I recently stopped by the studio of up-and-coming recording artist, Luke Christopher, to chop it up about the different projects he had brewing. When I walked in, he was mid-meeting with one of Hip-Hop’s most prominent DJ/producers, busy politicking about some unannounced collaborations on the down low. But from the jump, the good vibes were infectious. The young hit-maker spoke about his music with a fire in his eyes, and when it was my time to chat with him, I understood why.
The Los Angeles native has so much to look forward to in the near future: a position locked in to begin a West Coast tour with Juicy J, an independently released mixtape in the works, and his official debut album dropping soon after that.
The 21-year old artist from the 818 told me, musically, he likes to do it all–sing, write, rap, and produce on all of his tracks. That being as impressive as it is, I reckon that it’ll be Luke’s uncanny ability to write those almost ridiculously catchy hooks which b-line’s his tracks straight to the radio airwaves. (Seriously though, we dare you to listen to Luke’s “Heartbreak Fiction,” without getting that melody stuck in your head.)
Taking a page from Yeezy’s “Good Friday’s,” he promised his fan base—officially dubbed the #TMRWGANG—a new song every Tuesday leading up to his debut album. Below are just a few select “#TMRWGANG Tuesday” joints you might try out for size.
Listen: “Life Jackets”
Listen: “Champagne Rain”
After a quick listening session of some unreleased cuts, Luke and I got to talking about his musical direction, artistic lane and personal growth. Peep the interview below:
Let’s start by taking it back to your first mixtape, the Wonder Years Pt. 1. From then until now, what’s changed?
“I think a lot, to be honest. I think I’m at that age where I’m growing every month. Like I’ll come back with a different hairstyle every month! But not just that, I also understand more of just the business side of it. I mean, I’ve always understood the music side of it. But just with the past couple of weeks, going out to radio stations and interviews, it’s cool to see what it’s like to be in that world and how you have balance that with the creativity of making songs. Cause people only give a s**t about the songs. So it’s like how do you get it to the people by doing all this industry stuff, and still live our life? “
You definitely possess the qualities of what we refer to in journalism as a “one-man-band”—this person does it all! The moniker definitely fits you, cause you are actually producing ALL of your own stuff.
“Yea, I produce all of my stuff. I honestly kinda started by accident. I would do it all underneath my bunk bed as a kid. So, I didn’t really ever think about, ‘Oh, I’m producing right now’, or how I was writing right now. I just kinda made songs. It’s got all of these names now, but it was just making music when I was doing it.”
If you had to choose between rapping and singing, could you?
“You know, I don’t think so. It just depends, honestly. Some days, I’ll be like, yo, I just wanna spit all day. But some days, I just wanna go in and put a hook down, and sing something for the ladies—something sexy. I never go in saying ‘I gotta do this.’ It is usually just whatever I feel.”
I gotta compare you to Drake on this one! Y’all both write for the ladies, man!
“Yea, no doubt. I think it’s much more fun writing for girls, cause it’s harder writing for girls. You kinda have to get into their mind, cause they pay attention to the words you use. So, it’s kinda cool to try to guess what they wanna hear—not in a manipulative kinda way. It’s just good practice.”
I wanna talk about your fans, the #TMRWGANG. You can’t leave the hashtag out!
“Yea, man, you can’t leave that hashtag out. It’s 2014, you gotta have it!”
Who came up with that? You or the fans?
“I did. It’s basically a movement, and my fans just kinda took it on for themselves. It’s not just for kids or artistic people, it’s just about who you are as opposed to where you’re from or what you look like. It’s just about being the best you you can be.”
And what can the #TMRWGANG expect to hear in that official album?
“Umm, it’s gunna be my sound but it’s going to be on a big scale. I think the songs are going to just be larger in the melody sense. You know, cause we are trying to reach the whole world. It’s still coming from me; no one else is going to produce or write on it. SO naturally, I don’t want it to be in a little pocket of music. I want it to actually go! So definitiely expect the sound, just on an international scale, I guess.”
Soooo, can you give us a title or maybe a date?
“We don’t even know really. I think it’s just gunna come. But, nice try!”
Had to ask! But you are dropping a mixtape prior to your official album release! Tell me about that.
“Yea, the album is in the works. But we wanna drop the mixtape ‘TMRW TMRW 2’ before the album comes out so that the underground gets this whole thing, while the commercial and the radio get like the videos and s**t.”
Switching gears a little bit, I’ve always wondered why Ye dropped “Good Friday” releases. I always thought it was because he just had too much good good to fit onto an album. Is that why you released the “#TMRWGANG Tuesday” joints?
“Honestly, kinda yea. It was like, yo, these songs are great, but they aren’t as great as the songs on the album. So, what do we do with them? Cause they’re not going to make the first album, and they’re not going to make the second album. So let’s just drop these for the people!”
Let’s talk about the specifics of some of this music you’ve already released. I’ve definitely noticed some trends. I mean, it’s not hard to notice those hooks. It’s crazy that you have so many melodies up there just ready to go!
“I think it was because when I was a kid, my Dad played Stevie Wonder, the Beatles. So I guess, my first musical experiences were with those guys. So when I got into hip-hop, it was like late, and it was Tupac and them cats. So all the rap songs that I love have dope hooks. So I try to channel timeless melodies, the ones that you could sing all day.”
I’ve also noticed in a couple tracks like “The Rescuer”and “On My Shoulder”this trend of you using some Disney clips.
“I just like f*ing up super sweet st. Like, taking something that is so innocent, and just really corrupting it! And I mean, Disney music, to me, has just always been the best!”
Well those are just some trends I’ve noticed. Are there any trends you find yourself sticking to?
“Hmm, that’s a good question. I guess I like to keep it raw and use organic instruments. I don’t use a lot of synths. And that’s kinda like what everyone is using now. Yea, a lot of times with samples, I’ll make my own sample. Like literally, I’ll be in there singing an old ass song, recreating it. Then I’ll flip it. A lot of the sounds I make, I create them.”
So the hip-hop scene is mad saturated right now. But I think what’s going to make you stand out is your youthful approach. In your songs, you’re talking about rapping at a frat party and when you hear it, you feel like it’s time for the pre-game turn up! That fresh, youthful approach is what’s going to set you apart. Do you agree?
“I hope so! I think I’m kinda writing for myself and my friends. Like, that’s us and what we do, I just talk about it. And also, it’s all coming from me. A lot of artists put stuff out but they have this producer and they have this writer in there with them. I hope what’s going to make me stand out is that I just go in and come out by myself.”
You can take a listen to more of Luke Christopher’s self-produced tracks on his SoundCloud and watch his new video for “Life Jackets” here. Also, make sure to be on the lookout for those official tour dates with Juicy J by visiting his website.