LukeNovember talks his journey in music so far, his biggest influences, and prepares us for the release of his forthcoming EP.
Having been sampled on Pop Smoke’s posthumous album ‘Faith’ and Kanye’s highly anticipated ‘DONDA’, 2021 has proven to be an exciting year for Luke November. And with his forthcoming EP on the horizon, this won’t be the last we’ll hear from the rising artist this year.
Stepping onto the scene back in 2018, Luke November’s musical journey has been one of constant progress as he consistently aims to better himself and reach new milestones in his career. The 21-year-old shows us that he’s not one to shy away from experimenting with new styles, themes, and sounds as he blends different genres of music with his personal flair of rapping, singing, and melodic rapping.
Growing up in the East End of London, the influence of grime is obvious within Luke November’s cadence and flow, where he draws particular inspiration from the likes of Melvillous and Skepta. Add to this the smooth sounds of 90s and 2000s RnB and it’s clear to hear Luke’s talent for blending his musical inspirations to create a sound that is hard to place into a box.
With more time and space to focus on himself and hone his craft during lockdown, Luke November has wasted no time sprinkling gems on us over the past year, and has proven his versatility with his latest tune “Queen Bee”. Not only does the song take us on a sonic adventure with the fusion of Luke’s sweet vocals over a drill-style beat, but we’re also taken on a visual journey through outer space with the accompanying visuals as we follow Luke’s intergalactic pursuit of love.
Luke chats with Notion to discuss his creative process, DONDA, and let us know that this theme of love – ‘the Disney-like, fairy tale’ type of love in particular – is one that we can expect to hear more of in his upcoming EP.
Hey Luke, what have you been up to lately?
I’ve recently returned to work after having a week off which was very much needed. I was able to work with Notion and do a photoshoot, prepare and finalise the rest of my songs for my upcoming E.P, take part in a cipher for Rhyme and Reason and focus on a lot of self-care.
Feels like we’re just about out of the pandemic now – as an artist, how did it impact you being in lockdown?
I saw lockdown as a positive. It allowed me to completely work on myself, my music, and the plans for the future of my career without feeling as though I’m missing out on the outside world. With everything else literally on pause, it allowed me to put my all into the things I may overlook on a day-to-day basis. Sometimes it’s hard to focus when I’m at home, due to me knowing that there’s so much happening outside and feeling as though windows of opportunities are being missed, but lockdown eradicated all of those worries and I was able to go at my own pace.
Can you tell us a bit more about your journey into music so far?
My journey into music has been one of the biggest and most humbling parts of my life in general. It’s taught me so much about myself, my gift, the power within music itself, but also about me and how I express myself. I feel as though from the start, I’ve always been trying to better myself and reach landmarks where I can say “I wasn’t there last year” and keep my eye on the ball. My journey so far has taught me a lot, and I expect to learn so much more and meet loads of great people as I have already.
Tell me about the “Queen Bee” music video – what was the inspiration behind the intergalactic space theme?
The theme for the music video was to show the pursuit of two lovers and how metaphorically you’d be willing to search the galaxy for the right person. The concept behind the song, in contrast with the video, was to show how my character was pursuing his love interest wherever she went, even if it was across the universe, the same way bees will follow the Queen Bee wherever it goes hence the song title, “Queen Bee”. We wanted to create abstract imagery that would take the viewer by surprise because it wouldn’t be the theme that would be expected if you heard the audio alone.
We got to hear a different side to you with “Queen Bee”, in a personal sense but also sonically too. For those who are new to LukeNovember, how would you describe your sound?
My sound is hard to define, as my approach on various genres are different; on certain instrumentals, I’d describe my sound as a melodic soothing vocal sound with influences of the ’90s, to the early 2000s, with the flare of Luke November; whereas on other beats that require more of a rapping style, I’d describe my sound as a skippy, grime influenced flow with the unique flair of LukeNovember.
What’s your creative process like for your upcoming EP?
The creative process of the EP was an enjoyable one, as it’s a more vulnerable-themed project which helped me learn about my style, my voice, and my approach to different instrumental sounds. It was out of my comfort zone as it’s a love-themed EP and the aim of it is to capture the various sides of love that we all go through and experience that is often missed out in music. The E.P. demonstrates, the Disney-like, fairytale love, the love that hurts, the love that sacrifices, the love that confuses, and the love that takes you to a place of nostalgia, and it’s all documented throughout the project and communicated in various ways through various genres and styles to connect to the listener
Who are your biggest influences?
In terms of musical influences, when it comes to rapping, I’m influenced by an artist called Melvillous. His art encourages me to stay real and unashamed of who I am and it always inspired me to write, but other than that I don’t have any, however my default flow I use when I rap have been influenced by my early grime exposure as a child from the likes of Skepta, Klashnekoff and Wiley. In terms of what has influenced my style, I think that’s something I’ve formed through trial and error, general progression and looking within and bringing out what I naturally express; having said that, in terms of being inspired, I am inspired by everyone.
Your song “Call Me Bad” was sampled by Kanye and featured on ‘DONDA’ – how did it feel to have a sample on one of the most highly anticipated releases of this year?
It was definitely an overwhelming experience to find out that I had been sampled for Pop Smoke’s ‘Faith’ album, then to find out that Kanye had also sampled the song for ‘DONDA’. It was a moment for me that reignited the faith in my musical journey and my understanding that nothing is impossible.
What sounds can we expect to hear from your forthcoming EP?
You can expect to hear a blend of R&B, Trap, Drill, Trap Soul and more. Some are merged together and with others, you’ll hear the sole genre. You’ll hear rapping, melodic rapping, singing and even a song featuring my Dad which I’m excited for everyone to hear