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POP FIX EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Levi Kreis is Right Where He Belongs

by Erin Darling 30 May 2009 1,871 views 7 Comments E-mail Erin Darling

Actor, performer and singer/songwriter Levi Kreis is taking a break from his extremely busy schedule. Not for a well-deserved vacation to a sunny island, a weekend bed and breakfast getaway, or a trip to a family reunion. Instead, Kreis is recovering from surgery. He tore his ACL while executing a maneuver during an encore performance of “Million Dollar Quartet” that could best be described as half gymnast, half superhero. “It gets very physical,” says Kreis, “I was vaulting myself over a piano. I jumped really high and said, ‘this must look cool,’ came down and ended up on the floor.”

This is the second time he has injured himself while performing a similar gold-medal worthy jump over a piano. But instead of feeling upset or down-trodden over this physical setback, Kreis feels blessed. “I’m recovering beautifully. I’m feeling blessed that I can walk around my apartment.”

Last June Kreis finished a tour of his own music spanning over 300 cities, arrived in Chicago in August and has been on tour playing the part of Jerry Lee Lewis in the musical “Million Dollar Quartet” ever since. Somehow he was also able to squeeze in time to work on his newest solo album, “Where I Belong.” With a successful career as busy as his is, this 28-year-old doesn’t seem to get many breaks now, but it took him many years and experiences to come into his own skin.


Image via Alan Mercer and Terri Johnson for Triple Fire Photography

Kreis was born in the small town of Oliver Springs, Tennessee and says that he practically exited the womb performing music. His family recognized and nurtured his musical talent and by the age of eight, Kreis was performing in church. His parents, Fundamental Baptists, were dedicated to teaching their son about Christianity.

“I whole-heartedly embraced Christianity. It’s always been fascinating to me how sincere as a little boy I was,” said Kreis. He knew then that he wanted to use music to minister to others, and he took this calling seriously throughout his adolescence. Yet, while discovering his love for God and music, Kreis also discovered what would be his biggest spiritual challenge.

“As I discovered my gift for music, I can’t tell my story without saying as an eight-year-old boy, I was having feelings for people of the same sex,” explains Kreis, who was faced with a difficult internal struggle. “I was taught that was an abomination to God. I took that in as truth and began to do everything within my power to fight my homosexuality.” This fight included making a pact with God to spend three hours a day in prayer, asking Him to remove this thorn in his side. Kreis did this for six years, and began attending a new church that offered an Exodus International program for the “healing of the homosexual.”

Since its inception in 1976, Exodus International has been a nonprofit Christian organization that claims to offer a path toward freedom from homosexuality. They organize conferences, speaking engagements, events and have grown to more than 230 ministries in North America. According to statements released on its official website, Exodus International views homosexual tendencies as a disorder, “Choosing to resolve these tendencies through homosexual behavior, taking on a homosexual identity, and involvement in the homosexual lifestyle is considered destructive, as it distorts God’s intent for the individual and is thus sinful.”

The Exodus International program Kreis attended provided Christian counseling to help people struggling with homosexual thoughts better understand themselves. Kreis devoutly delved into weekly programs, support groups and text books that promised to help him “leave” his homosexuality. But his efforts were to no avail, Kreis did not find that he was healed by this program and he began to form his own philosophies reconciling his spirituality with his sexuality.

“It was probably the first year of college where I began to think for myself, which is important for anyone when they begin building a relationship with God,” said Kreis.

Image via Alan Mercer and Terri Johnson for Triple Fire Photography

Image via Alan Mercer and Terri Johnson for Triple Fire Photography

At age 18, Kreis did some theological detective work. After searching through three translations of biblical scripture relating to homosexuality, he chose to adopt new meanings in the verses that addressed these issues. “Bottom line is that I decided that God would bless love and he would bless my love expressed to a same sex partner or opposite sex partner,” explains Kreis.

Kreis’ personal philosophy was influenced by the healing power of Christ as demonstrated in the Bible and through his own experiences. However, he began to see that there was a consistent outcome with his colleagues in Exodus International, “They would have a successful repression of feelings, but not a healing. They weren’t walking away from these programs with a desire to be with a woman, they were suppressing themselves,” said Kreis. “If the power of Christ’s name can heal than I expect to be healed and if my pursuit of this truth had been committed to that healing, then perhaps there is no healing to be had. I had not seen this healing be complete in these situations.”

Although still a devout Christian, Kreis is aware that most would categorize his views as liberal, “I know that in the Christian community there are people who don’t agree with my conclusion and there are people that are set free by it.” Either way, Kreis has no desire to push an agenda or indoctrinate people with messages inundated with his own personal beliefs about religion and sexuality, he’s just happy to be comfortable in his own skin.

This comfort has led him to grow as an artist, allowing him to bring a freedom to his music. The title of his newest album “Where I Belong,” is a statement of confidence that he’s been able to find personally and spiritually.

“I think all the things I have been talking about are of finding a place of acceptance, peace and forgiveness,” Kreis explains. In his opinion, “Where I Belong” is a great departure from his previous album, “The Gospel According to Levi,” which was more confrontational in nature, inspired by challenges he faced in the past. It reminded him that he needed an exercise in forgiveness.

“I started a new journal for forgiveness and walked myself through my life by the understanding that we all do what we know through our limited knowledge and experience. There’s a freedom with that.”


Image via Alan Mercer and Terri Johnson for Triple Fire Photography

It’s evident that Kreis has found a place in his life where he finally feels at home, personally, professionally and spiritually. When asked what advice he has to give to people on a search to find a place where they belong, Kreis paused and said. “I would encourage anyone to know that they are a unique expression of God and that their divine uniqueness is so essential if the world is to see a complete picture of who God is. That’s what I live by.”

Below watch Levi’s newest music video for “Hardly A Hero,” currently #1 on MTV’s LOGO Network.

Follow Levi Kreis on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/LeviKreis

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  • Joan said:

    Um, his PR people must suck because they aren’t promoting him enough

  • jane Savoie Happy Horse said:

    He’s got such a sweet voice, I could listen to him all day long

    I think he will be huge one day

  • Ray Simon said:

    I am a huge fan of Levi’s..he is a great singer and songwriter. I have all of his albums except “The Gospel According to Levi” which I will add to my collection soon.

  • Jaini said:

    Kreis has a great voice! I just Love his music.

    Thanks, Janie from Miami Carnival.

  • Kevin_A said:

    Yes, he could definitely use a lot more PR. With a voice like his, he should be a huge star right now.

    Kevin@Best Broadband Deals

  • Eric M said:

    I think the most important thing he said was “It was probably the first year of college where I began to think for myself.”
    Bingo - if we actually taught that at an early age in government schools I can’t imagine what a different world we would have.

  • Elliptical vs Treadmill said:

    I must agree with Joan’s comments, because it’s almost 2 years later and still very few people know about Levi Kreis. That’s such a pity, because he really has a great voice and a lot of potential. Get some new PR people Levi!

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