“I was never spoiled when I was a kid,” Lukas tells the Humboldt Beacon. “There was never a social separation status-wise between me and any other kids. I always hung out with whoever. Some friends had money and some didn’t — it didn’t matter. It still doesn’t. My parents were against all that because they grew up from humble beginnings.”
He also admits that it was his parents cutting him off financially when he quit college that helped give him the push he needed to pursue his music full-time. But Willie never tried to persuade Lukas to follow the family business or any other — he just wanted his son to be happy.
“My dad never pushed me in any direction. He was always pretty cool in the sense that he always encouraged me to do what made me happy. I wanted to be a fighter pilot, an astronaut, and all of the above … but music was what I was akin to. I learned not to be afraid to jump into the void. If you don’t like something, go ahead and change it yourself instead of waiting around for it to change itself. Do what you love and the money will follow.”
The leap proved to be the right one for Lukas, who now fronts his own band, Promise of the Real, and makes music that is heavily influenced by his dad, of course. He also counts late guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan as a major influence.
“I grew up exposed to all kinds of music, and my music is a blend of all the music I love, including my dad’s and Stevie Ray’s,” Lukas tells the Iowa Cityview. “I was obsessed with Stevie Ray. I would dress up like him and wanted to be him for a long time. As a kid, I didn’t understand the concept of being myself, I was so enamored by him. I don’t know why he spoke to my soul so deeply, but he spoke to a lot of people’s souls deeply.”
Lukas was also influenced heavily by his dad’s writing, and hopes to someday leave behind a trail of tunes that is as amazing as Willie’s, although he feels no pressure to measure up, or live up to some ideal as the son of a country legend.
“His shadow is not something I want to escape,” Lukas tells the The Boot. “It’s not like I want to run away from my dad. I love him. I’m proud of him. I’m just an extension of him — literally. I’ve got his DNA. I make my own music, but I sound like him sometimes. I’m not trying to get out of his shadow. I’m bright enough to where I cast my own shadow and I create my own light.”
Read The Boot’s full interview with Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real here.