Formerly one half of Gold selling Canadian duo McMaster & James, Luke McMaster cut his teeth on some of the biggest acts of the day, including sharing the stage with Randy Bachman, Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera and more. An in-demand songwriter with multiple credits and collaborations with such global superstars as Rihanna and soul music icons like Felix Cavaliere of the Rascals, Luke’s first love has always been singing, performing and connecting with his audience.
In the early spring 2016, Luke released his sophomore album TRENDING. A modern collection of original tracks inspired by classic soul and early Motown, in the vein of throwback artists like Michael Bublé and neo-soul group, Maroon 5.
The impetus for TRENDING came from Luke’s observations of how the world is changing at such a fast pace and particularly the impact of social media on our day to day lives. “There are people in my life that are these fantastic, brilliant, beautiful people and yet they are so tied up with how they are perceived through social media. Having people be “present” and having meaningful time with them is becoming more and more difficult...ironically the more connected the world becomes, the more disconnected we are with reality.”
The title track, Trending is a statement about that, but at its core, it’s still a love song reminding us to put down the phone and reconnect as human beings, to be reminded that our “likes” online are less important than one on one encounters. The theme of personal connections comes up again in Mouth to Mouth, “bring it back to life, just need a little mouth to mouth”.
Luke wrote and produced the songs on TRENDING with his bandmate and co-writer Arun Chaturvedi. Luke and Arun grew up together in Brandon MB and have been working together on various music projects since the early 2000s, after McMaster & James disbanded. The easy going camaraderie between the two made for a free flowing process on this album and a real playfulness that is particularly evident on tracks like You Look Good On Me and Sweet Spot. Their mutual love of soul music also comes through clearly in songs like “Hurt So Good” (featuring the vocal powerhouse Stacy Kay) where you hear the playful throwback to early Motown in the more traditional rhythms and the juicy harmonies.
TRENDING felt like a big shift in musical style for Luke who explains that the whole album is really an exploration of how modern production techniques can be used to amplify the classic soul sound. “We went from ALL ROADS which was basically recording live off the floor to TRENDING, where we had a lot of tools at our fingertips and just had a lot of fun with it.”
The more produced sound of this album gets translated beautifully into the live show thanks in a large part to Luke’s third bandmate, the talented DJ and multi-instrumentalist, Chris Briscoe who mixes some of the more digitally produced elements of the album into the live stage performance.
TRENDING is “…fresh, with a classic soulful touch.” –Linda Heldman, Canadian Beats
Luke is currently working on his next project ICONS OF SOUL which features co-writes with some of the most celebrated songwriters of the early soul era including Felix Cavaliere of the Rascals and Lamont Dozier who has over 80 top 10 hits to his name, including 13 in a row for the Supremes. To find out more about ICONS OF SOUL, follow Luke on twitter, facebook and instagram or you can follow the project development on Luke’s ICONS OF SOUL blog.
“...ironically the more connected the world becomes, the more disconnected we are with reality.”