Temple, so I turn around and join.
00:11:00 Jeffrey LeValley
Who's been there ever since you got it?
00:11:03 Arthur A. Busch
To know Reverend Floyd quite well.
00:11:07 Arthur A. Busch
What kind of person was he?
00:11:09 Jeffrey LeValley
He was a big man in stature who had a big heart.
00:11:14 Jeffrey LeValley
He would do anything for anybody.
00:11:17 Jeffrey LeValley
He was one that was willing to help not only those in New Jerusalem, but he was a great asset to the community of Flint.
00:11:26 Jeffrey LeValley
When I moved here, I stayed.
00:11:29 Jeffrey LeValley
With Bishop in his home with his family, for whom at.
00:11:33 Jeffrey LeValley
Here I stayed at home, and he treated me just as I was his son.
00:11:39 Jeffrey LeValley
There was nothing that he wouldn't do for me.
00:11:42 Jeffrey LeValley
I noticed that for me and anybody who needed his help or assistance.
00:11:48 Jeffrey LeValley
I learned how to be generous by following his example.
00:11:52 Jeffrey LeValley
I learned how to help.
00:11:54 Jeffrey LeValley
By following his example, not so much as him saying what to do but watching him do it because that's the kind of guy he was.
00:12:03 Jeffrey LeValley
He would do anything for anybody as long as it was positive.
00:12:07 Jeffrey LeValley
00:12:07 Jeffrey LeValley
I learned that from him, you know we are to help others and to help others grow.
00:12:13 Jeffrey LeValley
He taught me.
00:12:14 Jeffrey LeValley
How to do that?
00:12:15 Jeffrey LeValley
Do you know how to beat as to who to even hang around with?
00:12:20 Jeffrey LeValley
Who does watch your association so that you don't get in trouble because you were with somebody at the wrong place at the wrong time?
00:12:29 Jeffrey LeValley
He taught me that awful lot, which I'll never forget.
00:12:33 Jeffrey LeValley
For that, he lived generously.
00:12:37 Jeffrey LeValley
He lived like it was.
00:12:39 Jeffrey LeValley
His purpose was that we've all heard the song if I could help somebody as I pass along, then my living shall not be in vain.
00:12:47 Jeffrey LeValley
If you wanted to see a living example of that, it was Bishop.
00:12:51 Jeffrey LeValley
He lived to help others.
00:12:55 Arthur A. Busch
He was a tremendous talent with his music, and he integrated that into his sermons, a historic thing in African American church.
00:13:08 Arthur A. Busch
Just tell us about that.
00:13:10 Arthur A. Busch
His talents and music and some of your observations of his abilities.
00:13:16 Jeffrey LeValley
He could sing even the phone book he was singing.
00:13:20 Jeffrey LeValley
He could sing anything and everything.
00:13:24 Jeffrey LeValley
He was one of the recordings that we featured him on.
00:13:27 Jeffrey LeValley
00:13:28 Jeffrey LeValley
The way, written by John Key from North Carolina, Bishop came to rehearsal once.
00:13:34 Jeffrey LeValley
One time he went over the song one time and said OK, and left.
00:13:40 Jeffrey LeValley
Out and I.
00:13:41 Jeffrey LeValley
Mean the choirs going over this week?
00:13:43 Jeffrey LeValley
After week after, week after week.
00:13:44 Jeffrey LeValley
So I was a little nervous to see how it would turn on one tape, and he had.
00:13:50 Jeffrey LeValley
I mean, he laid it out, and it became a national hit.
00:13:54 Jeffrey LeValley
For not for him, Amber Church Bishop was a talented guy.
00:13:58 Jeffrey LeValley
He could sing had it not been for his inspiration.
00:14:03 Jeffrey LeValley
There'd be no revelation.
00:14:05 Jeffrey LeValley
19 and one.
00:14:06 Jeffrey LeValley
He was responsible for the inspiration for that.
00:14:08 Jeffrey LeValley
00:14:09 Arthur A. Busch
That song, of course, got you a Grammy Award in part and many others.
00:14:15 Arthur A. Busch
You've recorded a lot of records, yes.
00:14:22 Jeffrey LeValley
I know I've been on 270 projects, 200 seventy 275. I've done that many projects.
00:14:29 Jeffrey LeValley
Some of them were successful, and some of them were not so successful. I've been doing recordings since I was 14 years old. I'll be 69 on my next birthday, so I've been recording for a long time when it came to.
