Luke James Digital Covershoot and Interview for FAULT Magazine

Luke James X FAULT Magazine

Photography: Ash Danielsen

Styling by Becky Thompson

Grooming by Juanita Lyon

Produced by Love Artists Agency @loveartistsagency

 

Interview: Miles Holder

 

Whether you know Luke James from his music, his movie projects or from seeing him on television, you’ll know that he throws himself into every performance. Despite his music touching the hearts of many across the globe, there was a 6-year gap between his self-titled debut album and this year’s To Feel Love/d. In his own words, he fell out of love with music and needed time to recapture what made it so special.

With the release of his latest album still resonating, we sat down with Luke to discuss his process, his climb and of course, his FAULTs.

 

Everything about your music seems so thought through and deliberate and I wondered if you’re an artist who always knows when a track is finished or if you second guess every decision in the lead up to a release?

Luke James: Before the project, I was waiting for the spirit to hit me because I lived with the music for quite a long time before putting this album out. I had just been searching for an identity, feeling and the words to truly express my state of mind, feelings and spirit. Plus I had fallen out of love with music so I had to take a second away in order to get back.

Now that I know what I want and how I want to feel, I don’t do too much overthinking. I just get locked into the feeling and spirit if that moves me then, then that’s all I need as of right now since the album was dropped.

What is that feeling like, when you’re under pressure from all sides to release material because your fans love it but not being fully prepared as an artist to do so?

Luke James: I guess it’s humbling. I’m grateful 100%. I have gratitude towards the notion to have fans who are hungry for what I have to offer. I’m a person miles that is pretty much honest and I’ve done enough faking the feeling and music to just appease people. I am at a place now that I can’t create on purpose. I can’t write songs on purpose. That has to be, it has to be motivated. I have to live life. I have to have experiences and have something to say.

This probably doesn’t make the best artists in the sense of commercialism or making money so it can be a bit daunting. You don’t want to lose those fans but then at the same time, I have a bigger calling for what I do. But I know whomever it reaches, it will be right on time.

 

With being so honest in your music, do you ever fear the consequences of being so vulnerable?

Luke James: I don’t think I’m a religious person, but I’d say that’s the cross that all true artists would have to bear. You have to be as honest as possible and be in the moment in hopes that it’ll move people.

Once the music is out is that it’s not for me and it’s not about me – it’s for the people. I’m grateful for them giving it a listen to even have an opinion be it good or bad.

You’ve shown mountains of growth in the last decade of your career, if you could go back to 2010 and leave yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

Luke James: “F*ck everybody. Do exactly what you’re feeling. Do it all, open up and work with other people. Become a student of the arts, learn everything, f*ck all the partying and just stick to the art.” Put it out, express yourself, f*ck the labels for their money, for their advice, for their opinions. They don’t know you and the worst they can do to drop you. Don’t be afraid.

 

People are forever debating the death, resurgence and everything in-between about RnB and rather than answering the age-old question, I wondered if as an RnB artist, the fact that this is always debated annoys you?

Luke James: That’s funny you say that I always often wonder when I’ve asked that question, what are people really asking? I hear people say that all the time, but what are Bruno Mars, Justin Bieber, Sam Smith and Drake doing? All of their music has melodic rhythm and blues in it because that’s the reason you feel it. There are a rhythm and blues to every piece of music that is out.

Are they asking, why there aren’t many black people out there who really can sing in the mainstream? If you go on Spotify there are a plethora of people doing all types of their version of rhythm and blues, is it in the mainstream, no, because we know how the world is.

Me being a person who’s been doing music for as long as I’ve been living it’s just a loaded question and I think it’s a deeper conversation than people are willing to go on.

What was the most the biggest hurdle you had to climb?

Luke James: Killing the person within me that has all the fear, anxiety and doubts and all of that kind of stuff. Everyone deserves what they work hard for and I think learning that has been my biggest hurdle. It’s a constant battle that one must take when in order to truly express themselves.

If you suddenly woke up on stage and has to perform a cover of somebody else’s of track and kill it, what song would you pick?

I guess, Stay With Me. I like to perform Stay With Me because it’s a good song and it makes people think of one another when they hear it. It’s a brilliant record, I love Sam Smith. They wrote a brilliant song and as an artist, that’s what you want to happen. You want to move people and that’s a song that brings people together.

 

What is your FAULT?

Luke James: I don’t like to work. By which I mean having a strict schedule of “have to-dos”. You sign a contract and HAVE to show up and it’s hard because I do that all the time. People always perceive that I’m a hard worker, which I am, but I don’t like being one.
I prefer sleeping, laying on the couch, watching TV, creating music or reading a book. I can’t make money just doing that, but oh God am I working on it.