Awakin Calls » Luc Reynaud » Transcript
Luc Reynaud: Music as a Force of Love
Rish: For today, our special guest speaker is none other than Luc Reynold. Reynaud is someone who really embodies today's theme as music as a force of love. He is a remarkable singer and songwriter and it is only fitting that our moderator for today Nimo is also an accomplished musician and rap artist who has spent the last several years working with children in India and around the world. I will let him introduce Luc properly and kick off our circle. Nimo please go ahead.
Nimo: Thank you Rish. I'm going to start with a quote by Kahlil Gibran because I really feel like this shares about Luc's life, "The music is the language of the Spirit. It opens a secret of life, bringing peace and abolishing strife."
Our brother Luc was born and raised in the beautiful, green, luscious state of Washington and has had many seeds of music planted in him through his loved ones, where he eventually started his own band Luc & the Lovingtons and has toured the world over. And surprisingly enough, music was not you know to enter life till much later and it's a really exciting story and I don't want to share all of it now in the intro. So we're going to get to that and that Luc can share about that. Luc's journey has been inspiring, full of beautiful miracles, heart-fulness service, dedication to the planet, and bringing light to the darkness.
I'm just inspired by this man, brother, lover of humanity, and human being. He is a shining example of how to follow our heart, dissolve our ego, and become an instrument of something much greater than ourselves. To me this is the highest honor of any human being and our brother Luc is a living example of this goodness. I love you brother and I just welcome you, we welcome you, we are so excited to have you with us today. How are you?
Luc: Hey, I'm good Nimo. Thanks for that sweet introduction. (laughs)
Nimo: Yeah man, you are really man, you're living the light and you're bringing that to everyone around you. And obviously there's a journey that has unfolded that has allowed for you to walk on this path the way you are walking which is very unique and I wanted to start off our dialogue with something very powerful. You know we talk about planting, how important it is to plant seeds at an early stage in your life and there was an amazing seed that was planted by your preschool teacher that really had left a big mark in your heart. Can you talk a little about that? To share with us...
Luc: Yes, absolutely I would love to. I first just thought I'd say for out of honor and love for my family name. My last name is actually it's Luc Reynaud, it's French. Actually, not that I minded being called anyway I kind of like "Reynaud" too.. Our last name is called so many things, but I just thought I'd give that pronunciation. It's French, it's Luc Reynaud and it's actually kind of funny because growing up in Washington, in the country, that name became Reynolds, it became Reynaud, and it became everything. I don't mind I'll go by any name. You can do a little bark and if I know it's me I'm fine with it. Oh yeah, absolutely. In wrestling, when I was a wrestler, I'd see the guy about to read it and I'd see him just go to, he'd be like I don't know what to say Reynolds.
Nimo: You're many things to many people.
Luc: That's right, that's right.. Many of us in the United States know I'd like to have their names be said in hundred different ways. So back to your beautiful question and somebody who I would love to talk about that's my preschool teacher, Reyna.
And, Rayma Hayes. And I mean it is back. This is when you know when I was really little and I always hearken back to many moments with her as a huge part of what I guess allowed me to dream. Far and wide and to have ideas that were so big and to not have a ceiling and that's what Rayma Hayes cultivated. It was a Montessori school called Little Star in the Methow Valley and it's one of the greatest and highest education I've come to know in on the go. Yeah, it's the Little Star Montessori school and her biggest deal was to let you know, she just knew how to let the full light come out of the child. And she would do all these wonderful things with me, where I remember even I got to stay at her house. And one time she took me to a grocery store and she said Luc "What do you want? Anything you want in this grocery store you can have." And for a kid who is constantly prying in the grocery store for that one candy bar, always fighting for that one thing to have the door all the way open. You know "anything you want" I remember, I was in shock and it's something I never forgot. I mean it was like you mean anything and and she stood by it and obviously I kind of restrained myself, I was kind of like well..oh. "Ok, these popsicles" and she's like anything you want. Ok maybe some cookies, and I I didn't go too far with it. I think she knew that I wasn't like that but the biggest moment I remember with her is when one morning at preschool I said that I want to paint the earth on a painted image of her. And she said "Oh, That's beautiful Luc, do it and paint the earth and when you are done painting the earth, do you want to paint the moon too?" And I said "Yeah, yes" and she said "Ok, you know maybe after you are done with that, you want to paint all the planets?" And I was like "Yeah" and she goes " you know what Luc, do you want to paint the whole universe?"
Luc: And I remember I was like you know it felt like lightning went through my body and I was like, "Yeah I want to paint the universe." And she she took out those huge rolls of construction paper, you know, those 3-4 feet high.
Luc: And she laid it down, the white roll. She laid it down on this wood floor and then she just rolled it all the way across like twenty feet, across this wood floor. She said "Luc, paint the universe and I will help you."
Luc: And while, I still remember the electric feel within myself. Probably, the whole universe started moving in me, I was like I'm going to paint the universe. And it was so large... yeah.
