Luke James on his Grammy nomination for ‘To Feel Love/d’ and why this album felt like his ’emancipation’ [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

“This endeavor is truly my emancipation in some ways,” says Luke James about his album “To Feel Love/d,” which earned a 2021 Grammy nomination for Best R&B Album. “It’s the beginning of my own journey of stepping into my own light.” Watch our exclusive video interview with James above.

This album comes six years after his self-titled debut release, but even though that 2014 collection had his name on it, he didn’t feel like it was truly his. “When you’re signed, it’s a lot of chefs in the kitchen,” he explains. “This is something I’ve always wanted to do as a child … and to have to have a middleman between you and the very thing that you’ve developed such a relationship with, that’s hard … It wasn’t fun, and I felt like I wasn’t creating my best work and I wasn’t my full self.”

“To Feel Love/d” is his “first independent endeavor … You have more control as to what you want to say and how you want to say it, and for me that was very important.” Some of the music on this album has been brewing in him for the last six years, and “within that time I was dealing with a bit of depression … a lot of ups and downs … and creating a lot of different things to see what it is you want and what you don’t want.”

But all that work over the years resulted in a cohesive collection of songs that explore a common theme: “I realized that I created some sort of love letter. To feel loved is something that I yearned for. To feel love is something that I longed for,” and self-love was part of what he was pursuing, “to feel that feeling of love in a way of admiration for myself, my own self-esteem, my own love for my own worth, my own capabilities, and my own relationship with music, which I find to be a God-given thing.”

Somewhere along the way he felt as though he was losing touch with that love of music, so making “To Feel Love/d” on his own terms was a way of getting that back. “Love is what I wanted, so love is what I put out.”

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