Part of one’s musical journey often relies heavily on location and the places the heart and soul travel to for inspiration. From Texas to Tennessee to New York, indie-rock musician Luke Boor has reflected deeply on each home he’s had over the years and how they’ve contributed to his creative endeavors from music to writing. His new single “Queens” chronicles the contradiction of the isolation we feel in crowded spaces as the vocalist delivers a somber and sentimental breakup tune juxtaposed against the harsh environment of New York City public transit. The song was written pre-pandemic which found Boor experimenting with an interest in fiction writing and putting a pause on music.
Now, he’s ready to release the track as he reignites his musical passions saying, “It makes sense to return to music, to return to a song that’s always been special.” Deriving influence from his Southern roots with twangy acoustic guitars as well as creating rhythm out of the city’s atmosphere with vocalizations that imitate the sounds of the subway, “Queens” is a necessary listen for those feeling small existing in a big place.
Q. When you first came to New York City from Nashville, you worked as a hotel doorman. Talk about what you learned from this job and the culture shock you experienced.
A. The main thing I learned from that job is that I can handle anything. The Sinatra line “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere…” is really true. Life in New York is loud, fast, in your face, a constant stress, but if you can adapt, if you can get through the toughest of days, that’s something to be proud of. Nowadays, whenever I get stressed or anxious, I remind myself of those times and what I was able to accomplish, and my current problems don’t loom so large. It was a culture shock indeed, but a good one, all the different ethnicities, languages, and food, I loved it! And miss it.
Q. Your old friend and producer Mike Abiuso helped curate the distinct sound and energy of your new single “Queens.” What are some of your favorite aspects of working together?
A. Mike always delivers, and witnessing that is such a pleasure. I’ll do what I’m supposed to do [in terms of] vocals, some acoustic guitar, but I always bow out as soon as I can because I know what the song needs: it needs Mike (laughs). And when I bow out, I’m giddy, because I’ll get cranked on coffee (my favorite mug at the studio is a pink one that says “Crazy Cat Lady”), relax on the couch, and watch the magic happen.
Q. “Queens” is a sort of “from the vault” song for you as its release was severely delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. How exciting is it to finally release the track to the masses?
A. Covid wasn’t the only thing that delayed it. Actually, before Covid hit, I was getting burnt out on music and had discovered a passion for writing fiction. For a while there I tried writing a novel while putting a stop to all things music, which is something I deeply regret. “Queens,” along with the other material Mike and I were cranking out, was (and still is) really strong stuff, in my opinion, and it’s a shame I put a halt to it all, and to this day I don’t know why I did. Anyway, “Queens” has always been dear to me, and releasing it is the right thing to do. I’m ecstatic about it.
Q. How have your perspectives on the song and its lyrical content changed over the course of when you first wrote it? Can you derive new meanings from the song now?
A. What I realize now is that I was writing about myself. I’ve always had a habit of getting carried away romantically, of letting my imagination run wild, of ignoring reality, which leads to giving my power away, and, inevitably, leads to heartbreak. People who hear this song may not be able to relate to riding a crowded subway, but hopefully, they can relate to those feelings.
Q. Talk about the inspiration for the single’s cover as it emulates the Queens Subway line that many New Yorkers have come to recognize.
A. I just knew that I wanted to go all out with the New York/Queens thing. I knew I wanted to somehow use the letters of the different trains to spell out “Queens,” and had a few ideas like that brewing, but I was having trouble finding someone to do the artwork. Then I discovered the website Fiverr, and that’s where I found Han (no last name, like Cher) and he did an incredible job.
Q. What are other beauties and tragedies that exist within or around the cityscape that you’d like to explore in your music or future projects?
A. In New York, everywhere you look you’ll find slices of real life that are, like you said, both beautiful and/or tragic, which is so inspiring, and I’d like to keep chasing that inspiration, even though I don’t live there anymore. I recently went back to record some new material with Mike, and I thought I would be struck with the urge to move back, but I wasn’t. It’s a great place to visit, but that chapter of my life is over. “Queens” is the perfect representation of that chapter.