We had the opportunity to participate in a conference call with Luke Edgemon, who joined Team Shakira on NBC’s The Voice. Luke is a pop and R&B artist and violist from Fayetteville, North Carolina. On Tuesday night’s episode of The Voice, Luke impressed both Shakira and Usher, singing “I Can’t Make You Love Me”. Ultimately, he chose Shakira as his coach, and we look forward to seeing more of him in the Battle Rounds. Read on to learn more about working with Blake, his thoughts on choosing between Shakira and Usher, whether or not Shakira imitating Usher’s leg pose influenced his decision, and his time as a Warbler on FOX’s Glee. Follow Luke on Twitter: @LukeEdgemon.
You are known for being a Warbler on the hit show Glee. Could you talk about how that has prepared you for being in the competition?
I feel like being on Glee is – it was – it’s a really fun thing. It’s kind of a weird situation. I do background vocals for the show as well, which is kind of – that’s kind of like my main breadwinning job, but being a warbler prepared me to be in front of a camera.
And, you know, I don’t really experience nerves, or jitters, or that type of thing very much anymore because I kind of, you know, being around the camera and having to learn how to step touch and things like that, I’m a terrible dancer, so I feel like just learning how to be in front of a camera that’s kind of what I learned.
You mentioned that you don’t really get nervous anymore, but what’s it like to get visibility like this as a solo artist after backing up such accomplished singers?
It’s kind of shocking. I’m kind of used to standing behind the spotlight and singing for other people and working on making their sound a better sound, you know, with the band and behind them. And so to have a band behind me now and to be center stage is kind of different. It’s a good feeling, but it’s something I’ve never really experienced before.
I think watching my audition back last night, it really put things into perspective. And to have things, you know, sort of blowup and, you know, things like Twitter, and Instagram, and YouTube and things that I had up and running for a while, but didn’t really get a lot of attention… and just in the past few hours, even having so much attention now, it’s kind of life altering even in this short amount of time because, you know, it finally feels like… it’s actually, you know, a step in the right direction to pursuing my time in the spotlight.
Tell us a little bit about the battle rounds. I mean, obviously you can’t tell us if you advance or not, but can you tell us a little bit about working with your coaches and sort of how you prepared for this particular performance?
I think I’d have to pretty much piggyback what Jacqui said. I mean we, you know, we do get one-on-one time with our coaches, we get time with our, you know, who our perspective battle partners are going to be. They really do pour it into us and work with us specifically on strengths and weaknesses that they feel they have noticed with us since the beginning of the competition.
And I feel like in the time that we have spent with them already we – I feel like they really go above and beyond… when the cameras are not even rolling for them. You know, they really do their research. They know our voices, they know what we’re passionate about as far as music is concerned and I feel like they really take what they have learned in that research they do and apply it to making us better artists.
Were you surprised that Shakira turned her chair, not just turned her chair, but turned it first? And what ultimately made you chose her?
I feel like because Shakira turned first that was my first inkling to go with her. I mean and the things that she said to me, you know, I just, you know, her passion for, you know, my song and the way she was reacting, even physically, while I was singing it just – it kind of resonated and I just felt like that was the right decision. I don’t really know if too much went into like a preconceived notion.
I don’t really – I didn’t really spend a lot of time thinking about it, even in that moment. I just, it was kind of a gut feeling and I just felt like, you know what? The back and forth she had with Usher, you know, really resonated with me. He said that he wanted to make me great and she said, “You’re already great. I just want to make you better.”
And, you know, when that happened I was like, “Wow.” You know, like she – to have someone who is accomplished and so well-known and just – she is the tiptop in her field and to have her already believe that I’m great and capable of greater things and, you know, I just knew that she was the one.
What is it that you hope to learn from having Shakira as your coach, as your mentor?
Well I do want to learn how to brand myself as an artist. I want to, you know, I am passionate about music and I’m passionate about my voice and I feel like there is so many more things that I could learn about singing and becoming a better singer from all four coaches, but I feel like what Shakira is going to teach me how to do is how to be a brand and how to be a business. I mean she is worldwide, she is well-known in so many different avenues than just her voice and I want to follow in her footsteps in that I want to be able to brand myself as an artist so that I don’t think back on it for the rest of my life, you know?
You touched on the reasoning for your decisions for who you selected for your coaches, but was it difficult being put on the spot to have to choose between coaches?
I think that it was a little easier than I expected it to be. I mean I went in there kind of flip-flopping the idea. You know, there were times before I auditioned that I was like, “Oh I just want one person to turn. I just want to move on to the next round. I just want to – I just want one person – like if one person turns I won’t have to pick.” And then I thought, “No I’m going to make all four turn.” And then, you know, it was just kind of a back and forth type deal.
And when two turned I was just sure that I was going to pick Usher because, you know, I listen to his music and, you know, I felt like I identified vocally with him because I’m a bit more of a riffer, I kind of have more of an R&B voice than a voice like Shakira. I mean I don’t really know how to describe her voice. It’s kind of an entity all its own. So to compare myself to her with something I had never done, but when she started talking there was no decision for me to make. I was drawn in immediately.
Absolutely. And did it have anything to do with discovering that she can also imitate Usher’s leg pose?
I was impressed that she did that. I mean she was pretty pregnant at the time, so I was impressed that she like threw her leg up there so quickly. I think that her being willing to do that and kind of come out of her comfort zone, even physically, and just it showed that she really wanted to fight for me and I loved that she believed in me that much to even be funny and, you know, joke around. So it did have a little something to do with it I think.
You have quite the celebrity following. Do you think that will help you during your time on The Voice?
I’m not sure actually. I would hope so. I think being here and living in L.A. for the past few years and, you know, there’s a bunch of people that I’ve sung with, or sung backgrounds for, that I would hope take notice. I had a few really exciting tweets last night from people that I had sung with before, or who I didn’t even know were watching, and that was kind of nerve-wracking, but I hope so. I hope that it works in my favor and if anything I just hope to make more friends in the music industry out here so that I can sing a lot more than I already am.
Fayetteville is its own unique kind of creation and pretty night and day from Los Angeles. How do you feel your time in Fayetteville influenced your growth as an artist?
A lot of people think that because Fayetteville is in North Carolina and there are – there’s not a major city around, like immediately around it, people assume that it’s country and down-home. But because Fort Bragg is there it’s kind of a world all its own.
I mean I don’t really know that I’ve ever met too many people, even living there as long as I did, that were actually from there. So I feel like there’s a pretty eclectic base of people, like so many races and so many different languages. And I really enjoyed being there and I enjoy going to visit my parents there because, I really feel like I’m a city boy at heart, but to go back and to feel like there are so many people there who support what I do and there are a lot of people who are from different areas.
I feel like it’s not as country as people may think and I appreciate being able to call that my hometown and to have people there that are, you know, it’s kind of a little melting pot all its own.