Q&A with Louisiana Music Hall of Famer, Lucas Spinosa - keyboard player with a remarkable talent for songwriting

"Stay true to yourself, don't try to be something you are not. Do not let the outside forces try to change you to something they want you to be. Each person is unique and should always be confident in who they are. I'm built from rhythm & blues, swamp pop, traditional country and rock 'n' roll; that's what I'm made of."

Lucas Spinosa: Southern Music Memories

Lucas Spinosa developed an interest in music by the age of eight years old and has been playing professionally since junior high school. By the time he reached nineteen, he had recorded his first album. He has a great interest in writing, including an expansive library of original songs. He recorded four albums with his band, Lucas Spinosa & Southern Star and a fifth album released in 2018 with eight of his original songs recorded by Rougon. Lucas’ career has allowed him to travel extensively from coast to coast in the United States. He has worked as a studio musician at such studios as "Studio East" in San Diego, CA, and “Bluff Road Studio”, “Dockside Studio” and "Studio in the Country" all in south Louisiana. He has performed on many recordings with individual artists, including Brooke Benton and Melanie. He has opened shows for a variety of groups and individual artists such as, Sha Na Na, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Three Dog Night and B.J. Thomas. As the Manager and Promoter for Lucas Spinosa & Southern Star, he secured a contract with the Coors Light - Silver Bullet Tour to include shows with Tracy Lawrence, Martina McBride, Waylin Jennings, Ray Charles and various performances in Atlanta for the 1996 Olympics. The tour brought about several product endorsements and national sponsorships with Coors Light, Yamaha International, Mesa Boogie, etc.

Today Lucas is proud to be a part of the band Rougon, performing his original songs with a mix of rhythum & blues, classical rock and a little swamp pop. Working from songs written by Lucas Spinosa, several of Louisiana’s most talented and most popular music personalities are collaborating on a compilation CD, “Friends and Legends of Louisiana” (2019). The idea for a collaboration of Louisiana artists came to be through the musical masterminds of Lucas Spinosa and Mike David. Their desire to develop a project that featured some of the best artists and musicians in and around Louisiana came easily with their knowledge and experience in the music industry. A project that would include a variety of sounds and genres to cover the melting pot of musical styles in the great south. Spinosa a career musician and songwriter, and David a long-time music promoter and manager. The two put together their best contacts and talent to create the gumbo-rich music on this new album.

Interview by Michael Limnios

How has the Blues and Louisiana's music influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

Being born and raised in south Louisiana, it's music is a natural educator. I grew up being infused with blues and other styles from the south. It has helped me to embrace others and learn from diversity. Music in the south has become the foundation of my everyday life.

How started the thought of “Friends & Legends of Louisiana” project? How do you describe album's music philosophy?

One of my closest friends and music confidants, Mike David, and I were researching new project ideas. We wanted to produce something that headlined some of the best talents in south Louisiana. Something that would really show off the melting pot of sounds that we grew up on. Luckily, between the two of us we had plenty of contacts. We were fortunate to enlist some of the best vocalists and musicians around. The album represents the diverse sounds and abilities of each performer. I wrote each song in particular for each vocalist and directed each player to enrich the south Louisiana vibe.

Which meetings have been the most important experiences?       (Photo: Lucas Spinosa)

I was lucky enough to meet Stevie Wonder when I played as a studio musician early in my career. He and I sat at the piano together and played songs from his album "The Key of Life". I realized then through our conversations that music really was the key to life. I was able to meet a variety of artists through my sponsorship with Coors Brewery in the 1990's. I was able to travel the country and perform openings for various artists (Tracy Lawrence, Tracy Byrd, Martina McBride, Ray Charles) which truly helped me to grow as a musician and performer.

"Music in the south has become the foundation of my everyday life."

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?

When I was a young man, I was told by my peers "to always try to play with other musicians that are better than you"; so, you can learn from them. To this day, I surround myself with the best of the best and it truly pushes me to write, produce and perform at the highest level.

Are there any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

In 1996, I was fortunate to play a show for the Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia. The show included Tracy Lawrence, Waylon Jennings, Ray Charles and others. It was such a great show and gave me opportunities to observe and gain perspective as a musician.

What do you miss most nowadays from the music of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

I miss the traditional sounds of Otis Redding, Bobby "Blue" Bland, Conway Twitty, BB King ... These are sounds that really define musical excellence. Some of the sounds today, in my opinion, are simply not musical at all. My biggest fear is those sounds will become the new norm and the true old timers will fade.

What would you say characterizes Louisiana's scene in comparison to other US scenes? What touched (emotionally) you?

Louisiana music is here to stay.  A lot of music scenes come and go.  But the sounds of Louisiana ... the New Orleans jazz, the R&B, the Swamp Pop and Rock 'n' Roll of Louisiana ... will forever be in the history books. We here in the south have an emotional bond with our music and will keep it in tradition and not be moved by progressives.

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?                                             (Photo: Lucas Spinosa)

Stay true to yourself, don't try to be something you are not. Do not let the outside forces try to change you to something they want you to be. Each person is unique and should always be confident in who they are. I'm built from rhythm & blues, swamp pop, traditional country and rock 'n' roll; that's what I'm made of.

"When I was a young man, I was told by my peers "to always try to play with other musicians that are better than you"; so, you can learn from them. To this day, I surround myself with the best of the best and it truly pushes me to write, produce and perform at the highest level."

What is the impact of music on the socio-cultural implications? How do you want it to affect people?

I want my music to make people smile. If through my music I can make people fell good and be happy; it's makes me feel full in my heart.

Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really want to go for a whole day?

I would travel to the future ... I would like go tour overseas with the "Friends & Legends of Louisiana" band. Spread the gumbo of sounds throughout the world!

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