LUKE JAMES – THE INTERVIEW
CREATIVE DIRECTORS: PACO LAMPECINADO AND MARQ
PHOTOGRAPHY: SARAH KJELLEREN
VIDEOGRAPHY: BRYANT NORMAN
HAIR & GROOMING: JERAMI ROBINS
PRODUCTION ASSISTANT: ARIANNA RIVERS
ZINK: After releasing your self-titled debut album, receiving your second consecutive Grammy nomination, and a world tour with Beyonce’… many would say you’re definitely a one to watch! How does it feel to not only be embraced by your fans but your fellow music peers?
LUKE: I think it’s cool. REALLY cool… To be admired by the very people that you admire and respect is such an awesome feeling and accomplishment. It’s the ultimate co-sign. And like many, I grew up watching the Grammy’s Awards every year and would be glued to the TV. Just soaking it all in! Then to one day have my name mentioned not only in the same sentence, but as an actual nominee… I gotta tell you, there’s no better feeling … Except winning one – of course… LOL. So, my dream isn’t quite yet done! But where I am right now, it feels pretty damn good…
Would you say things are different now that people are familiar with your face? Can you still do normal things like ride NYC trains without having swarms of girls on your neck… or do you need like special security now??
Things have changed. Not like Michael Jackson or The Beatles status…LOL, but I’ve been on the subway or walking down the street in NYC and people have come up and say things or ask to take a picture. It can be kinda awkward and kinda cool at the same time. One time I was riding my skateboard in Harlem and flew past this couple chillin’ on the stoop, and the guy chased me for about 2 blocks. When I finally stopped, he’s all out of breath and tells me that his girl is a big fan, it’s her birthday, and meeting me would be the best gift he could give her. So I did it… I don’t ever want to get to a point when I can’t even walk out the house. Especially in a city like New York, where there is just so much energy and I love to be outdoors. But I am becoming a lot more cautious, because you never know a stranger’s intention when they walk up on you. That human instinct kicks in for just a second, so you have to be aware at all times.
Speaking of riding trains with girls, back in November Jessie J posted a snap of you two riding the trains of Harlem and fans wondered… are they? Aren’t they? Now that the London songstress has publicly professed how madly in love she is – even going as far as to say she wants you as her future hubby… can fans expect an epic music collab in the future?! #Lussie
Lussie??? That’s funny…LOL. But we’ll maybe do something when the mood is right.
It must be hard living a public life and then being in a relationship with someone else who is also public. What made you guys decide to come out instead of keeping it on the low like so many others?
Well, we’re just living our lives like everyone else. People celebrate their love ones and share things on social media. Why can’t we?
What would you say has been the most challenging thing of your career thus far? Any regrets?
I have no regrets. None at all… But there are always challenges. My biggest is to not worry. And to not over-think something. As an artist, you just want to create – sing, write, perform, act, dance – whatever your passion is. That’s all… But when it becomes a business, that all changes. And the thing that you’ve created out of pureness and love, is now being picked apart, scrutinized and looked at from a totally different angle. It can be a bit of a tug-of-war, so as much as I want to “just create” I have to be mindful of the stakes… the money spent, what it can potentially mean to the world, to my fans, the label, management… Hell, even what will my mother think of it? So, it becomes bigger than just my art. And that shit can be scary. So, I try my best not to worry about it.
Ok, let’s talk about your fashion sense for a bit. What defines you and your style? Any favorite brands or style influences?
I like dark colors. You can never go wrong with black. Or white, or off- white. It just always works no matter the occasion. It can be as simple as black jeans, white t-shirt, and black leather jacket. Or a tailored black suit. It’s just so simple, sleek, and masculine, but the statement is strong. That’s the basis of my fashion sense. As for brands, I really like Chapter and Acne Studios.
Switching back to the music. You’re literally the one holding the torch for authentic sounding R&B. Do you feel there is a pressure staying true to who you are and your sound while still being able to turn out a top 10 hit?
Well, you just put the pressure on me with that statement…LOL! Thank you! LOL. But all jokes aside, the world is big. And right now there are a lot of people who like what I do. And some that don’t and may never. But I can only do what God allows me to do. What’s in me… If it becomes a top 10 hit then damn, yes! I did it! But if I’m not blessed to have that happen, I still find comfort in doing something that I love and what I believe I was born to do. Don’t get me wrong, a number 1 hit, tons of Grammys and all the accolades is the ultimate reward – but the business is ever changing and you can drive yourself crazy trying to keep up with what’s hot today and what’s not hot tomorrow. But at the end of it all, when my time is done, I want to be able to rest with knowing that I did something that meant something to someone…
What’s next for Luke James? A new single? Your own tour? Another album?
All of the above. I’m in it to win it! Catching one heart at a time. Stay tuned!!!
Before we let you go. Newer fans probably don’t know that you were once in a boy group or that you have been the pen to hit songs for artists like Chris Brown, Justin Beiber, and Britney Spears! Is there anything you personally want the world to know about you that we already don’t know?
I believe there is so much more to all of us than what people see. All of our stories are still being written. Day by day. So, there is not anything specific that I want the world to know about me other than I will continue to grown and expand as an artist and as a man…