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Luke James is a jack of all trades. From singing to acting, the Louisiana native is an overall entertainer. With his very first mixtape, #Luke, he earned himself a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Performance for “I Want You.” Six years later, in 2017, he made his debut on the small screen by playing the role of R&B singer Johnny Gill in the The New Edition Story biopic on BET.
But, the star still loves music to the core. Growing up in New Orleans where the sounds are endless, James quickly fell in love with jazz, gospel, and everything in between. Throughout his career, he’s opened for R&B legends such as Tyrese Gibson, and Beyonce even picked him to join her on her “Mrs. Carter World Tour,” as well as her “Run the World (Girls)” music video. His most recent project is also titled to be love/d.
REVOLT TV caught up with James to discuss his music, being from New Orleans, and much more. Check out our sit-down with the star below!
You actually used to go by Luke The Singer. What was Luke like then?
Fresh out of high school in Los Angeles. Singing background. I was 18, singing background for Tyrese. Meeting all these different people... Just ready to do anything. Willing to do everything and sing. Couldn’t stop singing.
What did you learn while singing background for Tyrese?
From Tyrese? Work ethic. How to treat people. Stay ready. When you walk out the door, you have to be on... sometimes. How to perform, how to drain the crowd. He drained the crowd.
How’d he do it?
Just move. Your album is 100% and your performance is 1000%. You have to take it up from there, 1000 more.
Being from New Orleans, were you going to Mardi Gras as a teenager?
Yeah, I used to go to Mardi Gras all the time. Mardi Gras was everything, you couldn’t get out of it.
How does Los Angeles compare?
Los Angeles doesn’t compare, New Orleans is a whole other place. I always tell people if you ever want to go out the country, but not go out the country, go to New Orleans. There’s no other place like New Orleans. Just like other places have their beauty, New Orleans is one of the oldest cities that really has all of its original makings than anywhere.
What are you eating in New Orleans?
Well now because I’m plant-based, I pretty much don’t eat anything. They have vegan options, but it’s a slow grind over there.
You’ve been plant-based for three years. How do you feel?
I feel good, I’m always hungry. It’s good, I feel great. My skin’s great. My energy’s great when I eat. That’s what I’ve gotten from it. I really did it for my mom because she’s getting older, and I want her to eat better and make the right choice. Things that’ll help her stay youthful and what not. I find that meat and all those other things, although they taste good, they really don’t do anything for us but makes things worse as we get older. Things are not the same as they once were back in the day. People are always like, “Yeah well, my grandmother…” Your grandmother’s 100! When she was eating all that, they didn’t have all of these new drugs they throw in things.
What’s your go-to meal?
I love beans. I love rice. I love vegetables. I do a lot of vegetables. It’s just a matter of seasoning. I’m not a cook or anything. I don’t like to cook. But, if you do know how to cook, it’s pretty much an easy lifestyle to jump into. It’s a matter of making it work for you.
Can you talk about going to high school with Frank Ocean?
We weren’t in the same class. We went to the same all-boys school, which is St. Augustine High. I was in a group, we were pretty well-known because we did every talent show. I never had any interaction with Frank in school that I can remember. I met Frank when he came to Los Angeles. All of us are the same, just trying to find our way. From studio to studio, writing songs with this producer. Trying to figure it out and find our way.
Congrats on your new album to feel love/d! How many babies are being made from this?
People might not have babies with this one. They’re all love records, but I don’t know if people are willing to go that deep. I’m speaking of a different type of love that’s deeper than the physical. Babies may come out of it, but I’m hoping that a relationship comes out of it. I’m hoping they’re more connected to themselves and love for one’s own being. Then, eventually, you can love someone else. That’s what this album means for me.
What song is the most meaningful to you?
“Shine On” because “Shine On” is about understanding that God is within. God is within each person that you meet. Those people who are tapped into that idea, when those people are able and willing to shine their light on you, that’s God’s love.
You’ve been in the industry since a young kid. Is there anything you would tell your younger self now?
Ownership is everything. Don’t be so green. Have nothing but fun. Stay present and don’t worry.
Anything else you want to let us know?
“The Chi” is coming out July 5, it’s going down. The album is out, and part two is on its way!