Jason LaVeris, FilmMagic
"There's always gonna be guys who are just wonderful singers and probably shouldn't be writing songs," Luke tells the Los Angeles Times. "Then there's always gonna be guys who move up the ranks writing. I don't know what's healthier or what's the best thing -- probably whatever yields the best songs. George Strait, he's never really written, but he certainly changed the face of country music for many decades; he defined a generation. But then Toby Keith, he's written nearly every song he's ever taken part in. It's about the artist. Jason Aldean is a masterful guy at finding great songs and making great recordings; he's the most successful guy in our format right now. And he [doesn't write]. It's about recognizing what you enjoy -- and what you're good at -- and capitalizing on that."
Luke is quickly emerging as a country-music superstar, having scored nine Top 10 hits, including the multi-platinum-selling "Drunk on You," which landed in the Top 20 on the Hot 100 chart as well. While the tune's crossover success was unexpected, Luke says it's only further proof that his genre is heading in the right direction.
"I'm excited to be part of a movement that's progressing country music," he notes. "There's always gonna be people saying, 'It ain't country anymore,' but I don't get into that whole deal. I know when I roll into town -- and when Jason [Aldean] and Eric [Church] do -- that there's jacked-up pickup trucks and country folks out there. We're performing what they want to hear."
Recently named Favorite Country Male Artist at the American Music Awards, Luke sees it as both an honor and a responsibility. "I'm glad to be in that spot," he explains. "I try to be a good representative for country music. But as a country artist it's important to move the needle and make a difference beyond your core audience. But you can't ever strategically try to accomplish that; then things get weird. I just cut songs I love and that represent what I want to say. And if it crosses over, that's very flattering. It's cool to know that with people listening to rock and rap, I'm sitting on their iPods along with that stuff."
Luke is getting ready for his first headlining tour, Dirt Road Diaries, which will kick off Jan. 17 in Evansville, Ind., with Thompson Square and Florida Georgia Line serving as opening acts. See his upcoming tour dates here.