A humble and passionate guy, with the musicality and charm of a truly authentic artist. Whether it’s busking on the streets, battling it out on talent shows, or headlining his very own tour ― it’s clear Luke Friend lives to inspire and entertain.
We caught up with the effortlessly cool 18 year old moments before his headline show at the The Deaf Institute in Manchester…
You started busking from an early age. How young were you?
I learned guitar when I was 12, then started busking around the age of 13. It’s crazy, I started off playing Thin Lizzy – Whisky In The Jar, the kind of stuff I grew up listening to with my Dad! But when you’re going out busking, people don’t necessarily want to hear you sing, so I used to get quite nervous.
Do you get the same nerves now?
Playing your own show is a lot less nerve wracking in a weird way. Busking is a lot of fun though, I encourage people to try it and I don’t think I’ll ever leave those days behind.
Not even when touring with The Vamps…
Exactly! I’m going back on tour with them again next week – straight after the London show on this tour, so there could be more busking on the cards. I love being on tour with The Vamps. We’re all the same age so it’s lots of fun, and we’re all learning together. They help me out with fitness more than anything. James is mental for the gym!
You’ve been with Crown since X Factor. Do you feel pressured by the success of Ella Henderson and Union J?
Good question, but nah. I’ve got a crazy Scottish guy looking after me from day-to-day, it’s great. I’m in great hands, and I’m comfortable around everyone so it makes it easier. With Ella, we come from the same sort of emotional path in the way we write songs —but we’re all totally different artists, we support each other.
Congratulations on ‘Hole In My Heart’. Did you come up with the idea for the video?
I did! I’m an inspiring film photographer. I love film. I love the beauty of film. I tend to script things in my imagination or write things down from a film I’m watching. It’s one of my hobbies. I got together with the director, and in the end I wanted to go with the idea of Romeo and Juliet. I know it’s been done a lot, but I wanted to put my own twist on it —add some grunge.
Where are you at with the debut album?
I’m happy to say it’s near enough finished. Most of the songs I’m playing on this tour are taken from the album. I’ve been doing a little acoustic set and stripping some back. But everyone’s favourite so far seems to be Dynamite (next single), which is quite exciting. Last night got a great reaction.
Have you played with production or should we expect a stripped back album?
Expect to be surprised. It’s quite experimental. A lot of the sounds we’re using tonight are just half of what’s going to be in there. People are expecting me to go down the Mumford route. I’m kind of doing that with the vocal melodies, but it’s a lot more soulful and funky on production. I’ve experimented with synths and jazzy guitar. It’s been a lot fun to create, and I’m really looking forward to everyone hearing it. Hopefully they like it.
Have you set a release date?
No. We haven’t set a date, but we’re thinking late this year.
Are you playing any festivals in 2015?
Yeah, I’m excited to play Gold Coast Oceanfest, which takes me to North Devon. That’s gonna be fun! But lately I’m focused on touring. Festivals will happen in the future, I’ve never even been to Glastonbury, and I love festivals, so I need to go!