Sunday, November 15, 2015

Interview // Luke Combs

They say all good guys come from Georgia--and while I agree with that statement, we need to add North Carolina to that list as well. We need to add it to the list because that is Luke Combs home state and if you don't recognize the name, let me apologize for that. And let me take a few minutes to introduce you to him. Luke is an amazing singer-songwriter who is currently on select dates touring with Chase Rice and Cadillac 3. And, while he is newer to the "touring scene," there were just as many people singing the lyrics of Hurricane back to him Friday night in Birmingham as there were fans singing Ready Set Roll back to Chase.

Luke took some time before his show to sit down with me and tell me a little more of his story. He is a great guy and an incredible musician. He couldn't miss a note if he tried. He's one of the few artists that I think country music NEEDS right now. Allow me to introduce you.

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1. Like several other country music artists, you played sports growing up as well as finding a passion with music. Were (if there were any) aspects from sports that carried over to music or vice versa?


"I would honestly say not a lot, really, just because I was terrible at football. I was an under-achiever in that aspect of my life until I really focused in on my passion for music. I picked a guitar up for the first time about three and a half years ago. I've been singing my entire life through high school and since. Music is really the thing that has taught me about other aspects of life as opposed to other aspects of life teaching me about music. Music was always the one thing that I was super passionate about. And still am. Football was great. I played rugby in college, which was great for me, because we didn't have a lot of funding or a coach. So, that aspect instilled in me a DIY approach to things including music. I've recently met a few people who are helping guide me to be a little more professional in the music scene."


2. So, even though sports has played a role in your life and taught you valuable lessons, music has always been the main passion? You knew early on that music was the path you wanted to pursue?

"Yes. I just didn't find my focus or direction to make music my means of living until a few years ago. I remember my first show I just fell in love with it. It was an acoustic show in my college town. It was great. Ever since then I've been extremely focused on music as the goal."

3. You are a songwriter as well as an artist. What is the song writing process like for you? Do you have several ideas already planned out in your mind going into a write? Or do more of your songs happen spontaneously on the spot?

"I went into a co-write one time and someone said 'you should always try to keep your mind in songwriter mode at all times and when you hear a certain phrase or situation, process that as an idea and jot it down.' I'll jot down lots of phrases or ideas for titles in my phone. Then, going into a co-write, I'll bounce some of the ideas off the other writers. Sometimes we choose my idea, sometimes we don't. I'm a guy who tries to write everything. I know when I sit down and write a song if it's for me or not. I've written tons of good songs that I don't think are for me and I've written lots of bad songs, too. I would encourage anyone else to keep that in mind. You don't have to write inside a box just for yourself.  Just focus on making good music. Then you can decide if it's for you or not."

4. Where do you get the most inspiration for ideas for new songs?

"Oh, everything. I'm a big phrase guy so someone can say something off the wall a little bit, like a 'southernism.' For example, when it was raining really hard my mom would say 'oh that's a frog strangler.' So, things like that I hear and sometimes think to myself if that's ever been a song before. I get a lot of inspiration from little tag lines but then there are certain situations that I've been in that inspire songs, too. Everything in life--I try to make it situations that are true to me as much as I can to make it authentic. Everyday life. And, not normally in a musical setting. I'm not going to come up with a great idea for a song sitting in a dressing room before a show starts. Living life is when the most inspiration comes."

5. Who is one artist that you would love to collaborate with?

"Eric Church. No doubt about that."

6. What is your favorite song to play live?

"There's a song that is on the new EP, coming out on Black Friday, it's called Beer Can. I've had a lot of other songs that I've written that I think are great but they don't necessarily get the crowd going or roaring. This is kind of a hell raising, beer drinking song. I really enjoy playing that one live and I can't wait for it to be out so hopefully more and more people will start singing along with it, too. And, Hurricane. Everyone seems to be singing along to that one recently. Beer Can and Hurricane are my favorites. Anything that really gets the crowd engaged."

7. What has been your favorite venue to play?

"That's tough. I had a great time at the Georgia Theater-that was super cool. We played at the Tabernacle last night and that was awesome, too. There are a few places that I've played at that have been pretty special. I played at Carnegie Hall when I was younger and that was definitely cool. Peachtree Tavern is always a blast, too."

8. Who are your musical influences?

"From an artist perspective and a writer perspective there are different influences. Writing-- Travis Meadows, I'm a big fan of his and Jonathan Singleton. People who write their own stuff are big to me because it's neat to watch an artist perform a song that they wrote knowing they lived those lyrics. From an artist perspective, I'm a die hard Eric Church fan. I grew up listening to 90's country. Vince Gill was my first concert."

9. What is your plan for the next year? Your EP is coming out on Black Friday, what's the plan for the remainder of this year and next?

"I want to kind of follow suit like Old Dominion did. They put out an EP which led to a full album release. That's my plan. Hopefully to have a full album released by the beginning of summer. I'm not signed yet but that's still the plan. I have the means to make that happen at this point, which is awesome. Getting music to people who want to hear it is my main focus and goal. If you enjoy my music, that's great."

10. What is one thing that you've learned from other artists since being out on the road touring?

"I didn't realize until a few months ago when I got my booking deal with my awesome booking agent (Matt MaGuire) how much more professional the industry was. I can't say that any one artist taught me that. A lot of people think it's one big party back here. That's not true. I've learned that from every artist. We are here on business--to further our career, gain fans and put on a good show. It's much more professional and scheduled. It is a tough job. I'm trying to up my game and become more professional with each gig."

11. What is your definition of country music?

"My definition of country music is music that speaks to people. I'm not a person who likes to put down success in general. I'm not a guy that will hate on anyone having success because I'm a fan of that. I think that it's amazing to see what so many artists have done. If you're making music that touches people--whether it's got a beat in it or a steel guitar, that's what's more important. It is what it is to each individual fan."

Check out Luke's website for more information.

And make sure you're following him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Thank you Luke for taking the time to talk music. His live show was fantastic and I'm very excited for everything he has coming up over the next few months.




















































































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