Luke James is an American singer, songwriter, and actor, best known for his ‘Grammy’-nominated single ‘I Want You.’ Born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, Luke had creative instincts even as a child. He listened to a wide variety of music, ranging from from hip-hop to jazz, and formed a high-school musical trio, ‘Upskale,’ along with his schoolmates Quinten Spears and Tah. Later, the trio split. Following this, Luke and Quinten formed a duo called ‘Luke & Q.’ Shortly after the duo was formed, they stared performing as an opening act for Tyrese Gibson. However, their failure to garner attention had the duo parting ways. After the split, Luke specifically focused on honing his songwriting skills and worked with artists such as Chris Brown, Justin Bieber, and Britney Spears. He eventually began appearing in music videos and shot to fame with the video of Beyonce’s ‘Run the World.’ In December 2011, Luke released his first EP, ‘#Luke,’ which was a success. His real breakthrough happened with the release of the ‘Grammy’-nominated song ‘I Want You.’ In 2014, Luke released the self-titled album ‘Luke James.’ He then released another album, ‘JOY.’
Childhood & Early Life
Luke James was born Luke James Boyd, on June 13, 1984, in New Orleans, Louisiana. He never knew the identity of his biological father and was raised by a single mother.
While growing up in New Orleans, Luke was heavily inspired by the growing influence of the hip-hop scene in the country. He listened to a wide range of music, from jazz to R&B. However, he was never quite interested in becoming a musician. He wanted to become an actor instead.
The family was quite affluent, as his mother worked at ‘NASA.’ Luke was involved in an array of extracurricular activities as a kid. He learned karate and magic. He also played a lot of sports. At some point during his childhood years, he developed a taste for songwriting.
He developed an interest in music while watching the music TV show ‘Showtime at the Apollo.’ The show featured a contestant performing a cover version of the song ‘A Song for You,’ and the performance grabbed Luke’s attention. His mother sensed his interest and pushed him to follow his goals. He credits his mother for developing his strong musical taste during his formative years.
Luke attended ‘St. Augustine High School,’ along with schoolmates Quinten Spears and Frank Ocean. He then joined a musical trio named ‘Upskale’ in school, along with classmates Quinten and Tah. Around this time, he also met Frank Gatson, who later served as his manager for a long time.
The trio ‘Upskale’ did not last long, but Luke kept in touch with Quinten and formed a duo named ‘Luke & Q.’ They performed at several local venues and also got a chance to perform as opening acts for Tyrese Gibson. However, following an unsuccessful spell, they split up and walked their separate paths.
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Luke left New Orleans and moved to Los Angeles to build a career in music. His duo with Quinten did not work out despite the support from an established musician such as Tyrese Gibson. Following the split, Luke focused on his talents as a songwriter and background vocalist.
Luke collaborated with popular record producer Danja, and for the next few years, he wrote several soul and R&B songs for him. Soon enough, his popularity as a songwriter soared.
By the late 2000s, he was also beginning to get recognized by more established names in the music industry. He co-wrote the song ‘Crawl’ for Chris Brown’s third album, ‘Graffiti.’
His long-term partnership with musician Tank also yielded many hits. He also wrote ‘That Should Be Me’ for Justin Bieber, ‘Kill the Lights’ for Britney Spears, and ‘Do It’ for Keri Hilson.
He also appeared in various music videos. In 2005, he appeared in ‘Destiny’s Child’s music video for ‘Soldier,’ along with the other two members of his high-school trio, ‘Upskale.’
In 2011, he appeared in Beyonce’s music video for the song ‘Run the World.’ By that time, he had already started working on his debut EP.
Titled ‘#Luke,’ his debut EP released in late 2011 and was made available for free digital download. The first single from the album, ‘I Want You,’ became a major hit. Luke received widespread critical and commercial acclaim for his production and vocal skills.
The song was eventually nominated for a ‘Grammy Award.’ The single also won him a nomination for the ‘Best New Artist’ at the 2012 ‘Soul Train Music Awards.’
In 2012, Luke released his second mixtape, ‘Whispers in The Dark,’ which was a moderate success. As more record labels approached him, Luke announced that he was working on his debut studio album.
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In January 2013, Luke released the single ‘Make Love to Me’ from his first studio album, ‘Luke James.’ The music video for the single was directed by Frank Gatson, his manager. The second single from the album, titled ‘I.O.U.,’ was released later that year.
The same year, Beyonce chose Luke to be the opening act during her ‘Mrs. Carter Show World Tour,’ which further helped Luke earn national fame.
In early 2014, Luke released his debut album, ‘Luke James.’ It was a success. A single from the album, titled ‘Options,’ became particularly successful and earned him his second ‘Grammy’ nomination. The single also featured esteemed rapper Rick Ross.
He then started working on his second album, ‘JOY.’ He released the single ‘These Arms’ in 2018.
Luke also enjoys acting. In 2013, he made his TV debut with the sitcom ‘Half & Half,’ playing a small role.
In 2011, he made his film debut with the small role of ‘Freddy Davis’ in the film ‘Rift.’ He then played ‘Jo Jo’ in the 2013 film ‘Black Nativity’ and ‘Trevor’ in the 2019 film ‘Little.’
Of late, has made small appearances in series such as ‘The New Edition Story,’ ‘Star,’ and ‘The Bobby Brown Story.’
Family & Personal Life
Luke James started dating Jessie J in 2014. After a year-long relationship, the couple broke up in 2015.
Previously, Luke was rumored to be dating model Khadijah Nicholas.