Luke James, the sexy New Orleans, LA native who’s been influenced by soulful acts such as Prince, Marvin Gaye and Donny Hathaway, drops his pre-album #LUKE today, December 22.
We’re excited to bring you Luke’s new music, and, in honor of his big day, GG’s Jasmine Joseph sat down with the R&B crooner to discuss his new tracks as well as what else he’s got in store for us in the near future.
Check out our interview below, and make sure to download his brand new pre-album #LUKEhere.
Global Grind: You recently performed at the Highline Ballroom here in NY. How was that?
Luke James: That was solid. It was a beautiful experience. The crowd was very stiff in the beginning. Rightfully so, they didn’t know who I was. They had no incentive to move. So it was kinda tough. I don’t know if you ever saw the Five Heartbeats, but I felt like I had to do like they did. After the first tune, they were into it.
Tell me about “Made To Love.”
That is the title of my album. It is also a song. Basically it’s me finding myself as a man and understanding myself in this world and how I view myself in the world and love. Just coming to the conclusion of what my purpose is on this earth…what all our purpose is.
You’re an amazing songwriter. Are you writing all the songs on “Made To Love”?
Thank you. I’m co-writing. They’re all written by me but I have a lot of co writers. It’s all about the music for me. I like to have a different perspective.
Tell me about your pre album #LUKE.
It’s basically to give people an insight of what I’ve been doing. A lot of people think that I’m just a soul singer, like strictly R&B. it can be classified as R&B, but I like to think of it as just music because I feel like if I hear something country and it moves me, I’m gonna do it. I’m just a student of the arts. So the pre album is the trailer to the album, a cool introduction to what it is, and all the things I plan on bringing to the table.
I saw you in Beyonce’s “Run The World” video, which is major. Any plans to work with her in the future?
Hopefully later on down the line after she has the young one. She’s in my corner along with the other sisters. I’m looking forward to doing some things with them.
I saw you and Kelly Rowland on stage. That was hot!
That was really impromptu. I got to London and that was what I had to do and I was like “Yes! Of course!”
Which influences your music more? Being born in New Orleans or living in California now?
I would say everywhere. New Orleans mostly. I was introduced to music — jazz, gospel, the blues, bounce music, hip hop – I was influenced by my surroundings. And my mother, she really nurtured my ear as far as teaching me what music is, what soul is…I learned a lot. She forced me to go to church. Instead of staying home watching cartoons I was in church and in the choir. I learned how to touch people and how to sing.
Who are your musical inspirations?
It may be cliché, but the old school cats like Marvin Gaye. I learned how to be vulnerable and open myself up to different things and using my voice in any way possible and lyrically and how to be vulnerable to come out with something truthful and honest. I feel like if you can get that, then that’s what touches people more, rather than trying to come up with something or a concept that has never happened to you.
“Love” is a key factor in your songs. Is there a special someone that these songs are about?
Yeah…I mean I’ve been living, so I’ve just taken my experiences and close friends’ experiences and just tapped into that. That’s basically what you’re hearing. It’s my growth as a young man, just figuring this whole love thing.
You’ve already worked with a lot of music’s greats. Who was your favorite artist to work with so far?
You’re gonna trip out, but I had a chance to sit down and write a song or two with Michael Bolton. that’s so amazing, besides the fact that it’s Michael Bolton, is when I was young, I used to mimic him. i used to mimic a lot of big voices and he was one of them. I sang that around the house until my aunty got on me to find my own sound. I was really young, so it was quite amazing to have the shot to work with him and sit down and talk with him…just learn different things and his coming up, how long it took him, how he started writing, and how he was an artist first. It was just a dope experience.
Who do you want to work with in the future that you haven’t worked with yet?
I got a lot of cats that I dig like Miguel, Frank Ocean, Kevin Cossom,…just a lot of artists that I really respect musically and what they do. I would love to just do something with them. D’Angelo…I would love to do something with him. I just got on to this mixtape by Bridget Kelly. I really love her style, her voice is kind of amazing. I did a duet with Estelle, that right there was already one of my dreams.
Since the year is ending, what was your favorite part of this year?
Moving to New York. I went to New York for a month and it’s a really great place. I love it, I love the culture, I love the freedom, I love the fact that I can walk outside and fall into something.
How did you team up with Frank Gatson?
I was in a trio called Upskale. We did a lot of talent shows in New Orleans and bar mitzvahs and baby showers. After a particular gig, we were riding down Canal Street to a famous theater and Brian McKnight was featuring Tyrese. We just decided to do the whole Boyz II Men thing and stand at the exit of the back stage and start singing, hoping that somebody would notice us. Frank was in a limo that was actually on the street and that’s how we met him. We sang for him, we graduated, moved to California, sang backup for Tyrese, and that’s how that happened.
I know you’re on this Who Is Luke James movement. So in your own words, who is Luke James?
I’m hot. I’m cold. I’m happy. I’m sad. I’m fearless, I’m fearful. Luke James….I don’t know. I’m forever changing and growing. I’m still finding myself, but I wanted to say that I became a very “lovefull” individual who won’t take no for an answer. And I’m here to conquer my dreams and my fears.
What’s next on your horizon?
Hopefully, just to perform. I’m running a campaign. I’m running for president so I wanna go everywhere, perform everywhere, touch as many people as I can and just make people believers in who I am and what I have to offer. As big as me singing, a lot or people are like, “He can sing. He’s really singing” and it’s great. I want that kind of accolade but I want to inspire people. I want people to push harder for their dreams. I’ve been pushing for a minute, so I’m not gonna stop now. I just wanna be what all the greats were to me, people before me that influenced me to do what I do and do what I love, I want to do that for someone else. That’s the goal right now: to perform and let my light shine.
Anything else you wanna say to your fans and the Global Grind readers?
I love yall. Thank you so much. I am so grateful for this opportunity. I won’t let you down!