Luke James, AKA Luke Boyd, is a Grammy-nominated songwriter/artist. His work with musical legends spans from Tyrese to Justin Beiber. Today, he’s known for more than his impressive pen game. His small-screen performances on shows like Fox’s ‘STAR’, Showtime’s ‘The Chi‘, and BET’s ‘New Edition Story‘ have proven him an actor. His intrigue for entertainment is pure, and our conversation was just confirmation. Luke James is no stranger to the spotlight. He has been working in the industry for over 10 years. The Lousiana-bred multi-talented creative was built to last in the ever-changing entertainment industry.
Our interview was unlike any others we’ve had in the past. Many would think someone as tenured/decorated as Luke would be much less transparent. To our surprise, he was the complete opposite, which led to one amazing interview. Luke James was extremely honest about his upbringing, journey in music/acting, and his inspirations. In an age where many celebrities are afraid of their skeletons, Luke embraces them. His willingness to be open about his experiences will inspire many individuals to be comfortable in their own skin.
Check out our refreshingly honest conversation to learn why passion is Luke’s secret weapon.
Ahmad Davis: All Your Love & Who You Are both respectfully stand out on an album full of amazing work. Can you speak about how each one came about?
Luke James: All Your Love was something I worked on with my bro Sir Dillon. He invited me to his house, and we just jammed to it. I’m a student of the art and really enjoy Funk and R&B. He gave me something that sounded like that, so the words just came.
Who You Are was something I worked on with Lucky Daye in Miami. Guitar Boy was playing something that felt reminiscent of something from Toni Tony Tone or Bill Withers. Lucky got it started, and it was just something that we could pull from our experiences. We are all three lovers and are equally interested in getting to know the women we care about.
AD: We are alike in the aspect that we were both raised by single mothers. How did that help shape you into the man you are today?
LJ: I learned that I am a lot more empathetic to women than my peers throughout my life. Growing up with that amount of feminine power around you is impactful. There are moments when I was younger that I didn’t understand at first that I do now. I love women differently because I have a deeper respect for women than many in my generation. I’m an avid believer that people need to love, and any opportunity to share that I will.
AD: Many people do not know that you went to school with another amazing singer/songwriter. Did you connect with Frank Ocean at all during your time at St. Augustine?
LJ: I met Frank in L.A. way after high school. In high school, I was in a group, and we were popular in the area. It’s dope to know someone in the industry who knows what it was like back in New Orleans. It’s even better to see where both of our careers have gone knowing where we came from.
AD: You’ve worked with legends like Chris Brown, Justin Beiber, Britney Spears, and even Beyoncé! Can you tell us your most memorable experience during any of those sessions?
LJ: Going on tour with Beyoncé is something that I would never forget. I actually wrote it down in my manifesto to tour the world. I wanted to be able to speak with millions of people. Thankfully, the following year I was able to go on tour with her. Also, watching Chris Brown go from a young kid to now blossoming into the superstar he is now is crazy. I’ve taken something from all of my experiences.
AD: If you had dinner and could only invite 5 musicians whose work you enjoy(DOA) who would those people be & would you say they inspired your sound?
LJ: Marvin Gaye, Prince, BB King, The Inkspots, and Smokey Robinson. They have without a doubt inspired my sound although I draw from a lot others. Just off the top of my brain, they are the most impactful in my art.
AD: Singing is not your only talent, you’ve been in some of the most critically acclaimed shows and films in the last couple of years. What has your time on STAR, The Chi, and the New Edition Story taught you?
LJ: My experience on The Chi has really influenced me to have a desire to learn more in the arts. Acting is a full-on lifestyle commitment. You hope to grow forward in a way. Continuing to advance your skills is the goal. Also, having a life outside of acting is important. You want to stay hungry while also being present in the moment. I’m still learning and I’ve had so many experiences to draw from. The New Edition Story was so uplifting and transformative in my career. I am extremely grateful for these experiences.
AD: Based on your music it’s easy to assume you love hard. As black men, we tend to get teased for being so vulnerable. What about your upbringing prompted you to feel so comfortable singing about your emotions?
LJ: This is a rather personal question to answer. I have always been introverted and as a youth, many thought I was troubled. Spending so much of my youth in therapy taught me to express how I feel. I have learned to channel that differently as I got older. Personally, I have found a way to put that in my heart. Music is the only space I feel safe enough to share my feelings. Creating music is a necessity to me.
AD: If you had to choose between never dropping a song again or never acting again which one would you choose?
LJ: (Dramatic pause) Never dropping a song again. The gift of song is a purpose and something that is God-given. It’s almost selfish to want to hold this extension of God’s consciousness to myself. So I would still create music but my passion for becoming a better actor/performer is strong. I can imagine a part of myself being unhappy if I were to create music.
AD: Is there anything else you’d like to share to end this off?
LJ: I’m here man. There’s so much more to us as people. I’m growing and all I ask is that people give me the stage to show who I can be.
Luke James is here to stay. Being genuine takes you far and Luke is just further proof of that. Follow him on social media and check out his Grammy-nominated album, ‘to feel love/d’ today!