00:14:42 Jeffrey LeValley
That song was 1984, and we were in communion service.
00:14:48 Jeffrey LeValley
And the spirit was high.
00:14:50 Jeffrey LeValley
The church was lit on Fire.
00:14:52 Jeffrey LeValley
Everybody was coming, and Bishop left the podium.
00:14:57 Jeffrey LeValley
Pull Pin, and he comes over to the organ with his Bible open, and he slams the Bible down on the organ and says, sing this.
00:15:09 Jeffrey LeValley
And I looked a little, I said, excuse me.
00:15:12 Jeffrey LeValley
And he said sing this, and he turned around and walked away.
00:15:19 Jeffrey LeValley
Well, everybody that knows me knows that I don't sing. I ask for something I don't do. I can teach others how, but I'm not a singer.
00:15:29 Jeffrey LeValley
So I was sitting there, and I just started praying.
00:15:32 Jeffrey LeValley
I said Lord, my pastor just asked me.
00:15:34 Jeffrey LeValley
To do something here.
00:15:35 Jeffrey LeValley
You gotta help me, so I started singing that Bible verse that was turned to revelation and 19 and one.
00:15:42 Jeffrey LeValley
I started singing that verse with the first melody I had, and we just sang that one verse over and over and over and over.
00:15:52 Jeffrey LeValley
And Friday, the choir caught it, and when the choir card in the audience card in 45 minutes, that one verse, I think this is it. Nothing is ever going to happen.
00:16:02 Jeffrey LeValley
Because I'm not gonna even remember it after tonight.
00:16:05 Jeffrey LeValley
Well, the guys in the media room who never take communion service took the communion service that night, and we were preparing for a recording that was coming up on his eyes on the Sparrow album, and I needed it.
00:16:21 Jeffrey LeValley
A seven-minute cut to fill out one side of the project 'cause you had to have 24 minutes on the side, and we were like at 16 and a half 17.
00:16:29 Jeffrey LeValley
So I needed 70 minutes, so I put together the little desk, put together the second part of the course, and taught it to the choir.
00:16:38 Jeffrey LeValley
They got it, no problem.
00:16:39 Jeffrey LeValley
But then I ended up with only.
00:16:41 Jeffrey LeValley
Three minutes so I asked Bishop if we were doing the narration in the center.
00:16:45 Jeffrey LeValley
Sure, the rest of his history.
00:16:47 Arthur A. Busch
Jeff, you explained that after you had all this recorded, you had three minutes left, and you asked Pastor Floyd to participate in recording this album.
00:16:58 Jeffrey LeValley
I asked him if he didn't mind adding narration to it.
00:17:03 Jeffrey LeValley
I asked him if he would help us stretch the time out to get to the needed seven minutes.
00:17:10 Jeffrey LeValley
He said, sure, I'll come up with something, and he came here with the perfect amount when we finished mixing and editing the two we were down.
00:17:18 Jeffrey LeValley
To 7 minutes exactly, so it worked out well and so.
00:17:24 Jeffrey LeValley
I thought I was well received on the record, so I was kind of faded after seeing that all of a sudden there's this big explosion on Revelation 19, and one re-recording people are singing it everywhere, and I'm like, OK, well, I'm sorry.
00:17:44 Jeffrey LeValley
Then the next thing I know, my niece calls me on the phone, and she's.
00:17:48 Jeffrey LeValley
Says Kanye West that your song on this record, and I said, yeah, yeah, right, and I hung up on him 'cause I didn't believe.
00:17:55 Jeffrey LeValley
She and a local musician here, Jamal Branford, who worked at one time for a channel ABC 12, called me and said, Man, I just heard this song by Kanye West that includes a sample of your tune.
00:18:08 Jeffrey LeValley
And that's how I even sound.
00:18:10 Jeffrey LeValley
Now that he had picked it up, he had been singing it during his Sunday morning services across the country, and he had to be introduced to it by Jason White from LA.
00:18:22 Jeffrey LeValley
And I was grateful for that.
00:18:24 Jeffrey LeValley
But then they turned around and recorded the whole song.
00:18:28 Jeffrey LeValley
00:18:29 Jeffrey LeValley
It's been an experience.
00:18:30 Jeffrey LeValley
It's been an honor.
00:18:31 Jeffrey LeValley
00:18:32 Arthur A. Busch
Now, did you get a chance to meet him?
00:18:34 Jeffrey LeValley
I never met him, never talked with him, never had a conversation with his business.