Nimo: Yeah it was such a large thing, just the spirit of it Luc. I feel there is so much to receive from this. I remember this young girl, who's been dear to my heart, it's Priyanka. She once said to a big audience in Bombay, she said we don't need teachers, and everybody kind of gasped and she's like we need education fairies. And I feel like Rayma Hayes really is. That's a great lesson for all of us as adults that how do we allow our kids to paint the universe in whatever ways they can, because that really lead you to planting the seed for what you're doing now which is getting your chance to paint your life and to paint the universe in the way you want to. I kind of wanted to get into that.
Luc: Yes... Yes!
Nimo: Wow, thank you for sharing that brother. I really appreciate it
Luc: Yes, absolutely. And I just want to, yeah and the last thing I wanted to share is that the sweet Rayma Hayes who became a huge sacred person in the Meadow Valley. She did this with hundreds and hundreds of kids who have the same stories in their hearts and she passed away on this last Monday of this last week. And so this story is a poignant story and she had brain cancer and lung cancer. And it happened very quick, it was very quick, and she passed on with the utmost grace, unbelievable grace, and positive faith.. And our whole community kind of gathered around that and I just want to say a sweet.... Say that we love Rayma and to her husband John, we love you John. I just want to say that now she's with us.
Nimo: Thank you brother. Yeah absolutely, and I think we're saying that I hope people can get inspiration from her life and spends space and time with children in the way she did because... to see how human beings can come out of that.
Nimo: She definitely offered a lot to our planet, what a blessing.
Luc: Yes she has.
Nimo: And maybe we can do a moment of silence for her at the end, as we end our call. You know a blessing and prayer.
Luc: That sounds wonderful.
Nimo: So take us on a little hitchhike journey brother. How did you get into music because you were like from what I understand... You weren't singing and and doing many things musically in your childhood. And I think at some point it shifted, it sounded like your brother and sister and I mean your father and his sister were into, but it ended up not being something that you kind of last until later. So when did that happen? That's right, what happened? Because music is your life, when did that happen?
Luc: Yeah, yeah it's pretty incredible because yeah I grew up a total jock as I say. And you know. music, was definitely, was around me for sure. My dad, my mom, and her family, often my dad and my little sisters singing a lot and our whole family, from both sides music was really around. My dad was the lead singer. in the band. It so was all around me but I don't ask people. I was like basketball, football, I was just a jock, not just a jock but that was my focus.
Then I remember, it was my Junior year, a friend of mine was running off after practice, so I asked him where he was going? He was like I'm going to try out for this play and I was like really, wow, that sounds kinda cool. It was probably cool that he was trying not to awoke this thing in me. I wanted to do that, he told me play was Grease. I knew that, I knew the movie Grease because we watched it all the time and saying all the.parts.
So I went with him to try out the part. Off course I was trying out, super late. It was like way late in the trial like the last stand there, like we only got one teeny roll left Luc, but we want you in. We will give you this role, so it was like a one liner. I was like yeah, cool...I went to a practice and the guy who had gotten the lead role Ashford, an awesome musician in our community. He missed practice and was not able to come. And then I'm not sure, maybe something happened, with something with his life where he got really busy but that one practice I was doing it as a joke. They were like we need somebody to act in for Noah and Danny Zuko lead. I was like in a spunky mood and said I can do it. I think I was doing what kids do where you're kind of you act like you're making fun of something because you're kind of too cool to do it.
Nimo: Right, right...
Luc: But in your acting like you're making fun of it you get to do it. And so I kind of like I knew all the songs from the video and my family so I just started going like "Something about them.. had me a blast" (singing).
And I just, did all the moves. And basically after that practice at the end, they said they brought me back in a little room and said Luc, would you be interested in doing the lead because it sounds like the other guy can’t make the commitment. And I was like oh.. And then yeah...
Nimo: What did the jock in you feel about that?
Luc: Yeah, I felt a little kind of like a little bit of a mixing in the world. Little weird, but by that time I was kind of grown into like being able to follow what I want. Whether I thought it was me or my old self and thought it was me or not and so I knew I was intrigued.
So I said Ok. I'll do it. And then on I took it really seriously. I practiced and then it was a great show and that was it. It was singing and dancing and that was kind of like a start of it and then I got to really into filmmaking. Yeah kinda changed. My direction was that I was going to go to college. My dream was to be a basketball player in college and get a scholarship and then that kind all changed for the arts and suddenly I was headed into UW to do drama, acting, and filmmaking.
Nimo: Amazing man. So that's where the art.... So through Grease is where the artist in you apparently found an outlet and actually felt good about it. And it really connected you and then you went to Theater School, but from what I understand, years later you were still not a musician or an actor. You were working on a construction site at some point in 2005. So I don't know how much art you had to do with that in your life. At that point did you kind of let Arts go or where were you at in 2005?
Luc: In 2005, you know basically what happened is I went to college to do drama, theater and filmmaking and I loved it. I got so inspired, we had this one class that was trying to help us act better but the root of the class was listening to our breath so that we could be connected to the Present. This class took me so deep. It was like where I realized I really discovered meditation. And it was in this class that it started sparking all of this inner desire to search. So I decided after that class to take a break from college and take a hitchhiking trip to do a full on inner search and then it was on this hitchhiking trip that I was just going to follow the wind and that's when I picked up an acoustic guitar in San Francisco. And I started playing music on the Hitch Hiking trip and I didn't have any blockers and my whole goal was to just soul search and follow where I'm led and in about the space of a month.it exploded out music and I realized that it had been there all the time.
