I’m so excited to have had the opportunity to interview Luke James, right off the heels of his Grammy nomination for “I Want You,” the release of his second hit single “Make Love To Me,” and his release of his EP Whispers In The Dark. But in the midst of all this excitement and budding success, the beautifully talented singer-songwriter remains humble, honest and true to his roots.

Check out my interview with Luke James below & at the end you’ll find an EXCLUSIVE Director’s Cut video featuring a 3-in-1 package of his 3 major hits: “Love Chile,” “Make Love To Me,” & an alternate version of “I Want You.”

AccompanyKike: When did you first discover your gift for music?
Luke James: Really early on, very young. Around 9 I started singing in church & also played the sax – and things just started to be very easy for me with music. I can’t really remember an exact moment, but I do know I was really young and music just came naturally to me.

AK: How has your New Orleans upbringing influenced you & your music?
Luke: A lot – New Orleans is the jazz mecca of the world and it has blues, folk, hip hop, soul, gospel & so much more. The aura of New Orleans is such a very musical kind of city. It influenced me tremendously just being surrounded by all the different genres of music and the different people.

AK: Explain in your own words what you believe the power of music is?
Luke: Music has the power to change the world – it has the power to change ways of thinking and people’s points of view no matter where they are in life. The definition of music is a universal language. Everyone can harmonize together even if they don’t have the same language or beliefs. Music brings all these different walks of life together. Music can influence in a great, and a bad way – so that’s why you have to be careful how you use it.

AK: How have things changed for you since your Grammy nomination?
Luke: Things have not changed – the only thing that’s changed is the title before my name which is awesome & a blessing and I’m so gracious to the Grammy committee for acknowledging this gift and talent that I’ve been working on so long. It’s an amazing opportunity and I will just ride it out, Lord willing it will turn into a win.

AK: On that note, you seem to be very grounded in your faith, how does that play into your career?
Luke: It keeps me sane & hopeful and just looking ahead. I’m trying my best to live in the moment and just take life as it comes because life is short. I think it’s helped me with accepting things that have gone and happened in the past and that are happening now, and it’s also giving me more understanding for things that I’ve gone through in the past and how they have prepared me for now. It keeps me humble.

AK: What can we expect from your album release in 2013?
Luke: You can just expect MORE. More Luke and more insight into where Luke is in this particular part of his life. It will be very dramatic, very emotional and filled with highs & lows. You’ll see love – how I view love & how I view the world. Hopefully you will see & hear a little bit of growth and relate – you’ll just hear more about me. Just expect GOOD SOLID MUSIC.

AK: If there’s anything you could say to your fans, what would it be?
Luke: I would say: Love is all we need, Love can conquer all. Whatever it is that you want to do – as long as you love it, you can have it. You will prosper if you believe it will happen. Maintain your faith, Surround yourself by like-minded people, Stay in a positive place and dream bigger than big!

2012 in review

Happy New Year to all my loves!! Check out my 2012 year in review and here’s to an even better 2013!!❤❤🙂

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,600 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Asa – “Ba Mi Dele”

One of my favorite Asa songs…glad it’s the new single🙂

New-ish Robin Thicke

Why isn’t this on Spotify or some other easily accessible track list? “Another Life” by Robin Thicke & beautiful return of The Neptunes’ production collab…🙂

Love and War…dot com

Got unexpectedly hooked on a song this week…I suppose I knew that Toni’s whole family can sing but I didn’t realize how good Tamar was until I heard her on this song! It’s kind of been playing on semi-repeat all week. You would think it’s actually Toni singing at the beginning until Tamar starts showing off her range as she BLOWS on this song – especially killing those octave jumps! Check out Tamar Braxton’s latest single “Love and War” below…

yes Luke James YES!

So this post is going to be short, sweet & to the point…I’m officially completely obsessed with Luke James (didn’t think that was EVEN MORE possible after his first pre-album) & his new video, just released. I’ve been listening to it on repeat (literally) ever since I discovered it today. The song is shockingly (although I’m not sure why I’m surprised) good in my opinion, maybe even better than most of the songs on his first pre-album. Meant to be a preview for his second EP Whispers in the Dark which is being released on 12.12.12 (can’t WAIT, that’s also the night I get to see him live in concert!!😀 )

I think the video beautifully brings to life the above painting (“Sugar Shack” by Ernie Barnes – whose art has actually graced quite a few album covers, starting with Marvin Gaye’s I Want You) while cleverly connecting the title of Luke James’s first single to Marvin Gaye’s album with some subtle replacements🙂

When he starts to “sing it again” around 3:23 – 3:50 his dancing & facial expressions suggest that his own song affects him in the same way that it moves me…! And at that little musical transition to the heavier bass line around 3:46…I die.

