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INTERVIEW: Luke Burr

Hi Luke, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Thanks for having me!

I’ve been great thanks. I’ve just got back from a week in Amsterdam filming some really exciting stuff with Red Bull. I also had some sessions out there and believe I have came back with my next single. So I’m feeling very inspired right now.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Lights On”? Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?

I was actually sitting next to a group of girls in a restaurant discussing how amazing this girl was on Instagram they followed and how jealous they were of her looks! It got me thinking about how so many people rely on ‘likes’ for confidence and see the world through filters. It’s easy to get caught up in a trap of seeing influencers and people you follow looking so ‘perfect’ all the time and comparing yourself.

I want Lights On to give girls confidence. Its me saying “I’m into you most when you’re completely you; I don’t need you to copy anyone else”

Any plans to release a video for the single?

So I shot a video to an acoustic version of the song that I recently posted on YouTube. We shot it in my favourite cafe called Pellici’s in Bethnal Green. I go to it before every West Ham game with my dad and so it was fun to film in there!

How was the recording and writing process?

Me and Dantae Johnson (amazing songwriter) were in the studio with Pantha! (amazing producer) and Pantha just started on this little hip hop beat. I’d told Dante about my encounter at the restaurant the day before and we came up with a few melodies and really got stuck on “better with the lights on”. From that the rest of the song came pretty quickly! Since the first day we’ve chopped and changed the arrangement a little (it did have a little post chorus idea) but the majority of the song is the same. Good friends of mine LDN Noise then helped with the mix and the song was good to go!

What role does the UK play in your music?

I think the UK has so much different music to offer and music fans are really open to anything.

I think in this current climate there really is no set way of breaking as an artist so its great to watch up and coming artists do their thing and be so creative. I feel like the UK artists do that in a ‘real’ way and create content that feels personal to them. That is what gets people to connect. It’s encouraged me to try and have an understanding of every side of being an artist. Whether that be learning how to shoot videos for interesting content or at the moment I’m learning (trying to learn!) how to produce myself. I think UK artists like Stormzy, Ed Sheeran etc have encouraged me to be as self sufficient as possible and not rely on anyone else too much.

UK artists with really fresh ideas such as Mura Masa, NAO, Snakehips etc. really inspire me to try new things sonically.

Also live the UK has been great to me so far. I think as British people we can be a little reserved and so performing to UK crowds is a great test. They won’t dance and shout “woo!” if they think an artist is ‘just ok’. I think they react to what they feel is ‘real’ and something they can connect to. I’ve had some great shows and performing live to UK crowds really has been where my biggest buzz as an artist has came – so thank you UK for giving me some special moments so far… I hope there’s lots more to come!

How Stevie Wonder and George Benson has influence your writing?

I’ve always been connected to soul and amazing vocals for some reason. My dad used to play all the old “Soul Weekender” records in the car and I just developed a love for that music.

Stevie is the greatest that’s ever done it in my opinion. How you can not only have that much musical talent but also have that many hits is mind blowing. Tune after tune after tune! I saw him live at Hyde Park where he performed the Songs In the key of life album in its entirety. WOW! He was on for 3 hours and I still wanted more!

Listening to Stevie, George Benson, Earth Wind & Fire and more from that era has shaped my musical taste and inspired my own writing. I’m really into fresh and new production but I want my songs to have musicianship in there. I want you to feel the soul in the record rather than just sounding like ‘another song’. And vocally those guys have forever inspired me and motivated me to improve! I’m obsessed with voices and there’s no better vocals than in soul and gospel music for me. 

Do you tend to take a different approach when you are collaborating with or writing for someone else rather than in your own?

I used to get caught up on this quite a lot in the studio and become stuck on ‘what was me’ and what ‘wasn’t me’ when writing a song. Now I try to write what feels good. And worry whether the song is for me or anyone else after. The delivery of a song can determine how it sounds or comes across. But a great song is a great song whoever delivers it (as long as they do it justice!) I’ve learned that thinking less about what the purpose of the song is and just writing what feels right at that moment leads to a better song. 

After the success of your previous work – were you any nervous while working on this new material?

There are moments of self doubt. There’s lots of nights where I lay awake thinking if I’m good enough at this songwriting stuff! But then a live gig that goes amazing or a day in the studio with someone new can just completely inspire me and lead to some great ideas. There’s so many ups and downs being an artist and you really do have to ride the wave. I have days where I’m anxious about what my next song will achieve or if my next show will be as good as the last, but that’s what makes this ‘job’ so incredible. You just don’t know what tomorrow will bring. All I can do is work as hard as I can and try to make those stars align.

Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?

It certainly does! It’s going good thanks. As I say, this week in Amsterdam brought some amazing ideas (and I believe my next single!) I have a couple of collaborations dropping this summer and I will release a single of my own this autumn. I’ve found a good set of people that I work well with including producers KZ, Jake Tench (ThirdLife), LongLiveThePlug amongst others and we have created some exciting music together… I’m planning to release an EP at the beginning of next year also. I’m always writing new songs to either release or eventually to put on the album.

Any plans to hit the road?

I have some gigs this summer. A show for bbc introducing, one with Communion. And a few festivals this summer including Stendhal festival in Northern Ireland which I’m excited to do! And then I am doing my own headline show at The Waiting Rooms in September – so keep an eye out for tickets!

What else is happening next in Luke Burr’s world?

So I am flying to Denmark in a few days to vocal for Rudimental at a show which is exciting. I really feel like visiting new parts of the world and seeing how artists work inspires me so much and motivates me to improve.

When I get back from Denmark I have a show for BBC introducing and then a show for Communion Music.

I am also doing a trip next month to LA to work with some new producers and hopefully create some great music! I’m also preparing a new live set with some new songs and fresh ideas with my incredible band – so come down to see me play live!

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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