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Westminster native Lukr to appear on ‘Songland,’ pitching one of his songs to Florida Georgia Line

Lukr, a Westminster native, is shown performing on the TV show "Songland," which airs on NBC at 10 p.m. on May 18.
Lukr, a Westminster native, is shown performing on the TV show "Songland," which airs on NBC at 10 p.m. on May 18.(NBC/Songland.)

A Westminster native’s music career has grown to earn him a slot Monday night on the network-television show, “Songland.”

Luke R. Foley, who goes by Lukr, is a singer and songwriter who now lives in Nashville, Tennessee. Lukr’s episode of “Songland,” in which he pitches one of his songs to the country duo Florida Georgia Line, airs May 18 at 10 p.m. on NBC.

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He recalls his time in Carroll County as the beginning as his exposure to music.

“I went to Charles Carroll Elementary School and my favorite teacher was Mrs. Horton and she was from the second grade and she is he coolest teacher in the entire world,” he recalled. “We had the same birthday and she used to play guitar in her classes and she was just so encouraging to me.”

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Lukr remembers that being the first time he was really around anyone that played music. He later attended East Middle School, Westminster High School and was home-schooled.

He partially stumbled into music through church.

“I didn’t think that I liked poetry because I didn’t like to read poetry. I like describing things in visual ways; I like to use words to illustrate things and to describe the scene," he said. “I guess when I was writing songs, what got me started doing music was I was super-involved in my church. I wanted to play in the praise and worship band and I was really into that. I was intensely spiritual.”

Lukr moved to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, for about four years and then to Hanover, Pennsylvania. All the while, from age 17 to 30, he was a member of a band called Farewell Flight that was formed by him and members of his youth group worship band.

“We’re like, ‘Let’s write songs about girls and we can play in bars,’ so that’s what we did,” said Lukr, noting that the band did numerous national tours.

Now, at 35, Lukr is a solo artist who can add “Songland” contestant to his resume.

“Songland” is a show where songwriters pitch songs to artists and s panel of producers in hopes of being chosen to collaborate with them.

Originally Lukr received an email from someone casting for the show, referencing some of his songs he released and asking if he had more like them that were unreleased. He ignored the email for weeks.

“I didn’t even know what the show was,” he said. “I had not heard of it and I was like, ‘it just doesn’t seem like something that I would be interested in.’”

His mother-in-law was familiar with the show and encouraged him to go on it after he told her about the email.

Initially, Lukr wasn’t selected for one song he submitted, but show personnel reached out to him again about another song that the artist team really responded to.

He was initially hesitant about writing for Florida Georgia Line because he isn’t a country music writer, but he came around to the idea.

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“I don’t write country music. I have written like one-and-a-half country songs and my publisher was like ‘those aren’t country songs,'" Lukr said. “Country music is more about feeling and it’s about illustrating that.

So, I think that’s what made me feel like I could do it because I understand the thing that I love about country music — and I love writing my songs with country writers — because I love using illustrated lyrics and country writers get that.”

Lukr draws inspiration for his music from all around him.

“I get most of my inspiration just from my own personal experience of being alive. You can talk about a specific situation but generally you’re not talking about what happened, you’re talking about the feeling that it gave you," he said. “That’s what somebody else connects to; it’s because the lyrics inspire and remind them of a time when they had that same feeling. I like to use illustrative words to trigger the emotion in people because I think it helps them process their experience.”

He couldn’t discuss the outcome on the show before it aired, but said, “No matter what happens, no spoilers, I will say it helped me really enjoy our time there because, obviously, up until that point I was really like 'Oh, well I’m just here until this day and then I get to go home and I just kind of cool with that.”

Lukr lives in Nashville with his wife Jess. They are working on launching a merchandise company together called Lucea. He takes lyrics from his songs and Jess, an illustrator, interprets them creatively, visually, with script on merchandise such as tote bags.

He hopes for this opportunity to also offer exposure to his craft.

“I’m an artist and so I feel like it’s an opportunity that I’m exposed to 3 to 4 million people a night, like a pretty massive audience,” he said. “It’s a short time to kind of have that light shined on you. I just want to show people my music as an artist.”

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