And I even hearken back to a memory back in high school in my junior days when a band came and played. I was sitting up in a band stand and they were playing all this music. I started singing in my head, all these parts and I remember my brain at that time was like, I think that could sound good but I’m not a musician--You know? I’m not a musician.
And so, it was once I released those--took that hitchhiking trip, released any of those blockers, I feel like the river was able to flow through. And to answer your question, I got back from that trip and I started kind of working on growing music. I was like, okay I want to do music. And I went back to my hometown to go deep into music, also into meditation and prayer. I guess I was checking out about becoming a monk almost. And it was there, when I was in Methow doing that. I was working at a construction site back in the mountains when I saw Hurricane Katrina. I saw the hurricane strike and I saw all the people in water asking for help. I said to myself, I can't believe this is happening in my own country. I gotta get their. And I gotta get there and help in some way.
And so I registered for Red Cross and it only took about four days. I was able to head down to New Orleans through Red Cross just about two weeks after Hurricane Katrina hit. I was going down there through Red Cross to just lift sandbags. I had my guitar. As you probably heard in the Ted Talk that I gave, I debated about whether to bring the guitar or not. I was a little embarrassed and sheepish about it. I knew if I brought the guitar, I would have to play and I was scared. I was like, can I play in the face of such tragedy? Can I play this happy music that I play. And I brought it and thank God I brought it. That was the best thing I had to give.
Nimo: So before we go forward because this is such an amazing train of events that are happening here that you are describing. I know we have only an hour, so to go into every single detail, but I think it's just amazing how your spirituality practices, I mean the fact that you went on a pilgrimage, hitchhiking pilgrimage just to kind of look inward, something triggered you to pull a guitar out. To use a guitar, from San Francisco, then practicing meditation back home, and thinking of wanting to become a monk? I don't think there are many human beings who can say, have thought about wanting to become a monk. I think it's just interesting how all of this culminates, Luc. Because only when those things are in place when your heart actually say, when something like a disaster in our country, would your heart be ready to say-- I’m going there. You know? So it's just amazing how seeds are planted. How we cultivate. And then when the time is right, we make a decision based on what our heart says. So it's not just, you have been cultivating for some time. And then you followed your heart at that point. Luckily, you took your guitar. So share with us, this moment in Baton Rouge which I feel from knowing your story, really changes the trajectory of the rest of your life. If you could give us a little more detail of these moments in Baton Rouge.
Luc: Yes it does, and did. I landed there in Baton Rouge, Red Cross sent me down there. The time was 2005. And it's just a couple weeks after Hurricane Katrina had hit, I brought my guitar. They funneled me to a shelter at Southern University in Baton Rouge. They were sending Red Cross from all over the country. So my job there at the shelter, this was a shelter with probably five to six hundred people. It was in a gymnasium. They were all spread out on cots.There is cots all over the gymnasium floor. There is no space, people are elbow to elbow. And they have just ran from their homes, they have just lost their homes. They’ve lost their communities, some of them have lost family members. Really deep stuff in that shelter. So my job was the facility manager. Basically I was the person that walked around. I would just check on everybody and how are they were doing. When people came in, I would give them ziplock bags full of toiletries, get them to their cots. It would be a whole family, I would bring them in and I would tell them where the bathrooms are, here is your cot. And then my job was just to check on everybody. You’re there and everybody is sitting. There is nothing to do. Amidst a lot of pain, a lot of unknown--I didn’t even think about playing the guitar at first. I didn’t even want to--
Nimo - Right, so much darkness you’re feeling…
Luc - Yeah, so scary to even think about strumming that guitar. But one day I wanted to do it just for myself to give myself energy. And I tried to get where nobody was. I went on the other side of the sport’s dome in the back. I started playing and there was just two guys sitting there next to me, smoking. I started playing Otis Redding, “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay”, just for myself. And they started singing the second I was playing--
Left my home in Georgia/and I headed towards the Frisco Bay…
They started singing the the whole thing! And I had to smile. We had this jam session, and I got it--the signal. I was like, Luc you gotta get out of yourself and you gotta play. Look how happy, that was the most happy you’ve seen people since you’ve been here. You gotta do that service. You gotta do that.
I didn’t know yet, that was going to be the service. But then I started trying it, and I started playing in the shelter. I saw the way people lit up. I’d instigate them to sing. Because when you sing, you empower yourself. You have freedom. And I’d see what it did, and the more I started dedicating myself. Playing in the morning, play. It started to become my service. Then a group of kids latched onto me, and as kids do with all of their energy; they wanted to sing. The parents were like, man you rock with these kids, because we need something for them to do.
