At first glance, this story might
seem more suited to Brooklyn, Compton, or even Dublin than Copenhagen, Denmark.
There’s a community in the center of Copenhagen called Christiania. In this
30-block radius, there are no cars, streetlights, or police. A personal toilet
and running water were considered luxuries in the early nineties. Dogs roam the
cobblestone streets without leashes, and plumes of smoke billow out of the
windows. However, people are happy, and they help each other out.
graham calls Christiania home. It’s why he makes the music he does. It’s why he
is who he is.
those kids who were always dirtier than the other kids because our scope away
from home was so huge,” he explains. “We weren’t poor. We just didn’t have
enough. When you grow up like that, you end up showing more than you need to. I
do that in my music. Instead of making up a pretty little love story about some
girl I like, I end up singing about my boys in jail and how I feel. It’s easier
for me to be honest about who I am than to start making up some fairytale.”
nightshifts cleaning, while dad repaired and refurbished antique stoves and
ovens. In a tiny house where he was “encouraged but not pushed to perform,” Lukas
fondly recalls a family tradition that shaped his ear.
the big things was the musical kitchen and dining room,” he says. “When you
were cooking, cleaning, or washing the dishes, you could choose your favorite
album and play it almost as loudly as you wanted to. We had everything from The
Beatles and rolling stones to Gregory Isaacs, James Brown, Al Green, and The Prodigy.”
eight-years-old, Lukas joined the Copenhagen boys’ choir and developed not only
an appreciation for classical music but a finely trained voice. He honed that
instrument touring the states and Europe in the years to follow. In between, he
became fascinated with his father’s Irish roots and the country’s folk music.
Coupled with hip-hop—as he admits, “Dr. Dre’s 2001 changed my life”—he began to
architect a singular style that transcended international barriers and cultural
music and classical mixed with soul, rock ‘n’ roll, and rap would be my main base
of operations,” he says. “What I can do is make you laugh, dance, and cry
within 60 minutes of a show, if you let me. It’s a mix of poorer musical
styles. We get down and dirty, and we talk about all the little things.”
spending six months in Buenos Aires to clear his head and get away from the
darker side of his hometown, Lukas brought that sound back to Christiania in
2010 where he joined forces with his writing team future animals [Stefan
Forrest & Morten Ristorp]. Writing lyrics first and telling stories, the
style felt alive. It defined his 2012 self-titled first full-length album,
which would go quadruple-platinum in Denmark and yield three smashes—“drunk in
the morning” and “better than yourself” would go #1 and “ordinary things”
peaked at #2. All in all, cumulative single sales in Denmark would surpass
150,000 with nearly 40 million collective streams.
translated to the rest of Europe. In Germany, “drunk in the morning” became a
staple and the record reached #1 on itunes. “Happy home” would give him his
third number one in Denmark in 2014 and went multi-platinum in Norway and Sweden.
Also known for a phenomenal live show, he’d go on to play countless sold out
shows and earn festival main stage spots alongside his “boys” in the band, mark
“Lovestick” Falgren, Magnús “Magnúm” Larsson, and Kasper Daugaard, becoming the
most popular live act in Denmark. Christiania is always on his mind though.
made it out,” he sighs. “I did something with my life. When my father passed,
instead of just mourning, I built my mom a house. I got myself an apartment a
block from Christiania. All of the same plumbers, carpenters, and gangsters
meet me at that local bar. I’m not going to a fancy club and buying champagne.”
interjects, “that’s not to say I haven’t done that, because I have. I maxed out
my credit cards, and I was stupid with the money that followed the fame. I was
lucky to quickly realize that wasn’t the goal.”
He has no
problem being candid and admitting mistakes. That kind of honesty and heart
attracted the attention of warner bros. Records who signed him after a 2013 Los
Angeles showcase. His upcoming U.S. release, already a hit in Scandinavia,
captures the spirit that turned everyone into believers in the first place and
serves as his proper introduction stateside.
single “7 years” begins with his emotional delivery and a soft piano line. He
looks back over his life and what’s ahead. “I couldn’t go any further than 60
because my father died at 61,” he admits. “I need to pass it to believe it.
It’s a song about growing older. I’m also coming to a realization that being a
father is the most important thing. My biggest dream is not to be some negative
old dude, but to have my kids’ friends say, ‘you’re going to visit your dad?
Say hi! He’s awesome.’ I had a perfect father. When he died, all of my
friends were like, ‘it’s hard for me to feel bad for you, because I just lost
one of my best friends.”
“Mama said” begins with a
children’s choir and bright production. As the verse kicks in, Lukas weaves
together a confessional narrative that culminates on a striking and soulful
the kids in school made fun of me because I was wearing the wrong jeans,” he
recalls. “I bought them with my own money, and I was so proud. My mom said,
‘don’t listen to those rich kids. We’ve got a bed and food. Imagine how many
children don’t have that.’ my dad told me, ‘you’re going to be laughing at them
one day, but don’t point back. Don’t get even or mad. Keep walking and
smiling.’ I never want to lose sight of my roots. I know where I’m from. I’m
also not going to forget where I’m going.”
be proud, because his son’s story has the power to change lives. “I want people
to walk away becoming music lovers,” Lukas leaves off. “A lot of artists want
the riches and the fame. I want to tell stories you can put into the context of