Luke O’Brien is a singer/songwriter with a pretty cool sound. Lifetime was the first song to catch my ear, but Don’t Be Afraid and Yesterday I Was 22 have really grown on me. (You can find both songs on Spotify or on my Firefly playlist https://open.spotify.com/user/jettyrat/playlist/2jJ6umiWdSolBe3Zf2iYYq) Luke’s overall sound/style is hard to classify, it’s a little bit pop, a little bit Alt, a little bit rap all with a vibe that screams summer. Check his music out. I am definitely hoping to catch his live show and take him up on his offer to hang out at the festival!
1. What should people going to Firefly know about you?
Making it onto the bill of a festival as large and as awesome as Firefly is huge! I am really thrilled and honored to see my name on the same flyer as Chance The Rapper, Bob Dylan, Twenty One Pilots, and countless others. I do feel like it is somewhat of a milestone for me and I think it's important to know that this did not happen overnight. I began making music in 2007 and have been working on my craft ever since. I've been through many phases with my music. I was in a part of a duo; "Luke & John", I was in a band; "A Cool Stick", I released music under the name "Luke", I joined a group called "Haha-yo", and then finally, about two years ago, I decided to just go by my given name (Luke O'Brien) and put all my energy into the solo mission.
2. How did you get selected for Firefly and what was your reaction when you found out you were going to be a part of the festival?
I have been building a relationship with a company based out of Philadelphia called REC Philly for almost two years now. REC Philly was started by Dave Silver and Will Toms. The two of them are great dudes with an insane work ethic. Their goal is to improve and expose the Philadelphia music scene- and they are doing just that! In the two years that I have known them they have presented me with various opportunities for booking and placements. They've helped me expand my network within the city, and have always been there to lend advice or services when I've needed them. REC Philly filled a huge void for me by providing an objective approach to getting my music heard and advancing my career.
Dave Silver, of REC, gave me a call in early January and let me know he had some good news for me. I was driving down the Pennsylvania Turnpike towards my hometown of Phoenixville. The sun was setting and it was really a beautiful winter day. When Dave told me that I was going to be playing at one of the biggest music festivals in the country, I smiled, I thanked him, told him I loved him, and he let me know more details would be coming soon. After we hung up, I actually cried. I want to say it was the picturesque views but in that moment I was really just super proud of myself. I am a very emotional dude and I have put so much work into my music and my brand. There have been times where I felt like I should quit and pursue something more "practical" or times when I felt like I should not say some of the things that I have said on records because it was too personal- but I didn't. I never quit and I never bit my tongue, because my art and my self expression is the greatest gift I know. So yes, I cried when I found out.
3. Are you going to stay for some or all of the festival? If so who are you most excited to see?
I will be staying for the entirety of the festival. I want to immerse myself in the culture by taking in as much music I can and trying to meet as many artists as I can. I am probably most excited for Chance The Rapper, The Shins, Miike Snow, Lil' Dicky, Jazzy Jeff, Bob Dylan, Twenty One Pilots, Sir Sly... Okay, I'll stop there. But, I am pretty much excited for the entire bill. I love enjoying and discovering music of all kinds.
4. For an artist at the lower end of the lineup card, you have a very radio ready sound, I expect to hear Lifetime on the radio any day now. Do you feel like you are on the edge of breaking out?
I think that I have been honing my sound for a while now and I am on the verge of some grander scale recognition in the near future. Lifetime, which can be found on the official Firefly playlist by Spotify, is a track that I produced myself. This past summer, I wanted to step away from producing my tracks so I could fully focus on the writing and delivery of the lyrics. I drove from Philadelphia to Denver where I lived for a month so that I could work with a producer named Jon Bonus. Bonus is based out of Denver right now and he is an absolute pleasure to work with. His production is pristine. He also truly understand what it is that I am trying to do with my music so we make a great team in the studio. All of that material is yet to be released. I have a music video shot for one of the songs and the second music video is in the works. I will be releasing that music video for the first track soon and then probably dropping another as we get closer to Firefly. The stuff I came away from Denver with is absolute fire, it also very fly. Look out for that.
5. Why should Firefly attendees see you live
When I perform live, I bring a full band. Backing me is Brian Aranda on drums, Jonathan Colman on bass, Sean McKeon on electric guitar, and Ben McKeon on Keys/synth. We're all Philly boys and in fact, all of us except one, grew up together. The McKeon boys and I were childhood neighbors. We have a great chemistry on stage as we have played together many times and in many settings. For that reason, we all have a great trust in each other. I am really able to let loose knowing that the band is gonna be super tight. Also, I love interacting with the crowd during, before, and after the sets. I am going to be walking around with my team all throughout the festival, passing out homemade feather necklaces to people as a way to have them float over to the stage for our set. My goal is to get a lot of people who have never heard my music, to come hear it. My message is simple; kindness. We can all use some kindness in our lives I think now more than ever and that is an underlying theme in my music and my lyrics. I hope that people will come see my set so that we can build friendships and spread some love.
How about a little Delaware love to send us out? - Fun fact- I also do wedding photography. A handful of my clients have been from DE so I have shot numerous weddings all over Delaware!
Jettyrat out. Happy listening.