I found this one all star girl who was a singer. She was ten years old and I was like, boom, her voice was incredible. So, we started doing our own mini, America’s Got Talent, The Voice, or whatever in our own plane of view. I gave her the verses and we started working on this song. This song. I had part of it; the first verse was a poem that had been written by a kid I worked with back in Seattle...We put together this song called “Freedom Song”. It was catchy, it had power, and it was about freedom. You would sing--
Freedom/ Know how you like that freedom…
And it worked. We would perform it and people would cry. Old people would cry, other folks. It was like a therapeutic flush. We dedicated ourselves to going around the shelter and playing to groups of people sitting there. They are sitting there in their robe. And we would do it. I guess I can say that that was where I discovered that music and service could join into one. That music is a powerful force and service that holds its own as a purpose, even in tragic situations. That, along with food, shelter that it holds a purpose. That changed my life. I could join music and service into one.
Nimo: Brother this is, and again, I see this as miracles happening right in front of your eyes. The one thing that I want to makes sure, that I hope our listeners can really get a feel of is, your transition there from not wanting to play music...Because from what I’m gathering is that your ego felt like, well if I play music, people are suffering here and I shouldn’t play music because maybe it’s showing off or maybe it isn’t the right energy.
And when you transitioned, a deep transition where something melted. It’s not about you, the music is all of ours. And you were just going to be an instrument, invisible instrument to offer it. And when that transition happened, it just started flowing and glowing and it just became for everyone. I don’t know, I see it as something that is not only about music. We all offer different things on this planet, but when we see ourselves as just a vessel for it then we can really come into our own. I think that is the message that you really shined from this transition and this shift that happened at the shelter there. So, thank you for that.
Luc: You said it Nimo. And you know what you made me think of right there is I’m amazed at how nervous one can get. That kind of thing with fear when a bunch of light is about to move through you that doesn’t have to do with you. And how to open yourself up to let that move through you. I find it fascinating. I pay attention to this. I pay attention to nervousness and fear when I know... That’s my signal that something great is going to move through me. Something larger, it’s interesting that my body and mind get nervous about light. You know, that does fit in with that. Marianne Williamson’s poem that Nelson Mandela did that “our greatest fear is not our darkness, it’s our light.” It fits with that and you are exactly right. It was my ego holding on for a little bit, like how could I sing this happy song in front of all this pain. Once I was able to move past that, there was something far greater...Like Reyna taught me, there was a far greater picture to unfold. It was like the lines in a tapestry, you can’t see it because you’re close up but if you let go of the fear, those things can move through you and you can be--something can happen, magic can happen--
Nimo: And magic did happen for you! You gotta share with us the “Freedom Song” magic. You gotta share with us the magic that unfolded from the “Freedom Song”. Because there was a lot of stuff that happened next. I know we have limited time, so I wanna really get into some of this.
Luc: Yes, absolutely. I’ll just give you the bullet point of what happened next because there is so much but we ended up recording that song. It was so good, I actually went all the way back home told the story to my grandfather, Dave Reynaud, and my grandmother, Barbara Reynaud, was listening. He got so excited, he said you should go back. I think you should record that song. He funded my trip back and I got my friend Benjamin Swatez. My great unbelievable friend who has now done just the best things with me--us together through life, that was our first big project. He went back with me to New Orleans. He had a camera. Benjamin and I found all the kids, and in a recording studio, we recorded the song.
Then we came back--there is a lot more about that story. The sweet man who took us into his recording studio, that church, and so much more I would love to share. But moving along, we brought that song back. Jason Mraz discovered the song five years later. Grammy award winning artist Jason Mraz discovered the song and Myspace’d me, asking if he could cover it. I hadn’t checked my Myspace in a month and I see this--
Nimo: That’s amazing. Jason Mraz, man! Thats huge.
Luc: Yeah, I had just seen him at the Grammys singing “I’m Yours”. Just a couple weeks before and I get on my Myspace--I was like, this message looks real! I thought it was spam at first. But I was like, this sounds like a real person saying:
Luc, Joseph Jackson of harmonic humanity gave me your song off of a compilation that you donated it to for homeless to sell in the street. I heard this song and I’m hooked on it. I wanted to get your permission to record it, make a smash hit, and I want to share the story along with the world.
I said yes! He did it. But not only did he do that, he shared the Freedom Song with an organization called Free the Slave. Our dear friend Peggy Callahan, they took that song to a shelter in Ghana for recently freed boy slaves. That song became their anthem. I was sent a video of twenty recently freed slaves, young boys that are now free. They were singing the “Freedom Song”, word for word, with Jason in video. They were singing it from their heart. That was one of the deepest spiritual moments where I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand. I was watching this video in Seattle at midnight after a long band practice, I see that this sweet little “Freedom Song” that we wrote with these kids in a shelter, after Hurricane Katrina; the song is now going even deeper. Its being song about freedom from bondage by the hearts of these young boys. It's still unfolding that story--
Nimo: Brother, this is huge and the reason I'm saying this is huge is not because of Jason Mraz, that is actually amazing and I love that story. What's amazing to me is just the flow of all of this. You create this, you emerge, your heart emerges to say I can offer music, as a service. You connect with children. You give them the opportunity to create a song or co-create a song with you. Your first tour is in this shelter, most people say OK my first tour is around these countries, these cities. Your first tour is in the shelter in Baton Rouge where you tour different families. And then your grandfather tells you to go back and record it. You record it and you get a MySpace message from two time Grammy Award winning artist, one of the more famous artists in the world and it connects to all these amazing efforts to serve humanity. So, for me what I'm getting out of this loop is that you're teaching us a lesson and you're not even trying. You are just living your life following your heart but the more purity you offer to the world and in the way you offer it, and whatever you're offering, your music. it's allowing it to be used on a compilation for homeless people to sell for free, because you just want them to want to support. All of this leads to the magic that comes back and supports you and it's a.great message for us to take that when we do something with the pure intention, the world will always conspire. Have you felt that energy as you continue this journey of music and service that the world conspires to serve you as well?