00:18:39 Jeffrey LeValley
People have no idea, you know, I did get the royalty check which I'm grateful for. People ask me that all the time.
00:18:48 Jeffrey LeValley
Well, have you met him?
00:18:49 Jeffrey LeValley
Have you talked to him?
00:18:50 Jeffrey LeValley
Not in one conversation?
00:18:52 Jeffrey LeValley
Well, he's from Chicago.
00:18:54 Jeffrey LeValley
Being home with gospel music.
00:18:56 Jeffrey LeValley
So I could.
00:18:57 Jeffrey LeValley
I could imagine him being part of that community at one time.
00:19:01 Jeffrey LeValley
One of his.
00:19:01 Jeffrey LeValley
In videos, he turns the camera toward the chance to rap.
00:19:06 Arthur A. Busch
Chance the Rapper.
00:19:07 Jeffrey LeValley
Yeah, and Chance the Rapper is standing there singing.
00:19:10 Jeffrey LeValley
Revelation 19 and one and I'm.
00:19:12 Jeffrey LeValley
Like are you kidding me?
00:19:14 Jeffrey LeValley
This whole thing has just been.
00:19:15 Jeffrey LeValley
More than I could ever imagine.
00:19:18 Arthur A. Busch
But you've traveled extensively in the United States and have been invited to participate with other choirs you were involved with. A choir of 5000 people.
00:19:29 Jeffrey LeValley
Yes, that was in Atlanta, Georgia.
00:19:32 Jeffrey LeValley
The Old Georgia Dome.
00:19:34 Jeffrey LeValley
It was at a festival.
00:19:36 Jeffrey LeValley
The Reverend Milton Bigham from Savoy Records was in charge of the choir, a 5000-voice choir. He asked James Perry, who was his local church musician, and I, who would handle the instruments for that occasion, and Peabo Bryson was the guest vocalist for that concert.
00:19:55 Arthur A. Busch
Is there any connection between some of the musicians in your church and some other churches across the nation with jazz?
00:20:02 Jeffrey LeValley
So, my organist Joanne Thorn, though he plays gospel.
00:20:08 Jeffrey LeValley
He also plays jazz.
00:20:10 Jeffrey LeValley
You got Roger Jones, the second Bishop Jones, the son who plays jazz, but he's also a church organist, so there is various jazz connections here.
00:20:18 Arthur A. Busch
The connection between your music and your faith is right there, right?
00:20:24 Arthur A. Busch
It's sum and substance of it.
00:20:26 Jeffrey LeValley
I was brought up in the church I was raised in the church.
00:20:30 Jeffrey LeValley
All I ever knew was church.
00:20:33 Jeffrey LeValley
I've been directing choirs and playing since I was five, so that's all I ever knew, and somehow, my faith and music worked together.
00:20:44 Jeffrey LeValley
It's what I, my faith is what I believe.
00:20:47 Jeffrey LeValley
My faith keeps me going, and it's the music, my music, and my songs that come from what I believe and have been taught.
00:20:56 Jeffrey LeValley
I believe in the word of God.
00:20:58 Jeffrey LeValley
I believe in the Bible.
00:20:59 Jeffrey LeValley
I believe what it says.
00:21:00 Jeffrey LeValley
So my music comes out of that.
00:21:05 Arthur A. Busch
When you get involved in these projects in other communities or even in Flint, is there a process you usually go through before you accept your involvement in it?
00:21:17 Jeffrey LeValley
Well, most of the time, if people ask me to do things, as always, an honor for me, I try to find out exactly what they want me to do in my production.
00:21:27 Jeffrey LeValley
Do you just want me to play?
00:21:29 Jeffrey LeValley
You want me to compose?
00:21:30 Jeffrey LeValley
You want me to arrange it.
00:21:31 Jeffrey LeValley
I mean, what exactly are my boundaries?
00:21:34 Jeffrey LeValley
So I don't over?
00:21:36 Jeffrey LeValley
Step my boundaries, and I'm only going to do what you ask me to do, no more, no less.
00:21:43 Jeffrey LeValley
So we have to decide upfront what I am or what my assignment is in a project.
00:21:49 Jeffrey LeValley
If I'm there to play keys.
00:21:51 Jeffrey LeValley
That's all I'm going to do if I'm there to compose and play, then I'm going to compose, and like I, I only do what you ask me to do upfront.
