I’m sure you’ve all heard one of Nick Luebke’s songs whether it be his “Call Me Maybe” remix or “Darty” but he’s adamant about breaking from the mold. He doesn’t want to be known for just one of his songs nor does he want to follow in the path of other artists. Luckily, he has a style all his own. With his meaningful lyrics and mix between rapping and singing, his songs have a unique elegance. He’s talented and determined, but also laid back and humble. What better person could we have to represent the Madison community? You won’t want to miss his concert with Mike Stud and Kyle & Keem this Friday, November 16th at Segredos!
How did you start making music? What did you originally do?
I would always sing when I was growing up, not in front of people though. We had a big mirror in my house and I would sing *NSync but I hate to admit that. Me and my friends started making music together, one would play the guitar and we would all sing. Then one of my friends bought a microphone, so one night we tried to freestyle, even though I can’t do that at all. The words didn’t make any sense but the rhythm was kind of good, so I sent it to my sisters and they were like “Nick you’re so talented!” They bought me a microphone for Christmas last year and so originally I just did covers of Wiz Khalifa just to see what my voice sounded like. Then I started writing my own music and my friends started telling me to put it on YouTube. I was making my first song at the same time that Timeflies’ “Under the Sea” song became popular. The first song I actually posted to YouTube was “Someone Like You” and I had no idea what to expect but one thousand people watched it in two days. Facebook’s a crazy thing- it’s changed the whole music industry. I was never actually trying to seriously do it, it just happened and it still is just for fun.
It’s becoming increasingly more common for artists to make it big without a record deal. Is that something that you would want to do?
Whenever people have contacted me about bookings and managing my music I just think “I could do that myself. Why would I need someone to do that for me?” I just watched a documentary on Macklemore and at the end of one of his songs he explains how the label, agent, and manager get a percentage of the profits and basically he’s left with splitting about seven percent with his producer. One of my majors is entrepreneurship and I’d rather just take it all on myself.
One of your biggest YouTube hits “Call Me Maybe” has 500,416 views. Did you ever expect that to happen?
No, that was not my idea at all. My friend Ryan thought of the idea. It was before we even knew the song would be huge, right when Bieber came out with his video dancing to it. Part of me hates that I did that because I don’t want to be known as the “Call Me Maybe guy”, but obviously it helped get my name out there.
Another popular song, “Darty” you made the video on Mifflin. What was that like?
This was the first professionally recorded song that I did and I went to a studio in Madison because I wanted to see what it would sound like. I wrote an entire remix to the song “Payphone” by Maroon Five and I spent three days on ot, but it turned out I couldn’t record that song. At nine o’clock pm, the night before I scheduled the recording session, I called KonG and he made the beat we ended up using for “Darty,” so we stayed up all night until seven am writing the song and then woke up at nine am and wrote the rest of it. We realized it was perfect timing because Mifflin was next week. I just got a message from Justin Clough that he would shoot video for me because he saw my “Call Me Maybe” video, so everything just kind of fell into place. He came on Mifflin and we shot the entire video. We basically just had fun shooting party scenes all day. It was something that everyone could relate to. Then we edited and released it the next day, which was during finals which was the perfect time because no one is actually studying- they’re all on Facebook. Everyone wanted to show their friends what Mifflin was like so it spread quickly.
You mentioned Timeflies before and many people compare your voice to Cal’s. Is Timeflies a major influence, or who do you look up to in the music industry?
I guess they are but I don’t want to be in their shadow at all. I’m less of a rapper and more of a lighter rap style. I want to be compared as in the sound like the singing and rap combined, but I definitely have a different style. I don’t know how to explain it. I think Timeflies is great, but I don’t want to be labeled as that either.
The first rapper I heard was Eminem and I listen to a lot of Wiz Khalifa for the rhyming, but not necessarily the lyrics. For lyrics, Atmosphere and Macklemore. I’ve been listening to Macklemore for a while and he’s just unbelievable. Everything he says has meaning to it and that’s what I try to do. The lyrics are really important, so I spend a lot of time on those.
This Friday you have a concert with Mike Stud and Kyle & Keem at Segrados in Madison.
It’s gonna be so much fun. Kyle has produced some of my songs and I’ve seen parts of Mike Stud’s series recapping his tour- it’s gonna be a wild time, I can guarantee it. It’s only gonna be my second concert so who knows what’s gonna happen.
You’re from Middleton. Are you excited to perform locally?
Yeah, it’ll be different. It’ll be weird because a lot of people that I know will be there and I’ll see their faces when I’m up there but I’m just gonna be myself. I’m excited.
You were asked to be on the TV show “The X-Factor”. Explain what that was like.
I performed in front of the huge crowd for the initial audition and ended up making it to boot camp, but I got kicked off in the first wave of eliminations. You can see me on there in the background a couple of times. It was a hell of a learning experience. The first performance of my entire life was in front of six thousand people. It was the craziest and most surreal thing that has ever happened to me.
When you perform do you get really nervous?
That one I was pretty nervous for and just wanted to get it over with. I basically blacked out for the entire thing. It’s one of those experiences where you don’t remember the whole thing. The whole time I was just thinking “What is going on right now? Why am in front of so many lights and people?” The first and only concert I’ve done so far I was really nervous during the day but then once I actually got there I was really excited so we’ll see what happens this time around.
Do you want to continue performing?
That’s the million dollar question. I really liked the first performance and obviously I’ve got to learn a lot and get better, but I’m liking it so far. If I don’t like it then I’ll stop, but I’m gonna keep doing it right now. Once you’re up there, it’s really fun and totally worth it. It’ll be easier once school is done, too.
Speaking of school, what are you majoring in?
Legal studies and entrepreneurship. I was thinking law school but now it’s up in the air. When I graduate I’m gonna see what I can do if I put all of my time into music. From there, who knows? I don’t think ahead too far.
Do people usually recognize you on the streets?
No, not really. They definitely recognize me more on the weekends when they’ve had a few drinks. It’s a weird experience when they do recognize me because I still just see myself as me, but it doesn’t happen that often.
Some of your songs have specific references to Madison. What are some of your favorite memories of Madison?
Freshmen year just being dumb and innocent, not thinking about the future. Mifflin will always have a place in my heart, especially the “Darty” one. And football Saturdays- I live for those. I’m gonna make it back for one every year of my life. It’s too amazing to miss.
What are you favorite places to hang out around campus?
The Kollege Klub. You’ll find me there often. The Rathskeller to eat. I’m in Grainger all the time for my classes. And I always do my music stuff in Middleton. I also like to bask on Bascom Hill. I get a lot of good ideas there.
How can people access your music?
Only the two most recent songs are on iTunes but all of them are on YouTube if you just type in my name. There’s download links in the info and it’s all free. It’s nicer for the listeners if it’s free but it is a lot of work. If I ever make a mixed taped, it’d probably be free. You get more listeners and it spreads the music. It’s better for the fans.
To buy tickets for the concert in advance, go to http://segredomadison.com/shows.cfm