Luc: Yes I would say yes. I feel like when I look at my life, it's been a total example of following your heart. And I I am amazed the way that life has led the way in many ways for me. And following your heart, being a conduit.I trust in something amazing, something larger. I think humans are this incredible.beings and what a marvelous mystery. .
Nimo: I want to ask you about Luc and Lovingtons. You guys have formed this beautiful band and something very special has come out of that, which is the Goodness tour. I mean this is such an unique offering that you do not hear about in the world. Most people do tours to make money but here you guys are raising money so you can tour and serve. So, tell us about that. Tell us about the group and about this amazing tour you guys are doing, you have done already as well.
Luc: Yes it's called the Goodness tour and it's a direct extension or blossoming of what I discovered in that shelter about music and service. But the Goodness tour is “Music and art for people facing adversity”. And we wanted to take music where it can't be paid for. We wanted to deliver music, live music and art to people that are facing extreme hardship. And that's what the Goodness tour does. It’s a ticketless tour. And so yes as you said one of the catch phrases is, we don't do concerts to raise money for the homeless, we raise money to do concerts. I don't even know if I said that right but the main point is the service is the concert and the service is the music. We've done two Goodness tours down the West Coast and they incorporated going to about twenty.different shelters for people facing homelessness and then a hospital. We did a show for cancer patients and their families, we did a show for children in critical condition and in a hospital, handicapped and also in juvenile centers, crisis centers for youth. And that's what the Guinness concert is. We've done two so far and we're going to continue to do this and you can learn all about it on our on our website www.lucandthelovingtons.com. You can can see all the videos and that tour has changed our lives.
Nimo: I'm excited to be able to come hopefully one day to one of these tours. I want to ask you from these two tours you've done. Give us some some insight into something that just blew your mind. What's magical about about these interactions you're having in these and and the service you're doing.
Luc: Great question. I feel like we have been able to witness the true healing power of music and live music and art. I feel like we've been able to see the molecular changes in front of my eyes happen to the people that we're playing for and I watch it happen, I watch this process happen it's almost like you start the show the music starts. And it's almost like you can see the molecules heat up and start to move around in the room. One prime example, actually two at the same place. We played at a soup kitchen in San Francisco called St.Martin's. Beautiful Soup Kitchen, Sunday morning eleven A.M., we're in this little courtyard and we're playing to probably forty people. A lot of whom have slept all night out on the street and they're moseying in at eleven A.M. on a foggy San Francisco morning and they're waiting to get some soup out in this courtyard. We setup and crack the first sound of music and of course we try to start out gentle and just start vibrating. But as you can imagine there are some hard looking characters some people that have.been living a hard life, but there's a mixture of so many different stories in that moment. And I remember when we started playing and I could feel these little warm changes start to happen. Around our second song actually I was amazed how warmed up people had become and some people were even singing along with us. And it was really going good and I was glancing around and I always have a little bit of a smile when I sing. I learnt that from the shelter, not to hold back my joy even if i'm amidst pain And it's not like you do it in the face, you're sensitive you tune into what the environment is and so it's a natural joy. I'm standing around with a little bit of a grin. I look and I see this one guy and the look on his face almost scared me. He was scowling and had an intense look. I looked at him just for a second and then looked away and I was like oh gosh I don't know if I can look at that guy for a little while. Because, there was so much intensity. Ok, I got to just keep concentrating on the song and music. And I knew in my head we're all playing, not everybody is going be excited about the music or it's hand in hand. And.at the end of our show about an hour later and we had people that were standing up dancing, we had people join in and they started singing they were playing instruments, a very integrated thing. Accidentally my eyes looked over at that same guy. And he was quite a different person. He had all this light, his face was red, his cheeks were raised he was smiling and he was tapping his hand on the table and he looked like a child and I was like we got him in my head, we got him on board. Because he was so scary in the beginning. And from watching this, I think music can go underneath the mind and hear this primal chord in a human that can actually take them to almost a childlike state of innocence and joy. And that's why you and I who are musicians, we call it magical or people call music magic. Because even somebody who has a story that's full of pain in that moment somehow can still tap that primal cord beneath the brain that is free, like where the soul is free. (singing) Freedom!
Nimo: Thank you buddy for sharing that. Out of all the things you do when that transition happened with that man at that space you just are paid back everything you've ever done. The biggest payback in the world. It was awesome to hear that story.
Luc: Nimo can I tell you one more 30 second story?
