Tony Lucca

We’re staying red hot here at PEV following our big 900th feature; today and tomorrow we bring you an interview with perhaps our favorite The Voice contestants ever, Michigan singer/songwriter Tony Lucca. Lucca, out of Rock Ridge Music is one of those artists that makes the staff here scratch their collective heads: “We’ve featured Tony before, right? We’ve head to!... Right?”

Truth be told, Lucca is a perfect example of the type of artist PEV loves – amazingly talented, genuine, hard working – all in the name of the craft he calls “soul-folk”. He’s been in this business for a while, from singing in various bands since the age of 12 and performing alongside Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera as part of the Mickey Mouse Club to creating solo records like “So Satisfied”, “Strong Words, Softly Spoken”, “Shotgun”, “Canyon Songs”, “Come Around Again” and “Rendezvous With The Angels”.
His latest collection (out last year) is titled “Under the Influence”. We asked Tony to talk about the effort with us: “It's basically a homage to artists I grew up listening to. My first all-covers project. It also served as an experiment for me personally to shift directions musically; sort of away from the acoustic-guitar-singer/songwriter thing and more towards a classic rock thing. It also marks the first time I let someone else take the reins completely on the producing end. It's hard to believe it took me so long. I'm really proud of this record.” So now you have two methods of checking out Mr. Lucca: Pick up “Under the Influence” and watch him dominate the competition (alongside PEV alum Charlotte Sometimes) in the Battle Rounds of The Voice. Get on it! Right now, however, there’s much more for you to get into, so keep reading for all the answers to the XXQ’s.

XXQs: Tony Lucca (PEV):  How would you describe your sound and what do you feel makes you stand out over the others in your genre?

Tony Lucca (TL): I'm a singer/songwriter with a great deal of soul baked into the crust. I know there are a lot of artists in this category but I definitely feel like I've managed to carve out my own brand of what I like to refer to as "Soul-Folk."

PEV: Raised in Waterford, Michigan, you began singing at age 3; by 12 you were writing and playing in Detroit-area bands, as well as a teen, you lived in Orlando, Florida, where he worked for four seasons on the Disney Channel's "Mickey Mouse Club" alongside such future superstars as Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and *Nsync's Justin Timberlake and JC Chasez. Having come a far way since then, what kind of music where you into growing up? Was anyone your main influence? As well, is there one artist now that you look admire in your genre?

TL: I grew up on everything from KISS to Bryan Adams, Led Zeppelin to Marvin Gaye. Really, I was all over the place, though when I embarked upon my career in songwriting I gravitated to the greats like Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon, Jackson Browne and CSN. Today I have a tremendous respect and appreciation for Jeff Tweedy (of Wilco.) I think he has a real grasp on the language as well as the craft. I often ask myself when writing, "What would Tweedy do?" No kidding. It usually steers me away from the trite and cliché.

PEV: Was there a certain point in your life when you knew you wanted music to be a large part of your life, if not the biggest part?

TL: I always knew I would wind up in music. However, after my acting career was beginning to take off, I realized that if I ever wanted to establish any real credibility as a music artist, I was going to have to do that first and then come back to the acting. Singers can usually dabble in acting with more credibility than actors dabbling in music. Not sure why, it's just sort of an "ism" of sorts.

PEV: Tell us about your first ever live performance.

TL: My first live performance as a singer, outside of church and school plays, was at a junior high activity night at my cousin's school. I was the front man of our band. I was in 6th grade. We played “Sweet Child Of Mine” by GNR, “New Sensation” by INXS, “Rock-N-Roll” by Zeppelin. It was crazy. We were instant rock stars. Greatest night of my life up till then. 

PEV: What was it like for you when you first started out and making the transition to professional musician?

TL: I didn't really grasp the breadth of my career until I started touring. I had been making records for a few years, playing locally in LA with a few shows in NYC here and there. But once I got out on the road and realized what it was going to take to maintain it, my lifestyle began to shape itself around the commitment. I realized that the creative/fun part was just that; a part to a much larger equation.

