Spotlight on … Luke Antony
With his uniquely soulful voice and engaging live performances, Luke Antony is one of the Australian music industry’s most promising stars. Inspired by the world’s great soul singers, Luke has a highly-impressive vocal range drawing comparisons to Guy Sebastian and Sam Smith.
Raised in a music-loving family in Townsville, the 25-year-old started singing in church at a young age. Determined to make a career in music, Luke soon notched up several notable achievements. In 2010, at the age of 20, he was awarded two silver medals and a bronze at the prestigious World Championship of Performing Arts in Los Angeles. He has developed a popular following in Europe, and is the headline act for this year’s 2016 Munich Pride festival (CSD).
Luke is an active member of the LGBTIQ community and advocates for youth issues and inclusion. In fact, 50 per cent of net profits from sales of his latest single Separate Ways (the CSD theme song) will be going to CSD from world-wide sales. Here he describes his charity, corporate and speaking work, and outlines his areas of expertise.
Tell us about the corporate and charity events you have performed at?
I have performed as a singer at Qantas Holidays Awards Night, United foundation, Heart Kids foundation, Australian Family, Trish Foundation MS Ball, Red Kite Ball, and the FSHD Global Research Foundation. The atmosphere at these events is always beautiful, full of hope and determination. I would love to do more performances at these types of events and am also open to speaking gigs.
What are your main passions in life?
I am passionate about equality, youth performing arts, identity and self-worth. I specifically love seeing people find joy in expressing themselves without feeling judged or boxed in.
What do you enjoy about performing in corporate and charity settings?
I always enjoy these engagements because I want to see and be an effector of change. More often than not at a corporate or charity event, you are in a room filled with movers and shakers – people wanting to inspire and be inspired. There is no point in having a platform to deliver a vision or idea if there aren’t people to help make things happen.
What has been the most memorable event for you?
I once ran a singing masterclass at Redfern Community Centre. I had a room full of adults – some 20somethings, some 50somethings, some Australian, some from China, Russia – all over the place. It was a very diverse group of people. The one thing they had in common was that they loved to sing.
The first thing I remember is a woman saying to me, “I’m not sure if I’m welcome here”. When I asked why she replied, “Because I’m Russian”. I almost fell over. To think that in this day and age someone would fear that, because of where they are from, just blows my mind.
I then introduced myself to the class saying, “This room is for anyone who loves to sing, anyone who has something to say, and anyone who wants to give it a go and make a mistake in a safe place.” I had never taught group of adults before. But what I learnt was that fundamentally all any of us wants is to feel is to be accepted and to know that we can express ourselves safely without judgement.
The moment I broke the ice it was as if each of them breathed a sigh of relief. I left that class after an hour with tears in my eyes and a full heart.
What can you offer as a presenter and speaker?
I feel my strength is offering a performance/mentorship workshop in schools/arts/community programs or performing arts academies. I would shape my workshop around performance and identity/equality/self-worth. I would integrating speech level/singing techniques and positive identity reinforcement. I would also provide encouragement to make a mistake – in a singing lesson, in a performance and in life. The best piece of advice someone once gave me in a professional recording job was, “When you sing, try to mess it up – that’s where you free yourself of perfection to let the magic happen.”
What else can you offer creatively?
I can also offer written opinion pieces, styling, photography, creative direction, conceptualisation and social media direction.
What trends are you currently across?
LGBTIQ issues are a big topic of conversation at the moment everywhere. It really disheartens me that the safe schools initiative was pulled. From a personal standpoint growing up in a school that refused to even teach safe sex because, “you should all wait until you are married”, was not a good message. One size does NOT fit all. We were all born as unique individuals and our kids and the youth of today need to be nurtured, understood and told that it is OKAY to be different. There is a layer of almost tyranny in our society that really prevents self-love – a tool that could save a lot of people’s lives. I think our society in Australia is living in a bubble that needs bursting. We need a reality check.
What is your signature keynote about as a speaker?
I am happy to speak about breaking the mould of who we have been conditioned to believe we should be. I would reflect on personal experiences growing up as a sexually confused Christian man and how I found my joy and happiness in learning to love who I am. I think the best place to start is with what you know. A few things I know about already are: anxiety, self-love and acceptance, listening to your inner voice, equality, religion and sexuality, music, and singing/performance techniques.
How active are you on social media?
My core following if I had to describe them are fashion, pop culture-focussed gay men. A lot of my followers are from overseas (Brazil, Germany, UAE). Recently I have collaborated with clothing brands and men’s grooming. This has been done in conjunction with live performances, photoshoots and most recently with a music video I shot for my debut single, Separate Ways (release date 2nd July, 2016).