Luc: Okay this is at the same place another guy after our show came back and came up to me. I remember him because the second song he started singing he started singing so much he was ready to just be the singer and we were ready to let him(laughter). He is living on the street and he came back to me after the show and he said, “Listen your guys’ music opened up so much in me, I was about to sing but I don't want to take over your whole show. You gave me so much energy that when I went outside I got three things done that I have been trying to do for two years. And one of them was calling my family.”
Nimo: Oh my gosh!
Luc: And just right there you know it was just a boost, the boost that he needed. Like a car that needs a jump and you come up with jumper cables and that's what we want to provide, the main essence of what we want to do with the goodness tour is to give energy, give a free boost.
Nimo: You are doing it brother. This is amazing. I love hearing it. I wanted to ask you, right now you guys are working on an album called “Welcome to My House.” And I wanted to get into what's driving you to write the song? What's underneath that? One of my favorite lines in “Welcome to My House” is, “even though you kicked me out, welcome to my house.” And I'm like. “Man! More than ever in this day and age these words are so important!” And, “You are welcome to my house.” What a beautiful time to use this as your song and album title. Tell us about what's inspiring you to write this song. Share some of the songs and concepts with us from this upcoming album.
Luc: Every song that I write comes from something. Something that happens around me, something that I go through. And the ‘Welcome to my house’ song came about because I witnessed a moment, an example of the difference between judging someone, just how easy it is for us humans to judge, and I witnessed this one kid that was getting up to sing and I noticed some people were judging, and we all worked to change that, to change that in our heads and actually wish him the best, and this kid ended up blowing our minds. And I always thought to myself, “Why would you not want to see somebody shine? Why would you not want to get your whole mind blown by this love? And so that became the verse to the song. (Sings) “Welcome to my house so we started working on why would you not want to see somebody shine why would you not want to get you home we kept singing it and then it blossomed into that chorus, “Every day, I keep joy in my walk, love in my talk, peace in my house. You're welcome to my house, welcome to my house, you're welcome to my house.” It's really about being the peace and everything you want to see but always welcoming everyone to your house so we wrote that song and then in the same spirit of the goodness tour we traveled to a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan. We went with the help of Voices of the Children, an organization that I guess you could say we almost mystically magically found right next to us in the Northwest. Voices of the children to pass over there we collaborated and that same great friend Benjamin had a huge part in it, in convincing me and leading us into this journey to go to the Syrian refugee camp and on our whole team there are so many names I could list. Over there we gave free art courses and classes and then it was actually from that that we decided that we wanted to make a music video and we made this Welcome to My House music video and that is the first song that we just released on this new album and it features Syrian refugees and American teens singing Joy love and peace and you're welcome to my house in both English and Arabic. And it's about exactly that this world is a home for us to share.
Nimo it's a beautiful, beautiful video I hope our audience members really get a chance to see that because you really you're working beautifully in that video and you get a good vibe of Luc and the Lovingtons in this. Amazing. Any other songs from the album or just concepts are you guys still in the writing process where are you guys at?
Luc: Yeah we're working on a song right now, I don't have the title yet, but one of the chorus parts is, “I will not be afraid of the other. I will not be afraid of the other,” and I just find that to be a huge thing in humanity, that fear of the other and a sense that there is danger in the world and there are no buts, no buts no matter what fear of the others or do any type of good thing you know I always say stretch past the natural tendency of the human bind to group and Pierce through to the individual soul. Is the moment because the moment you group the moment you create another it's just wild the way you can see the way the human brain works maybe it has to do with Primal protection but you can see it even in politics the second you find out somebody has heard the other candidate there's this other energy screen that can go up into your body and they become the other you watched families fall into it and it's wild and it can take over your energy and it takes a lot of discipline to move past but you know I believe love is our greatest protection.
Nimo: This is me this is just amazing. Ask you because music and Performing and being in front of groups and having videos done of yourself and all these things actually cater to our ego as human beings as animal species whatever it is it's no doubt that it creates a block for the internal process to purify the heart and take care of by the mind. And you're doing all this and yet love for you is still the bottom line. And ask you how do you do this process how do you keep grounded how do you keep love at the center how to keep Celsius Center Celsius center of what you're doing? So where's that coming from from you.
Luc: I would say meditation is one of my number one tools and and prayer as well. I find both meditation and prayer to be my number one tools for letting energy come, and love come, and then exercise, I find to be a great one for me. Bob Marley always said, “When a man fit, he feel good.” I think he was meaning man as general humankind, man or woman. I would say those are the tools that help an abundance of energy come through me, and I'm not in charge, something comes through me, and the responsibility lessens a little bit. In a way if you're trying to think your way into things that seems like it becomes a problem-- I remember when I was younger I got into the pressure of thinking about what I'm capable of -- trying to think my way through. I find it a lot easier, actually I find it way more powerful, to just let it come, come through me. From the source.
Nimo: Thank you brother. I am just honored and humbled and happy that you are here on this planet with all of us. My prayers brother, to keep offering yourself as an instrument while you're here, and let your instruments be instruments you know. It’s a blessing to have you.
Luc: Thank you Nimo I know you do great work yourself. It’s an honor to talk to you.
