My Five Firsts: Luke James


The nominations for the 57th annual Grammy Awards were announced today (December 5). Being recognized by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences for achievement in music is a meaningful accomplishment for many artists. It’s even more remarkable when a performer earns a Grammy nod without even putting out an album.

That was the case for R&B singer-songwriter Luke James when he received a “Best R&B Performance” nom in 2012 for his song “I Want You.” James did not win a golden gramophone for that track, but the New Orleans vocalist has a song up for another Grammy in 2015. This time he will attend the award ceremony post the release of his debut self-titled LP which dropped in September.

The Luke James album featured the track “Options.” The single is up for the “Best R&B Song” Grammy against Chris Brown’s “New Flame,” Jhené Aiko’s “The Worst,” Usher’s “Good Kisser,” and Beyoncé’s “Drunk In Love.” Ironically, James has a working history with a couple of the other artists on the list. He penned songs for Brown and opened for Bey’s “Mrs. Carter World Tour.”

On February 8, James may follow in the footsteps of two of his musical inspirations – Michael Jackson and Prince – and walk away with the “Best R&B Song” trophy. interviewed Luke James  for “My Five Firsts” to get his reflections on his past Grammy nomination experience, originally meeting his tourmate Beyoncé, and more.

[ALSO READ: EXCLUSIVE: Luke James Embraces His Lone Wolf Mentality For New Self-Titled Album]

First Time Performing In Front Of A Large Crowd

It was a talent show. I was in a group, and I was a nervous wreck. Even being up there with two of my brothers, it was still nerve-racking. But it was exhilarating. Once I got out there and heard the claps and the cheers, I loved that feeling. Just to see people levitate from me living in my purpose, it just felt so good. Moments like that I’ll never forget, because the reason why I do it is to inspire people.

First Time Hearing A Song That You Wrote On The Radio

I think it just built my confidence up to continue to do what I know I’m can do. It was Ruben Studdard. The song was called “Change Me.”

First Time Finding Out You Were Nominated For A Grammy

I was on my way out the house rushing to make a party before I had to jump on a flight. Like I said I was rushing, so I was ignoring my phone. I had a whole lot of text messages and phone calls. I thought it was my people rushing me and making sure I was out of the house.

When I finally looked at my phone and saw all the text messages and phone calls from different people all congratulating me on the nomination, I was in disbelief. It felt like a dream. I was like, “How? Is this real?” I didn’t even have an album out, so to get that recognition for such a prestigious award is everything.

First Time Meeting Beyoncé

First time meeting Beyoncé was back in the Destiny’s Child days. It was at a rehearsal. I wound up meeting her and the Destiny’s Child family. That was awesome. I honestly grew up on Destiny’s Child, so it’s just awesome. It’s hard to even explain those feelings, because it was so long ago. I know one thing. I just felt like, damn, whatever that feeling is they’re giving me, I hope I give that to other people when I make it.

I knew I’d make it. I wrote these things down – being on tour with Beyoncé, sharing a stage with Beyoncé, and touring the world. I wrote these things down a long time ago. I always knew if I kept believing, it would come to fruition.

First Time Hearing Prince’s Purple Rain and Michael Jackson’s Thriller

The first time I heard Thriller it scared the s**t out of me. I was really young. I heard Purple Rain, but I really, really fell into Purple Rain and got into Prince the year I got put out of this all-boy school.

I flunked out, and I was madly depressed. It was my junior year and all my friends were going off to be seniors. They were going to get their class ring, and here I am like, “What am I going to do?” This school is the school to graduate from, and I was broken. My heart was broken, and I fell into this deep depression.

My mother sent me to Memphis for the summer with her dad just to get away. We spent most of the time in the house by ourselves just chilling. Then I found this tape, and it was Purple Rain. I listened to it the whole summer. It just changed my world. Suddenly, I understood exactly what it was that I wanted to do, and I didn’t feel as lost as I did before.

[ALSO READ: My Five Firsts: Chris Webby]

Follow Luke James on Twitter @whoisLukejames and Instagram @wolfjames.

Luke James’ self-titled album Luke James is available on iTunes.