00:22:00 Arthur A. Busch
As you travel around in the music business, and you have for a number of years, what do people ask you most about Flint?
00:22:08 Jeffrey LeValley
Lately, it's been the water crisis.
00:22:10 Jeffrey LeValley
Before that, it was how far it's Flint from Detroit, you know, do you go to Detroit often for everything I need here in Flint?
00:22:20 Jeffrey LeValley
I love this place, but now the last few years, it's been the water crisis that takes first and foremost in people's minds.
00:22:30 Jeffrey LeValley
You'd be surprised.
00:22:31 Jeffrey LeValley
Many people didn't realize that it was as bad as it was.
00:22:35 Jeffrey LeValley
Now, the repercussions that a lot of us had to go through with the water crisis.
00:22:40 Jeffrey LeValley
Some people thought it just wasn't true until you tell them where you show them what's going on.
00:22:46 Jeffrey LeValley
So lately, it's been the water crisis before that.
00:22:50 Jeffrey LeValley
Well, how far are we?
00:22:51 Jeffrey LeValley
From the chart.
00:22:52 Jeffrey LeValley
Or what's General Motors doing in your town?
00:22:54 Jeffrey LeValley
00:22:55 Jeffrey LeValley
So it was it's.
00:22:56 Jeffrey LeValley
Always been that type of thing.
00:22:58 Arthur A. Busch
How were you affected by the water crisis?
00:23:02 Jeffrey LeValley
I went to work that morning after taking my shower and getting dressed, and I came home, and all my water was brown, but it was like that for two or three days before it finally turned the nice color of beige.
00:23:16 Jeffrey LeValley
I didn't suffer any.
00:23:19 Jeffrey LeValley
Physical damage I did have some damage inside some pipelines and washing machine.
00:23:26 Jeffrey LeValley
Even now, I still won't drink water out of my faucet.
00:23:30 Jeffrey LeValley
Running water from the sink.
00:23:31 Jeffrey LeValley
I drink bottled water.
00:23:33 Jeffrey LeValley
I know it's crazy, but it's the thing that even with the filters, I still don't trust the water.
00:23:39 Jeffrey LeValley
Maybe it's just a phobia, maybe something I'll grow out of after a while, but right now, I don't.
00:23:47 Arthur A. Busch
Do you trust the government that brought it?
00:23:49 Arthur A. Busch
You that water?
00:23:51 Jeffrey LeValley
I'm very skeptical now of the different governments I know.
00:23:57 Jeffrey LeValley
That it happened so fast that.
00:23:59 Jeffrey LeValley
They didn't even test the water. They just did it looking to save money when they ended up spending more money than they would have had they left the original source where it was.
00:24:12 Jeffrey LeValley
I do have skepticism.
00:24:15 Arthur A. Busch
The fact that we've lost so many people.
00:24:18 Arthur A. Busch
Consequently, they have become unemployed, lost their job, or moved away.
00:24:23 Arthur A. Busch
How has that impacted the church, and how do you try to impact the people affected by this?
00:24:31 Jeffrey LeValley
A lot of the churches have lost a lot of people that have moved away or have become discouraged because of what's happening with the plants or whatever the case may be, and a lot of people just stop going to church because they just gave up my job.
00:24:52 Jeffrey LeValley
As a songwriter.
00:24:53 Jeffrey LeValley
It is to give people a little hope. That's what I'm through.
00:24:58 Jeffrey LeValley
That's what I try to do.
00:24:59 Jeffrey LeValley
In the stuff that I write, I try to give people hope, and even in giving them hope, I try to give myself hope because if you allow yourself to become discouraged to the point where you're ready to quit, or you're ready to leave.
00:25:14 Jeffrey LeValley
You may find yourself in a worse situation than you when you're leaving, so my job as a songwriter is to encourage people, and give them hope, strength, and death.
00:25:26 Jeffrey LeValley
A little bit to say OK, well yeah, I can go through this I.
00:25:29 Jeffrey LeValley
I can make it.
00:25:30 Jeffrey LeValley
Through this I.
00:25:31 Jeffrey LeValley
Have to make the decision that I'm gonna be OK.
00:25:35 Arthur A. Busch
Throughout this water crisis, you put so much passion into your work.
00:25:40 Arthur A. Busch
It's sort of the old saying when the going gets tough, the tough kick going.
00:25:45 Jeffrey LeValley
Yeah, yeah, that's that's that.
00:25:47 Jeffrey LeValley
That's a true statement.