PEV: With so much success already, with songs featured on TV's "Friday Night Lights," "Brothers & Sisters," "Shark," and "Felicity" and in Kevin Costner's feature "Open Range”, seen on E! Entertainment Televsion and A&E, and performed numerous times on NBC's "Last Call With Carson Daly." And recently appeared as yourself on NBC's "Parenthood," performing your song "Like Love."  With all of that, do you remember the first time you thought to yourself – “I am really onto something!”?

TL: When the licensing money started to come in from the likes of “Felicity” and “Shark,” I remember thinking that, "Ok, there's money to be made here. We just have to get as many irons in the fire as humanly possible." Yeah, it was an eye opener for sure.

PEV: What can fans expect from a live Tony Lucca performance?

TL: Everything I've got that night. Sometimes it surprises me what comes out. Sometimes I feel lucky to have made it through at all. There's a lot of ups and downs in this line of work and unfortunately that often includes my output on stage. I always strive to keep folks entertained and of course eager to come back for more eventually. 

PEV: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you step on stage?

TL: "Remember: there's probably someone here who's never seen you play before. Get them listening."

PEV:  What is the underlining inspiration for your music? Where do get your best ideas for your songs?

TL: I once read that, "There is no inspiration without migration," or something to that effect. Can't remember who said it but yeah, I'd have to say that a consistent change of scenery usually keeps me inspired. It helps keep the perspective fresh.

PEV: Tell us more about your latest release, “Under The Influence” and why you feel so passionate about this project. What can fans expect from this work?

TL: It's basically an homage to artists I grew up listening to. My first all-covers project. It also served as an experiment for me personally to shift directions musically; sort of away from the acoustic-guitar-singer/songwriter thing and more towards a classic rock thing. It also marks the first time I let someone else take the reins completely on the producing end. It's hard to believe it took me so long. I'm really proud of this record.

PEV: You recently appeared on the mega-hit show The Voice, where you were selected to the next round. What has this whole experience been like?

TL: Like nothing else. I've met some of the greatest singers on the planet and have begun working with some of the most revered people in the industry. The show is an incredible stage from which to perform and one I'm honored to be a part of. 

PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about Tony Lucca?

TL: That I'm one hell of a homemaker, actually. When I'm home I'm usually the one cooking breakfast, doing the laundry and vacuuming the floors. It keeps me motivated somehow. It's very objective, goal-oriented work and I think I need that to keep my head on straight.

PEV: What one word best describes Tony Lucca?

TL: I'd like to think 'normal' though that alone probably makes me everything but...

PEV: How is life on the road for you in the music world? Best and worst parts?

TL: I love being in a different city every day. I love seeing new places, playing for fresh ears. It can be a bit of a time warp though. Time flies and at the same time you cover so much ground in such a short time that it can feel like you've been away for much longer than you really have been. It's weird. It's certainly NOT for everyone. 

PEV: Is there one area you wish you could travel around and play that you have not yet? Why?

TL: Australia. It just strikes me as a more rowdy and uncut version of the states. I imagine they rock a little harder down under.

PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your career? What’s it like when you get to play in your hometown, and in front of your family/friends?

TL: My family is great. They've always been supportive. I come from a very large music making family and so mine is really just another story in a rather long line of successful musical journeymen. I'm a proud torch-bearer for my friends and family. 

PEV: What can we find you doing in your spare time, aside from playing/writing music?

TL: Cooking. Reading. Putting together puzzles with my 2-year-old and Legos with my 4th grader. 

PEV:  Is there an up and coming band or artist you think we should all be looking out for now?

TL: Delta Rae, Gary Clark Jr., Brian Wright, The Ladies Gun Club, and Devon Sproule.

PEV: If you weren’t playing music now what do you think you would be doing as your career?

TL: I'd have gone to college, hopefully having obtained a career in either psychology or architecture. Always had an interest in those fields.

PEV: So, what is next for Tony Lucca?

TL: Battle Rounds!



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