Read My Life (The Cliff's Notes)

About Steven Leavitt. Born in Tarzana, CA, in the Year of the Monkey. Likes to swing off things.

I grew up in a family of certified motorcycle nuts. My grandpa Dave Evans was in the classic motorcycle documentary movie "On Any Sunday." He taught my mother and my aunt to ride, and the rest is history. My mom became one the first woman expert to ride the sport of motorcycle Trials (a sport where you ride over obstacles on your motorcycle and are scored against whenever you put your foot down), recieved a sponsorship by Yamaha at 16, competed against all men, and did a trick riding show at supercross events in front of crowds upward of 50,000 people. (She since has been inducted into the AMA's Motorcycle Hall of Fame.) At the top of her laundry-list of qualities she was most looking for in a man was that he could ride Trials better than her. Then she met my father, three-time US National Trials Champion, Lane Leavitt.

It would be an understatement to say that my dad loves motorcycles. It would be more accurate to point out that he is a complete motorcycle fanatic. As a child I was taught that the secret of life is Trials. Whether it be relationships, work, or important decision-making it related to riding a motorcycle. However, it seemed I had not inherited this gene. One Christmas when I was about five I my parents had put a brand new kid-sized motorcycle for me under the tree - I walked right by it. To this day my dad still wonders what went wrong.

Before I was born, my mom became a professional stunt-woman. She got a call from someone who had seen her half-time show who asked her if she would like to jump a motorcycle for a movie. So began a very successful carreer in movie stunts. Since then my mother has worked in movies such as T-2, The Fast and the Furious and The Matrix Reloaded stunt-doubleding for Linda Hamilton, Michelle Rodrigues, Pamela Anderson, Wynona Ryder, Wonder Woman, and countless other actresses. While doubling regularly for Stephanie Zimbalist on Remington Steele we used get to travel to all kinds of different countries. By the time I had turned six we had already been to Ireland, France, Malta, and Mexico. We got to spend a whole summer in Italy when I was eleven.

Before he retired, my grandpa was an electrician by trade. My dad has always been an inventor of sorts, so as a kid I wanted to be a scientist or an astronaut. Upstairs in our attic I had my very own laboratory with all kinds of aerospace junk (just like Dexter or Jimmy Neutron). At five I was surrounded by knobs and dials. I was 5 and my dad would buy me those RadioShack electronic science kits made for 8 year olds.

I played with a little Storybook record player that would play records and project slides on a little screen. It was the multi-media education tool of its day, and it may have led me strait to where I am today.

Somewhere between wanting to be a scientist or an astronaut (or an actor) I discovered music. I was very influenced by Nu Wave. In 1985 I was listening to KIIS FM every night playing groups like Wham, Human League, and Tears for Fears. Around age 6 I started playing around with my mom's Yamaha DX7 synthesizer. I was surely a child of the 80s and I must have been blinded by science. Synthesizers were cool! At eight I took to plinking out tunes on the piano and had soon resolved to take piano lessons so I could figure out how to play the songs that I heard in my head.

My parents had a spare bedroom in the house which we converted to a band room. The neighborhood kids used to come over to play music with my various assortment of electronic drums, synthesizers, and microphones.

For my 12th birthday my parents bought me a KORG synthesizer. I had been pining over it for a year because it had a build in sequencer which allowed me to record and arrange all the parts of a song by myself. My friend Jonie would come over almost every day of the week, and at some moment we went from the neighborhood version of "Kids, Incorporated" to actually writing decent songs.

Jonie got me into playing hockey. I played roller hockey for three years and Ice Hockey for four (a total of seven years), continuing all the way up until my Junior year of highschool. Nintendo was no longer my only sport, which was a big step for me.

The material my friend and I had been working on in my bedroom started showing some potential, and by the time I was 14 we formed a synth-pop band named Transfiguration. We were joined by a musical child-prodigy named Michael Gerbrandt on the drums. Michael, who had been a part of our old neighborhood band was much yonger than us but could play 4 different instruments. We began playing shows all around our little town with me on keyboards, Jonie Blinman lead vocals, and Michael on drums. After recording a four song demo in a real recording studio we played all kinds of local coffee houses, churches, and even the public park before the band broke up in mid 1995.

I continued to develop a lot musically in high school. My freshman through senior years I played piano every week in the chapel band, which helped my piano skills grow dramatically. I was also in school orchestra for two years (yes band geek) and choir for a semester my senior year. I took piano lessons from Michael Lord who taught me the ropes of rock, pop, and blues piano. Instead of constantly drilling me on my technique, each week he would simply ask "what would you like to learn?" I hardly ever practiced formally or ever came to a lesson prepared but since I was playing with an ensemble so many times a week I still ended up learning volumes.

I also mixed live sound for a church with a 300 seat auditorium for 3 years. Musically I apprenticed under Rick Balentine (church music director and producer for some major hip hop artists back in the late 80's early 90's). My sophomore year I also began working as an assistant at a graphic design firm, where I learned the ins and outs of photoshop, print-layout, television logo animation, and basic advertising. It was shortly after that, that was created, my first website. Sophomore year of high school, the school chapel band decided to record a gospel album. It was my first attempt at record producing. Not finishing on time the record was never released and I ended up finishing it with overdubs nearly two years later.

I graduated from high school 2nd in my class, and began studying recording engineering at Musician's Institute in Hollywood.

After Musician's Institute I spent a year at Pepperdine University in Malibu where I performed in the Pepperdine Choral and co-wrote and produced a student film winning Best Comedy Short at the Pepperdine Video Festival. I left Pepperdine in 2001 to pursue the entertainment business.

Leaving Pepperdine I started working on the sets with my Dad's stunt rigging company Leavittation, where I got to work on music videos with Sarah Brightman and Janet Jackson, and movies such as Scorpion King, the Tuxedo and Jeepers Creepers 2. In 2002 I joined the Bill Young's Driving Team, a team of professional motion picture drivers that create traffic scenes for movies and television. With Bill and his team I have worked for productions like The Italian Job, Bruce Almighty, Hollywood Homicide, The Girl Next Door, Kill Bill, Starsky & Hutch, and Spiderman 2, to name a few.

At the same time I was busy making connections in the music industry. I had become webmaster for my friend Nick Washburn who had started his own entertainment management company called NWE-Management. It was Nick who connected me with my friend, entrepeneaur and producer Dave Tough and his company Real Life Music Publishing. I soon became the reallifemp webmaster and great friends with Dave, who was busy in LA with his own demo producing business. One of Dave's songwriting clients was interested in doing solo material and I began working as a demo producer and co-writer, as well as playing keyboards in the live band.

Also through other connections in the LA music scene, I was introduced to Shannon Hurley and her band at a showcase at the Derby. I now had business cards (thanks to Dave) that said "Steven Leavitt: [.....] Producer." Six months later I got a call from Shannon asking for ways to help promote her band live. I thought about it, and we soon came up with the concept for "Don't Call Us Tori," a showcase of talented female singer-songwriters (most of which who also happen to play piano). The first Don't Call Us Tori was launched successfully at the Westwood Brewing Co. January of 2004.

In 2004 I co-produced Dave Tough's second solo album Gravity Always Wins, which is available on

You can also check out the band I'm playing in, Ludivico on

Keep up to date with everything else I am up to in my online journal.

Steven Leavitt


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