It’s not always easy being the offspring of a famous musician. But Lukas Nelson — one of Willie Nelson’s sons — seems to be figuring it out really well.
Lukas has been around artists all his life, and he’s learned a lot from his dad and other musicians. But he’s got a sound that is very much all his own — and it’s evident on his latest album that is simply named after him and his band: "Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real."
Nelson stopped by The Frame studios to chat with John Horn about his musical influences and how he's finding his own way.
On his music-making process and whether writing and recording an album comes before he thinks about taking the songs on the road:
I started playing music when I was young. I started touring with my dad first, so I guess the road came first. And then I started writing songs and then eventually started playing with my own band. And really, what records are these days are just ways to get people to hear you and come to your live shows, because [a record] is like a promotional tool rather than a way to make money.
On when he found his unique voice as a musician and started to get taken seriously for his own music:
It's evolved. It's a slow process. What I do is I keep my head down and I practice and practice and practice and I play as much as I can. Because I know that's what it takes to succeed, no matter who you are, no matter where you come from. I just put in the time as if I was an Olympic athlete and I'm training. When you look at an athlete whose parent was an athlete, you learn from your parent how much work it takes in order to get to that certain level of success in your field. And so I know from watching my dad work his ass off how much work it takes to get that good.
Talent is a small part of it, but also persistence and practice and passion is a large portion of what drives success. And so I am taking 100 percent responsibility in my own future by practicing day in and day out, studying my field, and becoming what I hope to be one of the best musicians that I can possibly be. I've got a great band [that] feels the same way. We played Desert Trip with Neil Young and blew everyone away out there. And a lot of people felt like that was their favorite, out of Paul McCartney and The Rolling Stones and all these guys that were out there. And so I know that I can go out play a live show that blows somebody's mind. I'm not trying to run away from who my dad is. I'm proud of who he is and I wouldn't be anywhere without him, if just for the inspiration that I've got from him.
We were writing together and we acted together in this movie, "A Star is Born," with Bradley Cooper. Bradley saw me at Desert Trip with Neil Young and asked me to consult him as a musician and make sure he's authentic looking up there and help him sing. And then I started writing songs for the movie, so I've got a bunch of songs in the movie with [Lady Gaga] and on my own. And then my band is also acting as Bradley Cooper's band in the movie, so we became a big part of that movie.
To hear the full interview with Lukas Nelson, click the blue player above.