Luke James Shares “Star” Secrets + Dishes On His Epic “Little” Dance Scene

Luke JamesPhoto Credit: Juan Veloz

There’s never been any doubt that Luke James had star power (and not just because he appears on Lee Daniels’ Fox series, “Star”), but after his brilliant, hilarious turn in the Universal Pictures comedy “Little,” he’s on the rise even further. The Will Packer-produced production (which hit theaters this month) tells the story of a successful yet intensive and tightly wound business woman who is misshapenly transformed into her younger self when the pressures of adulthood become too much to bear. Playing opposite Issa Rae, Regina Hall and Marsai Martin, James has a pretty stellar dance scene in the movie that can’t be missed.

On the television front, he can currently be seen on the aforementioned musical drama series “Star.” Now airing its third season, the show follows three girls’ rise to fame as they form a musical group in Atlanta. James is a fan favorite as the charming and ambitious Noah Brooks, a formerly top-selling R&B artist at Midtown Sound looking to make a much-needed comeback following a tumultuous career downfall due to alcoholism.  Additional television credits include recurring arcs on HBO’s “Insecure,” USA’s “Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G.,” and his role as R&B singer Johnny Gill on BET’s “The Bobby Brown Story,” which drew in record ratings of 29M+ viewers during premiere week.

But perhaps James is best known for his successful music career, where he draws on musical inspiration from both the past and present to create an R&B sound with the perfect blend of both new and old soul. The two-time Grammy nominee is currently hard at work in the studio crafting his next album “Black Light,” expected in 2019, as a follow up to his most recent singles “These Arms” and “Drip.” Throughout his career, James has written songs for the likes of Justin Bieber, Britney Spears and Chris Brown, and has also performed alongside the late Prince and opened for Beyoncé during her Mrs. Carter Show World Tour in 2013. In 2012, he received a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Performance for his hit song “I Want You” and received his second Grammy nomination in 2015 for Best R&B Song for “Options” ft. Rick Ross.

We sat down with this rising star to talk about “Little,” “Black Light,” and why his star is more than just on the rise.

Luke JamesPhoto Credit: Juan Veloz

The premise of “Little” is something everyone can identify with. Have you ever wanted to revert to being your younger self? Why and when?

Yes. There is a spiritual freedom that comes with being young, where optimism is pure and strong and doubt rarely exists. You have little to no fear of trying. If I could go back in time, I would tell myself: Don’t worry, just have fun.

Apparently your dance scene in “Little” created quite a stir. What can you tell us about it?

It was an awkwardly fun and funny summer night in Atlanta on a penthouse patio. J Holiday’s “Bed” was blasting in the air along with me doing a gazillion body rolls and dolphin humps (whatever it’s called) on the floor. Needless to say, it was an experience I will never forget.

Why are you personally in a good place right now in life? How so?

Well I choose to be in a good place. I work hard to get to where I am, a manifestation of my dreams coming true. I think living in one’s true purpose creates the “good place.”

Has “Star” been the ultimate project for you, because you can combine your loves of acting and singing?

It is a beautiful thing when I get to merge the two, my love of acting and singing.

Luke JamesPhoto Credit: Juan Veloz

What’s the best lesson you’ve learned from “Star” creator Lee Daniels, or the best advice he’s ever given you?

“Make it real!”

What’s next for Noah on “Star”? He’s been using again and seems to have gotten to a dark place.

Now, Noah has to fight to get back in shape after falling into an opioid addiction. He has to prove that he is a good parent and deserves another chance at proving it. But first, he needs to fix what’s going on inside while maintaining the momentum of his success and the integrity of his artistry.

How, as an actor, do you get to that place where you can relate to what Noah is going through?

Well, I’d like to think that most artist are empathic, which is how they can make it real. I’ve never personally suffered from an addiction but as an artist, I can understand the pressures that one can feel to continually be successful and not disappoint.

You’re working on a new album. What can we expect from “Black Light?”

That’s a working title – but you can expect to feel something.

Luke JamesPhoto Credit: Jamie Lamor Thompson/

Who can we expect collaborations with for the new album?

Some amazing musicians. I’d rather leave the discovery a part of the listening experience.

In the future, are you planning on acting and making music in equal parts? If not, please explain what direction you’re planning on/what your focus is now.

More like in the present.

 Do you get star-struck? If so, who was the person that made you so and what was the situation? How did you handle it?

Rarely. I think I’m more so moved by the fact that I get to meet, work and know the stars that I strongly admire. It’s more of a sense of gratitude that I feel.