Category Archives: Interviews

LUKE JAMES INTERVIEW: On Love & Music

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!

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John Macpherson

Ah, the power of technology 🙂 I came across this 19 year old singer / songwriter from Ontario, Canada on Twitter (please go follow me @accompanykike! and him @johnmacmusic) and liked what I heard so I’m glad that I was able to get an interview with him! This is my second artist interview but what’s even more exciting is that it’s my first ever video interview – and also his first blog feature! Meet John Macpherson below, and as an extra special treat check out the exclusive release of his brand new song “The Faster I Fall” (my FAVORITE of his) just for us – before it’s even recorded yet! Having already built quite a following for himself in Canada, I’m definitely sensing that we have a potential teen heartthrob on our hands 🙂

Again, I want to reinforce the power of technology here & reiterate that I met John Macpherson on Twitter. So if you’re an up & coming artist trying to get some more exposure, please follow me on Twitter @accompanykike & I would love to feature you too if I like what I hear!

Well that’s John Macpherson for you! Take a listen to his recorded singles below as well as the interview transcript if you weren’t able to watch it above, and be sure to check back for his forthcoming EP! (Note to John: Please record “The Faster I Fall” ASAP so I can put it on my ipod!! lol)

Kike: For those who are just being introduced to you, how would you describe yourself & your music?
John: I’d say it draws from a wide variety of influences but I think it’s something very human & real, something people can relate to. I’m not talking about the club or throwing my hands in the air because life isn’t like that. I know what I want to hear in music and I think some people want to latch onto those things that are real and human that you can understand.

Kike: What makes your music different from the music that’s currently out there?
John: I think anything that’s from my perspective, like if you write your own songs and sing them, they’re going to be different because it’s just your way of seeing the world. You see a situation in a different way than another songwriter would see it and it’s just your lens that you look through.

Kike: When did you discover you had a talent for singing & songwriting, and how long have you been doing so?
John: Well, actually I was around 10 years old and it’s kind of embarrassing but I was always inspired by boy bands at a young age, like I just wanted to be up on stage. I loved microphones and always liked the technology so I wanted to just sing in a microphone. But I actually started off kind of rough – I mumbled, I couldn’t really sing – I wasn’t one of those kids who was amazing at 10 but I just worked at it & got a guitar & tried to write my songs ever since I could play a few chords & that’s been about it.

Kike: Do you remember the first song you ever sang?
John: I think the first song I ever sang that I can remember publicly was “Time of Your Life” by Green Day. It was at a graduation & I was about 12 years old. Back then I was probably just so excited that they let me up on stage – when you’re young you don’t really have those self-conscious things as much, it’s funny.

Kike: Who are your musical influences?
John: Modern day I’m really into good singer / songwriters like Ed Sheeran – I know he’s a big one I’ve been listening to lately for contemporary, he’s really good. There’s always the classics like Bob Dylan & The Doors were always my favorite band. And then guys like John Mayer for more current. So I kind of like a mix of everything, just whatever’s good writing. And even dance music, I don’t mind deadmau5 stuff like that, underground dubstep stuff, I’m pretty much open to anything as long as it’s good.

Kike: Since you’re so young, are you currently pursuing music full-time, or are you also in school?
John: Right now I’ve just been working and recording but I’m looking into a few things like school & other things to keep my options open to a few paths but still including music in everything.

Kike: What projects are you currently working on? I know you’ve already put out a few singles, but do you have any plans to release an EP or debut album soon?
John: Yeah, right now I’ve started on an EP & it’s kind of exciting. I like the songs I’ve written for it and it’s kind of cool – it’s a bit of finding myself & my direction. It’s really acoustic based & really raw & real, just to hear my voice & hear my songwriting with not too much flash – just real up close & personal.

Kike: Have you had the chance to perform live in Ontario yet?
John: Yeah definitely, I’ve done quite a few when I was younger like random coffee shops & events & getting up at shows and putting on shows, opening for people, playing small festivals, things like that. Even musical theater, just any way to get up on stage – so I’ve had a bit of experience with that.

Kike: What’s your favorite part about performing for a live audience?
John: I just like the unexpected nature – like anything can happen. People can yell something out, people make requests, you just come up with things on the fly & that’s really fun. Instead of just freezing up, it’s really fun to just roll with it & see where it goes. You never know what’s going to happen – the sound could cut out, something could happen but just rolling with it and just having that energy with people and that feedback.

Kike: If you could perform anywhere in the world, where would it be?
John: First of all, I’d probably say Toronto at the SkyDome because it’s close to my hometown, it’s like the big city in Canada so it’d be awesome to play a sold out show there.

Kike: If you could open for anybody in the world, who would it be?
John: That’s such a tough question – I think probably a Taylor Swift tour would be cool because she’s cute & she has a good audience there. That’d be awesome, I think that would be fun.

