Interview: Luke Bartholomew

Jul 27 2020

Luke Bartholomew has released his second worship album 'Devote II', but this is not your run of the mill kind of worship album. For a start, there are no lyrics. It is a collection of worship songs creatively arranged using a variety of instruments, expanding on the solo piano arrangements used throughout his debut album. Louder Than The Music chatted with Luke to find out why he makes instrumental worship music.

For those who haven't heard of you before, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got involved in making music?

I grew up in Hertfordshire, with a brief time living in America when I was younger. My interest in music began when I was around 8 years old because my two elder brothers were both learning the electronic organ, and as it is when you are younger you want to do what your older brothers are doing. As soon as I started learning the instrument I fell in love with music. Later in my teens I then branched out and began learning the pipe organ and classical piano. This then led me into university to study music, where I again was keen to develop my instrumental skills further and learnt jazz piano, acoustic guitar and bass guitar. The more time I spent learning music and getting involved in various bands and music projects the more music I wanted to be involved with creating. In my own time I’ve always spent a lot of time improvising on the piano, so composition was a natural next step from that.

Tell us about your new album 'Devote II' and what the inspiration behind it was?

I was inspired to create an instrumental worship album by my wife who loves listening to music while doing her morning devotional. She often struggled not to get distracted by the lyrics when listening, which took away her focus. I started trying to track down some instrumental worship music that she could use, but there wasn’t a lot available at that time. Therefore, I decided to record some for her. Before I knew it, I had enough music to release Devote!

We don't often hear of 'instrumental' worship music, how well do people receive your music without lyrics?

Worship music with lyrics can be distracting when you are studying the bible, praying or just relaxing. So, I decided to craft an album specifically catered to support the activity you are doing rather than cause a distraction. What I didn’t realise at the time was that this music can also be used in worship times within your home, or with your family, and I have been encouraged by how this is blessing many people I know.

Which is your favourite track on the new album and why?

It’s hard to choose as I like them all for different reasons; each track is very different from the previous track. If I was pushed, I would say my favourite is probably All Hail the Lamb. It’s the most different to the original and stylistically the furthest away from the original. It was really fun to think outside the box with it and get really creative with the harmony, I feel like the end result is really effective.

What would you like people to take from your music?

Ultimately the aim is to point people to Jesus, so if that’s what it does then I’ll be delighted.

If you could collaborate with any musician or artist, who would it be and why?

Jacob Collier, I don’t think I would have a chance of keeping up with him, but he is a musical genius. I’ve spent many hours watching videos of him explaining music, composing or performing and it blows my mind every time.

How would you define success in your career as an artist?

If you asked me as a secular artist my answer would be different to me as a ‘christian artist’. For me, success would be to have people impacted by the music that I create and feel supported to go deeper in their relationship with Jesus.

What is your favourite album of all time?

Very difficult to choose just one. But I do love ‘Kind of Blue’ by Miles Davis; an album that pushed the boundaries and it’s just exceptional jazz performed by a line-up of musicians at the top of their game.

You're stuck on an island, it's hot, you only have enough battery life left to listen to one song on your phone. What track is it?

Lingus by Snarky Puppy. Just for the solo by Cory Henry, perfection.

What does the next year hold for you?

Creating new music. I will continue to be heavily involved with the worship team at my church, hopefully lots of gigging with bands and playing at christian conferences. I hope it will be a very busy year involving lots and lots of music!

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