Check it out Luke James’s new video for “Make Love To Me” below, and I’m sure I will be doing A LOT more coverage of him hopefully very soon🙂

Not Sure What’s Happening to Me…

I had a very strange experience this week. I legitimately BOUGHT an entire album (on iTunes). This literally hasn’t happened to me in years. And even more strange…it was a RIHANNA album. I NEVER thought that would EVER happen in my life.

So here’s the backstory – I went to a SoulCycle class for the first time this week where they were celebrating Rihanna’s album release so all of the music in this particular class was from Rihanna’s new album Unapologetic. I’m thinking it must have been the combination of the awesome dark candlelit ambiance in the class paired with the swaggerific instructor who had us working out really hard on those bikes while GETTING IT to Rihanna’s album. But afterwards, I was hooked…both to SoulCycle (I definitely recommend it! But make sure your pockets are deep enough…) and – almost – to Unapologetic.

So after coming home from SoulCycle, naturally I went to look for the album on Spotify, but it wasn’t there. So I decided to wait a couple days, knowing that albums will sometimes show up on Spotify a few days after they’re released. A few days passed, & still no album on Spotify. At this point, I got so desperate to hear the music & remember my awesome SoulCycle experience, that I went on iTunes & BOUGHT the album. I was actually a little concerned that I would have wasted my money on something that wasn’t really that great but just sounded wonderful at the time because I was loving my SoulCycle experience. But very luckily – and to my surprise – that wasn’t at all the case.

Generally, I’m really not a Rihanna fan. She has a couple songs that I really enjoy, but for the most part, I don’t think she’s talented enough to deserve all the hype she gets. So when I heard this album, I was really SHOCKED at how much I LOVED it. That’s right – LOVED it. And what’s even more surprising is that I actually really enjoy the majority of the songs. This album is almost a straight-through no skipping listener for me. Anyway, here’s my review of my favorite tracks (which again, is most of them – I’m not even including every one that I enjoy just to spare you guys from a never-ending post lol):

  • Phresh Out the Runway” – just a good dance track & strong intro I think! I believe this was also the first song in our SoulCycle class…which def got me really hype lol
  • Diamonds” – welp, didn’t like this one at all when I first heard it outside the context of this album, but I’ve now been sold on this song.
  • Numb” – ok so this one’s sound kinda blew me away when I first heard it…& then I heard Eminem…& he just topped it all off with his reference to their last major hit at 2:25😉. This addictive beat has def been played a lot more than the others.
  • Jump” – another one that blew me away…first I was drawn in by the building intro, then I was loving that cool groovy beat that dropped, then “Pony” snuck in & grabbed me by surprise, and just when I thought I couldn’t handle anymore, that dub-step just came in & closed the deal!! Such a banger to me! (Note: this YouTube version is a little fast-pitched, I couldn’t find one that was exactly the same pitch as the album version but I think the faster pitch is a much better experience than the slower-pitched ones I found…I think they’d probably speed it up for the club anyway🙂 )
  • Right Now” – like so many of these, I could see this being a really successful dance single, especially with David Guetta’s help. (Also a little sped up pitch-wise, but same deal I think this represents the song better than the slower pitch versions)
  • Nobody’s Business” – say what you will about RiRi & Breezy (I personally think they’re doing the most), but I really like this song with Breezy’s tryna-sound-like-MJ self🙂 (Not sure what’s going on with the pitch on these YouTube videos but they don’t really sound that much like Justin Bieber chipmunks on the real version lol)
  • Get It Over With” – actually feeling the lyrics on this emo one.
  • Lost In Paradise” – Another one similar to “Jump” that starts off kind of chill but loving how the energy builds & maintains with that driving beat throughout the rest of the song.
  • Half of Me” – probably so good because it was co-written by Emeli Sande…and it def has Sande written all over it.
  • Diamonds (Gregor Salto Downtempo Remix)” – really just like this version even better than the original, it was the last song in our SoulCycle class & such a great finale!

More broadly, being the music industry junkie nerd that I am, this really made me think about consumer behavior when it comes to buying music. We all know record & album sales have been suffering badly for a while, but I would like to know what Rihanna’s people’s rationale was for not putting her album on Spotify. I didn’t really try very hard to find it elsewhere on the internet, but it just generally seemed less available to me than most albums (correct me if I’m mistaken). But just based on my case study of myself this week (lol), I think that if music is actually good and you make it available to people for free for a limited time (like streaming or even a live listening party) or attach it to some awesomely positive experience (like my SoulCycle class!), it seems like there’s a good chance they’ll buy it to continue listening to it if they have no other easy option…? I mean I know that artists make royalties from Spotify too, but not sure long-term what would be more lucrative for an artist. Just writing stream-of-consciousness here, but I find it all very interesting.

All in all, I guess I’m a RiRi fan (for) now…? Sigh lol