Interview With Luke James: Not The Singer

Luke James is a man that is quickly becoming known for his YouTube videos. He does everything from reviewing the most recent albums, to hilarious videos such as 2 Chainz funniest lyrics. I first came into contact with Luke a few years ago when his anti-simping video floated across my Twitter timeline. I instantly subscribed to his channel and I've been a fan ever since. His videos provide not only opinions of relevant music but honest reviews and comedy as well. Recently Luke allowed me to ask him a few questions about his YouTube channel, social media and other projects including the Background Noise Podcast.

What is the event that got you interested in reviewing music?
Well, about 3 years ago I started vlogging goofy stuff about relationships, my opinions, etc., but then I did a video about how awful and hilarious Lil Wayne's "I Am Not A Human Being 2" album was and it ended up getting a lot of attention. Within no time it hit over 10,000 views and had a lot of people talking, so I decided that I would focus more on vlogging hip-hop news and reviews.

You're also a member of the Background Noise podcast. Was transitioning to YouTube difficult?


No, not really. I've always been involved in a lot of different creative stuff, and in fact, all of the talking on Background Noise has helped prepare me and give me a certain level of comfort with my vlogging. Also, along with Derrek and Devin (who still do the podcast regularly, so check it out at backgroundnoise.ca), I've worked on a web series and a bunch of other comedic skits years ago, so being in front of a camera was nothing new or nerve-racking for me.

When you started with YouTube did you have a plan to get your name out there, or did it come naturally? If you had a plan, was Twitter helpful or did it just come with the territory?

I really didn't have any plan at all other than making some videos to make people think and laugh - and then to discuss music, once I switched my channel over to hip-hop news and reviews. Everything just sort of evolved as I went along. It was very natural, as you put it.

As for Twitter, it has definitely been a huge help! About 80% of my YouTube traffic comes from outside of Canada. By making use of hashtags, getting retweeted and networking with people across the world, I know that Twitter is responsible for the vast majority of my channel's growth. That said, shout-out to my Tweeps!

Was it harder starting out or is it harder to stay fresh now?
I'd say that it was harder starting out, for sure. Just trying to build a fanbase and get hits on YouTube without any real marketing/promotion is no easy task. These days it's easier for me because now that I have my name out there a little bit, I can focus more on making quality reviews and releasing content on a regular basis. That said, with so many albums and mixtapes dropping all the time, staying fresh is pretty easy because there's always something to review.

I remember you took a break from YouTube for awhile. Would it be too personal to ask where you were?

Not at all! I had actually taken a break from YouTube and ALL of my social media, including Facebook and Twitter. I was figuring some things out with my career and also trying to plan my wedding, so I thought that a little break would help me focus more on real life. The internet can be pretty distracting and that break was very refreshing for me. I would recommend a social media break to anyone who feels stuck or feels like they need to apply more focus into something else. You never realize how much time you waste/spend on social media until you're not using any of it! Anyway, happy ending to a boring story - I'm happily married with a 3 month old daughter now and things are fine with my career!

Who are some of the artists that you grew up listening to and who are you listening to now?

As a kid I was big into the same stuff that most 90s kids were. Back then we didn't have Napster, torrents, etc., so you just listened to whatever you saw on TV, heard on the radio, or heard from a friend. Snoop Dogg, Warren G and 2Pac are the main names that come to mind for me when I think about how my love for rap music came about. Oh and Spice 1, too. "Strap On The Side" was one of my favorite songs, along with "Back In The Day" by Ahmad.

As I got a bit older though, in the later 90s and early 2000s, I was BIG into the Southern scene. I was especially into just about anything put out by No Limit Records and Cash Money Records. I don't know what it was exactly about that sound that stuck with me, but it just did. I think I just really liked the beats and the vibe (Mannie Fresh and Beats By The Pound were killing it) more than anything else. Really though, I've always liked a wide variety of hip-hop and to this day I still do. These days I listen to a bit of everything, since I do reviews. I appreciate all of the sub-genres of hip-hop and I think they all have their place.

What are your 5 favorite albums?

That's a tough question because I've listened to so many great albums in my 30 years of life! It's pretty much impossible for me to narrow it down to 5 and say that they're my absolute favorites, so instead I'll tell you 5 albums/mixtapes that aren't obvious choices like "The Blueprint", "MMLP", "Chronic 2001", etc. So here we go - Charles Hamilton's "Pink Lavalamp", DJ Quik's "Balance & Options", Big Boi's "Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors", Devin the Dude's "Just Tryin Ta Live" and Obie Trice's "Cheers".

What are your favorite albums or mixtapes from 2014 so far?

Isaiah Rashad's "Cilvia Demo" album is my current #1 pick, no question, but some of my other favorites this year so far are Rittz's "Next To Nothing", Jeezy's "Seen It All", Statik Selektah's "What Goes Around" and CyHi's "Black Hystori Project" - all of which I've reviewed on my channel.

You're from Canada so I have to ask: did you buy one of Snow's albums as a kid?

No, but back in the day one of my best friends had the cassette tape and I remember dubbing "Informer" off of it. That was probably the only song I needed...wait...no...I should've dubbed that "Lonely Monday Morning" track, too. That was good!

If a kid walked up to you and asked you for your best advice in life, what would you say?

I would tell him or her to create their own definition of happiness and success because it's not the same for everybody. Focus on obtaining self-knowledge and figure it out for yourself as you experience life at your own pace.

Are you secretly Luke James the singer?

No, but I heard that Luke James the singer is actually Luke James the music critic...wait, what?

Lastly, can you tell people where to find your reviews and the best way to contact you?

No doubt! You can find me on youtube at http://www.youtube.com/lukejamesbgn (or just search lukejamesbgn), follow me on Twitter @lukejamesbgn and e-mail me at luke@redmattersite.com - I actually do indie reviews and promo now, too, so if any independent artists are interested they can hit me up to discuss some business!
Interview With Luke James: Not The Singer Interview With Luke James: Not The Singer Reviewed by Darrell S. on Tuesday, September 15, 2015 Rating: 5

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