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Luke Bryan: ‘You’re Going To Be Forced To Really Work Hard In Entertainment’

The country music star talks about the artist brain and the realities of singing for a living

Rolling Stone India
Rolling Stone India May 04, 2019

Luke Bryan is proud of his work ethic. Photo: Jim Wright

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People always find a way to pursue their calling. How they go about doing it, well that’s a different ballgame. For country music titan Luke Bryan, complete devotion to music happened because of an ultimatum from his father – move to Nashville or get fired from the family business. The rest is history. With hits like “Light It Up,” “Play It Again” and “Kick The Dust Up,” and the prestigious ACM Entertainer of the Year award under his belt, Bryan feels very blessed in life as he returns to judge a new edition of American Idol. “If I’m doing something, I’m going to be happy doing it,” he says.

The current season marks Bryan’s second innings at judging the singing reality show and having a year behind him makes the singer-songwriter feel more educated on what is to come: “I know all the steps. I know the right things to say and the wrong things to say. And I’m excited about the talent that we have for our second season.”

When he sees a 16-year-old aspiring country singer who plays the piano and guitar better than him, Bryan feels compelled to let them know that they are leaps and bounds ahead of the game. Where they take that and grow with it is something Bryan says is up to their work ethic. “I’m really proud of my work ethic [which got me] here and I think I had to use a little bit of all those tools to get to where I’m at. So, I think no matter what, whether you’re the best singer on planet Earth, you’re going to be forced to really work hard in entertainment. You’re not going to get out of that,” relates Bryan. He’s talking about sleepless nights and being in transit – there’s no checking out. He explains how that kind of stress is a big deal upon observing how contestants react to sleep deprivation and the patterns of the industry.

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This leads him to speak from the heart on American Idol, to interact with the contestants with emotion and purpose. As judges, Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie always want to cheer the participants on because they understand how tough it is to sing every day for a living – whether or not one is trying to win American Idol. “We’re three artists and we know the artist brain, the struggles, the internal struggles and we want to prop these kids up. You never know — somebody that doesn’t make it even into the top 10, they can still be motivated and go a long way in the music business,” he says.

Bryan considers himself to have been a naive judge on the previous season and wants to keep it fun by not overthinking the words that escape him on the singing reality show. He describes his experience judging American Idol  with Richie and Perry as having a blast, a fact that is not missed by viewers tuning in to the show. “We’re having fun with one another. We love the role that American Idol  has given us. And we all collectively really want to find amazing talent,” he shares.

As is evident on the show, the judges dive in and have an emotional connection to the contestants, finding the best of the country’s talent and taking them from ground to stage.

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American Idol airs every weekend, in India, on Zee Cafe at 9 pm.

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