00:25:48 Jeffrey LeValley
You have a choice you can.
00:25:52 Jeffrey LeValley
We'll do it.
00:25:54 Jeffrey LeValley
Or you can allow it to destroy you.
00:25:57 Jeffrey LeValley
I refuse to be destroyed.
00:26:00 Jeffrey LeValley
I'm here for a reason, and I'm gonna follow that through. Whatever God has for me is for me.
00:26:07 Arthur A. Busch
And it's in Flint.
00:26:08 Jeffrey LeValley
Yeah, it's right here in the city limits.
00:26:11 Jeffrey LeValley
I've had offers to move.
00:26:13 Jeffrey LeValley
I had offers that have been more lucrative to move, especially to the DC area.
00:26:18 Jeffrey LeValley
I love DC, but I believe I'm here in Flint for a reason.
00:26:24 Jeffrey LeValley
There's a reason that I'm even still at new rules, and I've been here.
00:26:28 Jeffrey LeValley
00:26:29 Jeffrey LeValley
22 at this church. So I believe that there is a reason for my being here. There I look at it as a season, and who knows how long a season is when this season is over. I don't know where I'm headed, but until this season is over, I'm gonna be right here.
00:26:46 Arthur A. Busch
Having big accomplishments later in your life, how does that affect you?
00:26:52 Arthur A. Busch
I mean, do people recognize this?
00:26:54 Arthur A. Busch
You're a guy walking around Flint, the streets of Flint, MI.
00:26:57 Arthur A. Busch
Who's a Grammy winner?
00:26:59 Arthur A. Busch
A BMI awardee for your legacy.
00:27:03 Arthur A. Busch
How does that wear with the public?
00:27:05 Jeffrey LeValley
Some know, some don't know.
00:27:07 Jeffrey LeValley
For me, it's humbling.
00:27:10 Jeffrey LeValley
It's a humbling experience to know that at 68 years old, I'm recognized for work I did 30 years ago.
00:27:20 Jeffrey LeValley
It's humbling to know that somebody is still listening to my music today.
00:27:26 Jeffrey LeValley
It's very humbling.
00:27:27 Jeffrey LeValley
I'm so I'm, I'm just.
00:27:30 Jeffrey LeValley
An average guy?
00:27:32 Jeffrey LeValley
That does what he does, loves what he's.
00:27:35 Jeffrey LeValley
And whether did people know of what I've done over the accomplishments that have taken place within the last couple of years?
00:27:41 Jeffrey LeValley
It's OK. It doesn't bother me.
00:27:43 Jeffrey LeValley
00:27:44 Arthur A. Busch
And you're still making music.
00:27:46 Jeffrey LeValley
Yes, Sir, I'm still making music.
00:27:49 Arthur A. Busch
Jeffrey Valley, let me ask you one last question.
00:27:52 Arthur A. Busch
Are you a flintstone?
00:27:55 Arthur A. Busch
What does that mean to you?
00:27:57 Arthur A. Busch
What does it mean to be a flintstone?
00:28:00 Jeffrey LeValley
A Flint is a hard substance. When you talk about Flint, you can start a fire with Flint.
00:28:10 Jeffrey LeValley
It's a hard stuff list with a heart that can stand up against on its own and Flint to me.
00:28:17 Jeffrey LeValley
You know, with all that fit.
00:28:19 Jeffrey LeValley
It's been through with the loss of General Motors, and with the water crisis, we're still standing.
00:28:26 Jeffrey LeValley
We've been through a lot, but we're still here. No, I was not born here.
00:28:32 Jeffrey LeValley
I was born in Milwaukee, but I spent most of my life in the city of Flint, and I love, I repeat, love this city.
00:28:42 Jeffrey LeValley
I think it's a wonderful place to live.
00:28:45 Jeffrey LeValley
It's a wonderful place.
00:28:46 Jeffrey LeValley
To raise a family, it's a wonderful place to make friends.
00:28:49 Jeffrey LeValley
It's a wonderful place to become involved in the arts and do whatever you want to do.
00:28:56 Jeffrey LeValley
You don't have to leave Flint. You should do it right here.
00:29:00 Jeffrey LeValley
It's a wonderful place.
00:29:02 Arthur A. Busch
Jeffrey Valley, thank you for joining me on radio free Flint.
00:29:05 Arthur A. Busch
It is an honor to have you as my guest, and I wish you many more Grammys and many more years of making music.