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‘Hopes High’ for Westminster native Lukr after competing on NBC’s ‘Songland’

Westminster native Lukr performed on the episode of the NBC show "Songland" that aired Monday night.
Westminster native Lukr performed on the episode of the NBC show "Songland" that aired Monday night. (NBC/Songland)

A Westminster native who competed on the NBC series “Songland” didn’t win, but he viewed the experience as a positive and looks optimistically toward his future in the music business.

Luke R. Foley, who goes by the stage name Lukr, appeared on the “Songland” episode that aired Monday night.

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Florida Georgia Line was the musical guest on Monday’s episode, for whom four contestants performed an original song in hopes of having the multi-platinum country duo record it.

Lukr’s song was well liked and he was one of three contestants who advanced to work on their songs, each with a different producer, before performing the finished product for Florida Georgia Line.

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“That was amazing. It was like instantly singalong-able,” producer Shane McAnally said after Lukr’s initial performance.

Added Tyler Hubbard of Florida Georgia Line: “I think it’s really cool and it’s fresh. I can relate to the song.”

Lukr then collaborated with producer Ryan Tedder, of the band One Republic, and the two completely overhauled his song, originally called “Hopes High” and remade as “What You’re Putting’ Down.”

“Ryan and I wrote an entirely new song,” he said. “We kept the one little melodic hook — that trumpet part — but other than that we changed the chord progression, we changed the tempo, we changed the title, we changed every lyric, every melody, changed the concept like it’s essentially a new composition.”

Lukr, who attended Charles Carroll Elementary, East Middle and Westminster High schools before moving to Pennsylvania and then to Tennessee, previously told the Times he isn’t a country music writer, but was willing to try. He thinks it was his personality that helped him move on in “Songland.”

“I feel like that’s what kept me on the show was that they just like my kind of vibe as a person," Lukr said. "So it didn’t bother me at all to go do the changes, that’s just kind of part of the business. Part of the art of songwriting is wanting to give a song the best chance that it has and, for me, I felt like in the end I wound up with two songs.”

His performance of the new version also drew praise, with Brian Kelley of Florida Georgia Line calling it “an anthem love jam” and Hubbard noting how much fun it was to watch the transformation of the song.

Florida Georgia Line ultimately did not record Lukr’s song. They picked “Second Guessing” by fellow contestant Griffen Palmer.

Lukr still plans to release “Hopes High," the original version that was scrapped.

Even though his music wasn’t chosen, he said he came out a winner.

“You win just by being on the show,” he said. "It’s such an amazing exposure and I feel like I was portrayed so flatteringly; like this person, Lukr, It’s me, but they just presented me so incredibly. It was really cool.”

The show served as a learning experience that he hopes will benefit him as a songwriter.

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“It’s very easy to be insecure a lot, and to have a voice in my head that doesn’t believe in itself ... that’s like there to criticize me," he said. “And being on that show, it was like this constructive criticism of like, ‘Hey, shut up. Don’t listen to that voice.

“I felt empowered and, like, encouraged and I felt confident, but not in a cocky way, but just in acceptance of what my strengths and weaknesses are, and it give me a lot of peace of mind.”

To Lukr, the experience has already changed a lot for him, career-wise.

“It’s exposed me to a new audience and it gives me an opportunity to have a moment to introduce the music that I make to people that might respond if they felt a connection to me as a person, in order to get a song presented, or the song that I wrote with Ryan, if they feel connected to that,” he said. “Then I have a chance to introduce that music to an enormous audience. So I think that that will change things just in that I feel like my community will grow.”

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