Nominated for a Grammy? Check. Open for Beyonce? Check. Make great R&B music? Check. Showoff those soothing, melting high notes? Check. R&B crooner Luke James definitely makes music from the heart, something we desperately need in today’s music. Editor-in-Chief caught up with Issue 4 Cover star, Luke James.
Michael Ashford: It’s so refreshing to have an artist such as yourself making music. Who and what inspires your music?
Luke James: Thank you. I get inspired by life. Just living. And all the highs and all the lows that come with it. It’s the best source of inspiration. It’s that simple.
Michael: What are your fondest musical memories?
Luke: I have so many, since music has always been a part of my life. And it’s been like the brother or sister I never had growing up since I’m an only child. But one of my fondest memories is my first time singing in high school. I mean REALLY singing. And knowing what I was doing. Then seeing everyone respond and react to my singing the very way that I thought they would. It was great!!!
Michael: You also write great music. As an artist, you get to tell your story. What is the most difficult song out of all of your music for you to perform?
Luke: Well… none of the songs are ever really that difficult to sing. Unless I’m sick or something and have to hit certain notes. Then I have to find ways to improvise. But for me performing comes from the heart. And even if it’s an emotional song, or a sad song, or whatever, I just go through the feeling and let it take me there. It’s kinda therapy. What starts out seemingly difficult at first leaves you feeling good in the end…
Michael: You’re a great live performer. I’m sure it takes lots of practice. Do you ever get nervous before performing? What do you do to prepare for performing?
Luke: Hell yes I get nervous! Every time. But that fear turns to motivation. So, in preparation, I just focus… focus on that fear and acknowledge it and then I go out there, full throttle, and go for it! And leave it all on the stage! It’s like a fight. You know you are about to go to blows, so you just zone out and go for it! When it’s all over, the guy is laying on the ground – out cold! LOL
Michael: How do you handle mistakes during a performance? Anything embarrassing while performing ever happen?
Luke: Oh yeah…(laughs) I’ve sung the wrong words to one of my songs. My own damn song that I wrote! How embarrassing is that?!!!! (laughs). I’ve also tripped on stage. When that happens you just play it cool and keep going. Stay in the moment. But those damn camera phones… (laughs)! They can get you and next thing you know you’re all over YouTube! But it’s all good. I’m Luke James. I sing. And I might sing the wrong word. Or I might trip over my own feet, but I’m gonna give you the best fucking performance that I can!
Michael: I’m sure you have talked about this a lot but this is still a HUGE deal. You opened for Beyonce! What was that experience like? Did you learn anything from her?
Luke: Hail to the Queen! I will always be thankful to her for looking out for me and taking me on that great ride called The Mrs. Carter Show. It was everything. It was fun, it was exciting, it was stressful, it was the real deal! I learned how to stand my ground as an artist and stand in my truth as a performer. I learned how to be fearless and to be gracious and to give the audience exactly what they came for. Granted, many of them – shit, a whole lot of them, had never heard of Luke James. They’re there for the Queen B. So, for her to give me her stage and give me the opportunity to introduce myself to her fans and show them what I’m about… that’s the ultimate co-sign. And I owed it to her to get out on that stage every night and give it to them 150 percent. So that she would know that she made the right choice in selecting me to open for her.
Michael: Doing what you do, you get to travel all around the world and see new places. What do you enjoy exploring the most while you travel?
Luke: Learning the different cultures. Different ways of living. Seeing what people are attracted to and moved by musically. What gets them going. You never know what you might learn from someone who looks nothing like you, who speaks a different language, and lives a totally different life than you. I like to see that. And absorb that… And ,of course, the food!
Michael: With a grueling schedule, how do you balance music with your other obligations? Any advice for long distance relationships?
Luke: Be friends… first and always. If the person lives only a block away or a whole continent away. Friends. Friends. Friends. I can’t stress that enough. As for the distance…you just adapt. Michael: We’ve seen several pictures of you and Jessie J on social media. Some celebrities shy away from using social media for PDA. Does it provide a sense of normalcy for your relationship?
Michael: You’ve also done some modeling as well. Are there any particular styles or clothes she likes you to wear? What are your closet must-haves?
Luke: A badass vintage leather jacket. A white T, a good pair of jeans, and a fine black suit – tailored to fit! EVERY man’s closet must-haves.
Michael: What do you love most about modeling and fashion?
Luke: I love clothes and different styles. Creating different moods and feelings and bringing it all to the camera. It’s fun!
Michael: What do you during down time?
Luke: Listen to music. Skateboard. And enjoy life outside of show business. Friends, family
Michael: What’s next for Luke James
Luke: Two words… Stay Tuned!