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!
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…
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 🙂
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.
Late on this I know, but I just want this guy to be on my record. Actually read a post about him a little while ago but didn’t take the time to listen to him until just recently. So glad I did, & was honestly (pleasantly) surprised by what I heard 🙂 His voice to me is like an awesome mashup of Eric Hutchinson & Marc Broussard with some of Gavin DeGraw’s beautiful musical style…the boy can SANG!
His latest album is below, along with my favorites / recommendations (it’s kind of most of the album but whatever lol):
Really quick post on this, the teenage girl in me heard this guy & was curious enough to continue listening and I think he’s onto something. Took a listen to his EP (you’ll find below) but also wanted to check out some YouTube clips to see what he sounds like live. Actually not bad in my opinion! My favorite videos are below:
“Heartless / Ain’t No Sunshine” – Kanye West / Bill Withers – I like this mashup! Glad to hear he’s not tone deaf & corrected himself at 0:26
“I Won’t Give Up” – Jason Mraz – just a side note I really like the minor key that guitarist brings in near the beginning
“Valerie” – Amy Winehouse – piano’s too loud on this one but I still think it’s really cute
“Nobody Like You” – Ryan Beatty original – not sure why he didn’t include this on his EP too…I like it better than all the songs on it
And apparently Justin Bieber covered his song “Every Little Thing”
So he clearly sounds eerily (some would say exactly?) like The Biebs so it’ll be interesting to see how he distinguishes himself. In my opinion I think this kid can pull of the acoustic / bluesy (a la Jason Mraz / John Mayer) feel more than Justin’s poppier vibe (his voice is already a little deeper than I believe Justin’s was at this age), but I guess that will stand to be seen! Check out his EP by clicking on the image below (disclaimer: EP is much poppier than videos above)…