Kike: Who do you want your music to reach?
John: I’ve always said this, I just want it to reach whoever needs it and whoever can use it. It doesn’t matter how big or small your following is – if you write something that can reach somebody & they say “You wrote my story” or “Your song is the exact experience I went through,” I think that’s the cool part. Even if it reaches one person, that just makes me happy to have that. Maybe you don’t know why you wrote a certain song or the reason behind it, but maybe the reason was to reach them & that’s kind of a cool thing when you can write your own story but also write other people’s stories in a way they may have not been able to express. It’s always cool if you can soundtrack a moment. I’ve always found music so much better in context – you hear a song on the radio & you might not like it at first, but then it plays at a certain moment & you’re like, “Oh, I get it now, it just fits.” It fits your life in a way, so that’s what I’d like to do for people.

Kike: Who’s the one person you would love to hear your music? This can be a famous person but doesn’t have to be.
John: Honestly, somebody going through a hard time, like I said, people who need it. But it’d be pretty cool if Neil Young or Bob Dylan or [now deceased] Elliott Smith & Jeff Buckley – singer / songwriters that I really love – it’d be really cool to write with them or to have them hear it. Pretty much my idols, but everyday people too, that would mean the same to me.

Kike: Is there anything else you’d like to tell the world about yourself?
John: I’m a Virgo, currently single, vegetarian for a little while now. Check out youtube.com/johnmacmusic to see some videos – I don’t know, I’m just a quiet kind of guy I guess. I use music to say intricate things or what’s on my mind but I’m just pretty quiet & easygoing.

A Must for Your ♥-Day Playlist :)

Whether you’re single & showing yourself some extra love today or spending it with that special someone, this artist is a MUST for your Valentine’s Day playlist. I’m so excited to present my first-ever artist interview, just in time for the day of Love! All the way from Milan, Italy – meet Luca Dimoon, and check out his really good stuff afterwards 😀

Kike: How/when did you decide to fully commit to pursuing music?
Luca: at the age of 19, when I realized how I loved performing and making music, I understood how it was making me feel intensely alive.

Kike: What’s your songwriting process like?
Luca: I have different approaches…I could start from an idea, a concept, a topic expressed through lyrics, which later I develop through a chord progression on the piano, or on the guitar, or maybe a beat…in other cases I start from building a groove, then I come up with some lyrics, and finally a melody.. 

Kike: What moves you musically? (Both instrumentally & lyrically)
Luca: Everything where I can sense poetry, integrity, every sound or word that feels authentic, soulful…from the sounds of Miles Davis, John Coltrane…to the lyrics of Lauryn Hill..

Kike: Who do you want your music to touch?
Luca: as many people as possible..

Kike: What’s it like to be an R&B/Soul artist in Italy? Is that type of music well-received there?
Luca: it’s like speaking Chinese in Africa…hehe…unfortunately, Italy does not have a solid R&B/Soul reality, in fact there are no other musicians doin what I do here in Italy, so I get to interact only with jazz musicians as they are closer to my idea of music.. 

Kike: Are there any other R&B/Soul artists in Italy that you’ve worked with that we should know about?
Luca: as I mentioned, when I’m in Italy I get to collaborate mostly with great jazz musicians, such as Pepe and Pancho Ragonese..

Kike: Any additional suggestions for other musicians/artists I should listen to/be aware of that are up & coming?
Luca: James Blake

Kike: What songs are on your “Recently Played” playlist?
Luca: I mostly listen whole albums, lately I’ve been listening to “Water Babies” by Miles Davis, “You Must Believe In Spring” by Bill Evans, “Kamaal The Abstract” by Q-Tip, “James Blake” by James Blake, “Lewis II” by Lewis Taylor..

Kike: What’s the most exciting thing you’ve done in the last 6 months? (doesn’t have to be music related)
Luca: this last month, I’ve been in Paris for a few weeks, experiencing magical life adventures…absorbing intriguing vibes from the city, meeting beautiful people

Kike: What are the 3 things you want people to know about you?
Luca: that I’m deeply grateful for their consideration and support. that I live in the moment, improvising my moves every day. that I came to this planet in peace…heheh 

Kike: And the ladies wanna know, are you single?
Luca: yes ladies…I’m single..    

Many many thanks to Luca for making time to answer my interview questions while playing shows on the road! And now, for the good stuff 😀

My first introduction to him – a wonderful cover of the classic song by The Stylistics (all instruments, production & mixing by himself!)

Live/Acoustic version of the same song…proof of his true talent 🙂

And finally, a video medley of original songs from his forthcoming album “Telescope”

Needless to say, I REALLY hope I get the chance to see him perform live. But until then, I’ll definitely continue to enjoy his beautiful music so fitting for Valentine’s Day 😀