Rish: thank you Luc and Nimo. I really enjoyed the back and forth from one artist to another with beautiful stories emerging. I'd like to open up with something that I myself was curious about when I was listening to you chatting. Luc it seems like several times you've gotten out of your own way. Like when you were at the shelter you were kind of hesitant to play music, but you took your guitar to Baton Rouge. Early in your life trying out for the Grease musical even though it wasn't something you really wanted to do. Do you have advice for listeners about getting out of your own way?
Luc: Great question. I think I can only relate it into I guess you'd say the tricks that I have learned for that. One of them is realizing that it's not about you. That helps me get out of the ego part that creates a lot of fear. I just tell myself let the natural light and the natural talent that is in you come out. It's not yours, it's not about you. That always gives me great courage and it's so helpful. Really helpful for me even when doing a bigger show that's in front of a lot of people and if I find myself getting nervous I'm able to settle down by saying, “It's just going to happen through you and it's not about you. Just let it shine and I believe in God and I love God and so I say let God come through. But I think no matter what you believe in no matter what your terminology is let the greatest talent that you have to share let it be shared. It’s not about you.
Rish: We have a comment from Michael Rosen
How wonderful that something you love can be your Service...your gift to the Universe. Thank you for bringing joy into the lives of people so in need of uplift & strengthening. You give people a voice. Bless you. Mish in NYC
Springing off of that -- tell me about this idea of giving people a voice through music. You give people a voice -- you shared in your concerts, the tapping of the feet, the spontaneous energy that flows through the people you’re playing for, and earlier you mentioned music as an antidote to pain, but also it seems like it’s giving voice to the pain.
Luc: Yes that's right. I thought of my dad. I thought about how when I was little he would have these campfires. And his biggest deal was to play the guitar and get everybody to sing. And I think that’s a tradition that’s come through the family, through my grandfather - he would always just get everybody to sing. And i learned to love that myself. The power of humans all singing together. The sing alongs -- you’ve got Pete Seeger you’ve got artists who do that all over. I guess that would be one answer. I love the power of everybody sharing their voice. And getting lit up. And I remember a concert I saw with Jimmy Cliff and he made me so happy to be me. I wasn’t watching and thinking - “Oh I could never be that. He’s so amazing!” He made me excited to be me. I remember my dad even saying that when he would do concerts he always wanted to make people feel like they could do this too. And that became the kind of artist that I strived to be.
By singing about pain, by singing about what you're going through or music that goes through that vibration, it can free it. Millions of human experience this all over the world every day. You listen to a song when you're in a period of time and that song maybe singing about something that you're going through and it is relief even if it was somewhat of a bad song, it almost releases that energy. It allows you to not feel wrong for having and knowing that others have it. I think there are so many ways that the music can do that and I think it can help expand. It's almost like you were in the body that are small and seemingly captivated in this body capsulized in music can suddenly just fly outside of it all.
Nimo: Very great visual.
Rish: One more comment from online. This person, Lakshmidevi Vasudevan is actually talking about guided force, intuition, awareness and some actions which are spontaneous. Practice of being and listening to everything around you, allowing things to be. I think that was just a note of gratitude for the work that you do. Thank you again from on behalf of one of our listeners.
Nimo: It just sort of reminded me of an article that I read recently that actually put scientific fact to a lot of all this and I wish I had the wording right but they have developed new discovery that music triggers a place in the brain that nothing else does and even like normal sound they've been able to test dogs bark all these different sounds but then a succession over something like five to ten seconds of musical chord actually ignite a point in the brain and atmosphere. It's very cool almost like a portal to the soul. I think of it as music soul communication.
Luc: Absolutely Even though it's only thoughts and words to what we all feel when we listen to music and I know speaking for myself but it so ancient right. Just like you look at any culture any music, dance, food I mean this is what people refer to it when they talk about culture. It's so rooted in the history of humanity.
Nimo: I want to share a quote by two time Grammy Award winners Jason Mraz as one of my new favorite groups, “I think they're one of the most heart centered bands out there today”. This is no joke to get a quote like that from a multi million album selling artist. That is about you - Luc and the Lovingtons. What I want to ask you is this journey of being a heart centered group, a group that looks to serve, going into spaces that you guys do on these goodness tours really aligning and staying rooted to your values. This is like the antithesis of the music industry, you guys are walking against the grain. In a tremendous way so I wanted to ask you as you hold steady to your values and to your deepest belief to be an instrument to serve and still be a part of this industry which is the music industry, very egocentric, greed centric industry, where have you found your deepest challenges as a person internally for sure as well as externally may be walking on this path over the past years. I just want to hear from your end.
Luc: My deepest challenges as a person in maneuvering through the music industry, is that basically the the question.
Nimo: Yeah, yeah. I mean considering you, your values and everything are not necessarily what the music industry is?
