Luke, congratulations on the release of your new single, “What You Deserve.” Can you share with our readers the inspiration behind this song?
Thank you so much! I created “What You Deserve” as a reflection on a past relationship where I felt unable to provide my partner with what they deserved, primarily due to the timing of my own journey of self-discovery. “What You Deserve” was me expressing my emotions of doubt, guilt, and regret towards my partner and myself.
Your music is often described as a fusion of pop and indie-pop. Could you elaborate on how your musical influences, such as Shawn Mendes, Olivia Rodrigo, and Harry Styles, have shaped your sound?
Well, it’s pretty simple actually. They just made music for my tastes with stories I resonated with as I became a musician of my own. Growing up, I learned a lot subconsciously about song structure, dynamics, and lyricism by being inspired by their music. So now I like to think of my music as being in a similar lane as theirs, but what shaped my sound and my music the most with my real-life experiences as a musician and songwriter. My journey and the people I have met and collaborated with have shaped my music more than most of my initial idols.
“What You Deserve” explores the complexities of human emotion and relationships. Can you delve into the lyrical themes and the story you wanted to convey with this song?
I mentioned earlier that “What You Deserve” was me expressing emotions such as doubt, guilt, and regret. The first verse is me expressing the timing and how I felt off in the relationship and for myself. As the song progresses, I begin to understand why. In the pre-chorus, I mention life racing, which was a representation of the way my physical and mental lives were changing. I was approaching the end of my college career where I’d be leaving my friends and beginning a new stage in life. Meanwhile, I began to ask myself what I really wanted from life, which led to doubt, followed by the guilt of realizing how that had impacted my relationship. By the end, I’m subtly suggesting the hope for redemption and personal development.
The song has a compelling blend of acoustic guitar, dynamic vocals, and a foot-tapping drum rhythm. Could you talk about the creative process behind the song’s arrangement?
It all started with the acoustic guitar and vocals. The guitar riff in the verses was meant to be catchy and engaging for the verse sections, and I’d say that the electric guitars do a lot of the work for the overall atmosphere of the song. From the heavy guitars in the chorus and bridge to the more luscious tones in the intro, second verse, and underneath the chorus, the electric guitar gives the song its indie feel.
The rhythm and drive, of course, come from the bass and drum parts (and some help in certain sections from the acoustic guitar). Using these elements to drive the energy throughout the song was key to rooting the song’s pop sound. Themes of guilt and regret are touched on, not just lyrically, but throughout the song’s arrangement as well. The way the song loses momentum after the bridge, where the melody had built it up the most, is meant to strip everything away to loath in that feeling before it all comes crashing back in, intending to create the emotional tension that comes with these themes.