She's not only a pretty face with a stunning voice. DW is pleased to introduce Germany's 2017 Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) participant, Levina, as host of our television show, PopXport.
Born in Bonn and growing up in Chemnitz, 25-year-old Levina Lueen is a singer who normally divides her time studying in London and living in Berlin. But at the moment, she's spending a whole lot of time in hotel rooms. That's because on February 9, when she won the German bid for the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC), her life was turned on its head. And it's picked up to a breathless pace.
Levina gives one interview after another, makes television appearances, and travels on the ESC promotion tour throughout Europe to introduce herself to audiences all over. She's performed in London, Amsterdam, Budapest and Tel Aviv. She's traveled to Georgia, Armenia, Macedonia and Albania. She's sung with the Macedonian candidate Jana in Skopje; she's danced folk dances with singer Artsvik in Armenia. She's even posted herself singing an Armenian folk song on Instagram. In Israel, she sang Nena's hit "99 Luftballons." And then there are all the rehearsals and preparations for the ESC taking place in Kyiv in May.
Still, she took the time to come to Bonn: to record her first PopXport episode in DW's studios.
Relaxed and disciplined
When Levina appears somewhat late today, Friday, April 28, make-up artist Silke is pretty nervous. She normally likes to spend about an hour applying make-up on the person making an appearance. For Levina, she has 10 minutes' time. But as soon as the singer walks into the room, Silke's nervousness disappears.
"That woman is so relaxed, it brought me completely down to earth," she said later.
Relaxed and disciplined - Levina moves gracefully through the room, while everyone else is hustling and bustling around her. Television crews from other broadcasters are here, with everyone wanting pictures and recording time and interviews. In between all the goings-on, Reiner Schild, Kate Müser and Conny Paul of the PopXport team prepare Levina for the television production.
Meanwhile, guitarist Mo is already practicing in the studio. He met Levina at the ESC national final and performs with her in many promotion appearances. He says he finds working with her very pleasant. "It's amazing what she pulls off here, and she still remains calm," Mo said.
A dream come true
The events of the past few months and the lead-up to the Eurovision Song Contest may all sound extremely stressful, but Levina remains relaxed: "All that is going on right now is a dream come true, no matter how demanding it might be at times," Levina explains.
"When I was working as a barista at a coffee shop, I found it stressful as well. But that wasn't what I wanted to do. Now I'm exactly where I always wanted to be."
Levina has shown incredible resolve and discipline in getting there. Her family's support was also always important: Levina's parents constantly reinforced her in her determination to create music. She started taking her first singing lessons when she was nine years old, laying the foundations for her participating in children's musicals soon after. By the time she was 12, Levina had stared writing her own songs.
It was plain to see from the beginning that she could not live without music: "If I couldn't make music, I wouldn't be able to find happiness," Levina tells DW.
Next stop: album release
This day, April 28, 2017 is not only a significant date for Levina because of her debut as presenter on DW's PopXport. She is also releasing her first album today, entitled "Unexpected." Levina considers the album an added bonus to being sent to represent Germany at the ESC: when she qualified in February, there was no album planned. But then she managed to squeeze in the recording sessions for the 12 tracks between the appointments for her promotional tour. Levina describes the songs as "soulful pop."
The majority of the tracks were written for her, and four actually are her own compositions. There's a great variety of sounds on the album: from ballad to up-tempo, from dance-floor to acoustic tracks, there's a bit of everything there.
Levina says that she aims to come up with lyrics that convey positive messages. "People need to believe in themselves, not let others get them down and always look for the good in whatever may occur," the young singer says, adding that she hopes that audiences will enjoy her music and feel inspired by the lyrics.
"It's all about joy and love."