Luc: One of the greatest challenges that so many artists face is the financial challenge and being able to make a living, doing what you do. So what happens is there is a little bit of a river or a groove that has been created like you said in the music industry that naturally sends you in this direction that says, “This is how you're going to make a living” and “This is how you're going to do it” and oftentimes that centered around the most publicity you can get, the most fans you can get. The more fans that you can accumulate and more sales and more money and I actually have nothing wrong with that. I just found ourselves constantly saying like how can we go direct from the heart and keep doing this. I found myself having a real hard time with doing the journey of playing in nightclubs and constantly having that be your form of performances only from ten to twelve am in a dark lit nightclub with often times alcohol filled is the biggest thing surrounding it. We just kept searching for a different way and to go our own way. The Goodness Tour became a pivotal moment where we kind of decided we want to create a new groove in the music industry. We actually want to create something that other artists could do and in the way it can work is if you're able to go provide these free shows for people facing adversity and you're able to to get sponsorship or you're able to get funding for numerous different ways. But one of the greatest ways we came up with is so far is sponsorship where this would be the type of deal where the band would be like a social worker. You would make social worker wages and you would go provide this music service. If you want the rock star wages then I added now you got to sell out the arenas, you got to get a YouTube hit, you gotta do all these those things which fortunately actually some of those you can do while still following your heart and creating the rates on getting a YouTube hit and you can do that and we want to do both but what I love is like we kept thinking like ok, we'll wait until we we make it and then will do these tour of refugee camps and we just kept saying no we're not going to wait for anything we're going to do what we most want to do right now. We're working on this Goodness tour to create a model that other bands that want to do that want to bring their music to people facing adversity, they can follow this model, they could potentially be funded. We develop all type of testing around what this music service does. I told you story of our testing but keep expanding it.
Rish: Beautiful. We have some more questions from listeners. We have a comment from from a listener in California, “Luc thank you for your music and spirit. You’re a gift to the world who are fresh in humility and generosity to approach in contrast to the stereotype of the self-centered artist.” and then there's a two part question here, “What is your relationship to ambition today?”. I think you answered some of that. Second one , “What are the inner boundaries or edges that you find yourself exploring at this stage in your journey?
Luc: When it comes to ambition, I had a hard time with that in my early twenty's when I didn't want to have my life and be coming from my ego and I didn't know how to combine ambition with feeling like ego with a part of bigger cause and now a lot more clear about that and my greatest ambition is to create the most amount of love that I'm capable of creating and sharing through new love and art and that allows me to have no problem with being ambitious. And then the second part of the question, the inner boundaries and edges I find it like having a lot of trust right now between my ideas of where I'm going and between the larger unfolding that is potentially have happening and some of the edges I kind of stand between that and I am trying to figure out is that whole visioning process where your vision is what you want to see happening and what you want to do. But I'm also tuning into how can I listen and you know what and how can I be attentive to what's happening that I couldn't even in vision and that is a little bit of a tricky line that I would say I am walking in now as a challenge. I want to I want to take our band all around the world to sharing this music of love and a little bit of a timeline and there's goal that fit with that and I'm also trying to open up for the unimaginable and just stay tuned into the present and what I can't think of and what I can't envision.
Rish: Beautiful. I think we can all relate to that and some ways. Next one is from Brenda, Portland Oregon -- What are songs by other artists that have deeply inspired you?
Luc: Oh yeah. I could say both India Arie and Bob Marley come to mind. India Arie has these songs “Strength courage and wisdom it's been inside of me all along”. She just had these songs that really really power you up and down. That was one strength courage and wisdom and then Bob Marley has a lot there and given me and millions around the world a lot of power.
Rish: We are pretty close to the end here. Just more gratitude flowing in from the web. We have a live comment from Michael in Augsburg, Germany. “Thanks so much for your amazing work and words of wisdom! As a meditator and a musician myself I feel very much drawn towards serving with what I love and believe in as well, from the heart and getting the message out there. Thanks for the inspiration. Love is the path to true freedom”.
We will wrap up with one final question that we'd like to ask all of our guests. Obviously you are doing amazing work and here at ServiceSpace we always like to ask how can we as the larger service based community help support your work. Can you talk on that?
Luc: Make me want to roll out that paper that Rayma rolled out. Staying in in the conversation and spreading the word about goodness tour and what we are up to and that model. If you go to lucandlovington, we put a lot of of of our art work up there we put the in the goodness tour or a lot of visuals from our journey on that and then this “Welcome to My House” video which is actually what I'm really most trying to share around the world because living right here in the United States and being so close to refugees, I am deeply pained that refugees and other humans not having a place to go to live safely. Those are our Aunts and Uncles, those are our brothers and sisters they could be any one of us at any time and you're looking out for other humans who have the light in their eyes and understanding that you're just looking for a place to live safely and so we've been trying to share this song “Welcome to My House” around the world has Syrian refugees and American teen singing together “Joy Love and Peace” and “Welcome to My House” and it's from that place in the heart of deep human hospitality to welcome all people to your house and not be afraid of the other. Share that song, it's right there on our website “Welcome to My House” by Luc and Lovingtons and just helping share that voice all around the world is the message that we're we're working on right now and we're going to kind of keep working to share that.
Rish: That's beautiful and I love that it is very specific so will definitely rally around that and your larger ambition supporting and creating the most amount of love. I think that's something we can all get behind so thank you Luc. I want to say truly deeply thank you so much. I think the last hour and a half has been very enlightening in terms of understanding how music can be such a force of light in dire situations, dark situations and to see how you have carried that is really beautiful for us. Thank you Nimo for moderating and thank you Luc.
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