We had the good fortune of connecting with Luke Frees and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Luke, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I remember when I was in high school, I’d already narrowed down my career to be at least something pertaining to music, and a lot of people (academic advisors, math teachers…you name it) would tell me that to be a musician you had to either study music education or roll the dice and be a performer, hoping that you’d get lucky enough to support yourself that way. For a while, I went back and forth between those two options, wondering if I had what it’d take to make music for a living. One day, I asked my guitar instructor what he thought, and he looked me dead in the eyes and said “Luke, the world doesn’t need any more half-assed teachers. What do you actually want to do?” And that got me thinking. When I’m 80, reflecting on what I did with my life, would I feel like a wrinkled, deflated balloon, who never really went for it? Nah…I’d much rather live as deeply as I can, have as many experiences as I can, make ends meet however I can, and hope that somehow, at the end of all this, I’ll feel full and satisfied. Like I really did something.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I write songs and make music, and it’s something I’ve done since I was five years old. I just finished producing my third album, called Point Of You, which will be streaming everywhere on November 26th. For me, songs are a way I process what’s been going on in my life and organize my thoughts and opinions about things. The process of writing a song usually starts from something that happened to me in real life, and then gets morphed, distorted, and twisted into a little fractured 3-minute narrative. I started writing in my hometown outside of Chicago, before leaving for Boston to study songwriting at Berklee College of Music. I recorded two solo albums and an EP in Boston, and formed a band while I was there, too. We continued playing around the area until COVID hit and we all went our separate ways. Then I spent some time writing a novel and working on material for this new album before hitting the road again for LA, where I finished the record. One of the challenges I’ve had to overcome is maintaining motivation to write and release music during the pandemic, even if that means I won’t be playing the songs out any time soon. It’s really made me look deep inside myself and question why I’m doing this–is it for the validation a packed room can bring? Or would I be happy just to write these songs and play them for my two cats? The fact that even as I sit here now, writing this out, my mind’s wandering to my newly re-strung guitar in the other room, tells me yes, I’m happy just to be making music.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’d take them to Echo Park, we’d definitely hit up Maury’s Bagels in Silver Lake and Walt’s Bar in Eagle Rock, and probably for a drive along Mulholland. There’s an overlook up there near the Hollywood Bowl, where I took my girlfriend Annie on our first date. We ate Thai food on a blanket at this pull-off where you can see the sign, and it was such an important moment in my life that I reference it specifically in my single called Secondhand City–which is about a night out in LA.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to dedicate this to my family, who’ve been supportive of me since before I could even talk, my friends in LA, without whom I couldn’t have made this new album, the teachers I’ve had since I started making music, and my girlfriend, Annie, who calls me out when I’m phoning it in and reminds me to hold myself to a high standard.