Luke James, the man behind the soulful love ballad, “I Want You,” will belt out his songs to crowd goers at the Sixth Annual Global Fusion Festival at Penn’s Landing, July 21. James joins Grammy award-winning R&B singer Brandy, Elle Varner and Kenny Lattimore for the free concert.
Having performed at several Philadelphia locations — at World Live Café with Robin Thicke’s “Love After War” tour and also with Estelle’s “All of Me” tour; opening for Beyoncé at her Atlantic City concert; and performing recently at WarmDaddy’s — James said he’s excited to see Philadelphia again.
“I’m going to be giving you music,” James said.
Inspired by themes of love, passion and pleasure, James’ EP, “#Luke,” explores the complexity of relationships and all of the sensual and difficult emotions it brings. “Made to Love,” the title track to his summer 2012 debut album release, simply speaks to people having the capability to experience love. The upbeat dance sound of “Powerless,” was inspired by the idea of being in a relationship and being completely vulnerable to a point that James said is not equal and leaves someone weak. On the other hand, “Soldier” expresses the feelings of having the support from someone who will battle for your complete happiness.
Influenced by the music his mother played for him such as Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson and Prince, James said music has kept him driven.
“For me, it’s spiritual,” James said. “It’s a release. It’s therapy to me. It’s a way of getting away. It’s a mental roller coaster. I do [it] because it inspires me. And because someone inspired me, I want to inspire others.”
James, originally from New Orleans, moved to Los Angeles to pursue his musical talents. Formerly in a duo called Luke & Q, he developed his songwriting craft which led him to author Chris Brown’s “Crawl” and Justin Bieber’s “That Should Be Me.”
“I was a sponge,” James said. “I just hung around and learned the technique, the formula, and started to find my way and develop my own style of writing and what it is I want to say.”
He also found his way to work with Kelly Rowland, Michelle Williams and Keri Hilson.
Even with his hands-on experience in the industry and extensive résumé, James credited social media with having an impact on his career. Following a tweet out to Estelle one night, James asked to do a song or be in a music video with the singer. Estelle tweeted him back and the two went in the studio shortly after.
“That was an amazing opportunity that happened,” James said. “She admired the song ‘I Want You’ and she tweeted about me. We exchanged contact information through direct messaging. Social media is great. I’m just super grateful.”
Along with his musical talent, James said he has an interest in acting, the next craft he wants to master.
“I want to take it serious just as I take music,” James said. “I want to be respected in all avenues I decide to go down.”