News Column

Bright lights, big city [Telegraph-Herald (Dubuque, IA)]

October 25, 2013


Online Official website: YouTube: Facebook: ginnylukemusic Twitter: Soundcloud: Tumblr: www.ginnyluke.tumblr.comFrom a wholesome and shy Midwestern girl to a rising star on the Los Angeles music scene, Ginny Luke has crossed many artistic experiences off her bucket list - all by the age of 21.

It's an impressive accomplishment for a girl who relocated from Dubuque to Los Angeles at age 14, with her parents' permission.

Ginny, the daughter of Dr. Jack Luke and Diana Sherry, was born and raised into a well-known musical family in Dubuque. Her parents agreed to allow her to move to Los Angeles with her older brother, Wesley, as her guardian to pursue her dream of an acting career.

Ginny began studying classical violin and piano at age 3 and began singing and performing in musical theater a year later. By 13, she began writing songs.

Pegged as a standout musician in voice and violin - not to mention dance - Ginny soloed with symphony orchestras at an early age. She landed roles as an extra in film and television. Her singing and electric violin talents soon took center stage, first as a member of the all-girl group Adam 812 and later noticed by the likes of Meat Loaf, Snoop Dog and

Since then, Ginny has recorded with a variety of performers, as well as embarked on a tour with Meat Loaf throughout Australia. She's also appeared playing violin in the film, "Fame," as well as in the Dave Matthews music video, "You and Me." She's also landed a handful of endorsements and, this past summer, she released her debut solo EP, "Dark Charade."

DBQ Magazine caught up with Ginny for this issue on the arts.

How does one end up in LA at such an early age?

When I was 14, I heard a commercial on Y105 about acting coach Chambers Stevens coming to Dubuque to do acting workshops. I went to his three-day boot camp, and he sat down with my parents and me and told us about audition and training opportunities in Los Angeles. I flew there that month to attend his LA workshops, began taking auditions and ultimately moved to LA with my brother.

Was there a culture shock coming from small-town Iowa to Los Angeles?

There was a fair amount of culture shock, especially moving to LA again alone at 17. I was way too confident and was struck by the lack of community, lack of kindness and the safety nets I had been used to. It can be very hard to live here at times, but I'm able to get support from my family on a daily basis.

How did your involvement in the arts in Dubuque help shape what you are doing today?

The arts in Dubuque shaped so much of who I am as a performer today. The shows and plays I was in, dance recitals and half-time shows and singing and playing in school and church largely influenced my performance style. Every experience shaped the decisions I make professionally. If you're 10 years old, you and your parents' decisions are extremely important. If you choose to be in choir or if you choose to be in honors classes, those choices are influencing your future. I was lucky to have great teachers growing up who believed in me - Doris Preucil, Sandra Andersen, Joe Klinebriel, Tracey Rush, my family and my teachers at Interlochen were enormous influences.

Describe growing up in such a musical family and its impact?

We went to concerts and shows all the time, were constantly studying recordings, and my parents directed a lot of shows at the Grand Opera House. They also were music ministers at church where I sang each week. My brothers and I had to play piano, plus another instrument, from age 3 to 18, and we weren't allowed to quit. My mom and brother used to sit with me during daily practice sessions before and after school. I think my work ethic, discipline and artistic standards were shaped by my family.

Do you ever feel that you missed out on anything growing up?

My adolescence was very focused and disciplined growing up in Dubuque. My parents enforced a strict practice schedule, and I maintained a crazy rehearsal schedule with the Grand Opera House, Dubuque Dance Studio and Sandra Andersen's voice studio. I grew up in a loving household, though, so I was willing to put in those hours, and often, it didn't feel like work. My life isn't so different in LA in terms of the types of things I do. I'm singing and performing, taking dance and acting class and playing the violin and piano. But now I look at what I do as fun work. I have to run my artistic life very much like a business.

I knew I was choosing to skip fun proms, football games and parties. I wanted to become a professional performer ever since I was a child, so I chose not to take the standard educational route. I think I chose the path one needs to take to be a young successful artist, and I don't look back and feel like I missed much. I've had wonderful experiences and have had the support from my family and teachers to pursue my dreams.

You sing, dance, act, compose and play violin. Of all of these various artistic outlets, is there one that you feel enables you to express yourself the most effectively?

I think songwriting enables my expression the most. And, producing my music in the past year has been one of my favorite outlets. Singing is one of my favorite outlets as well.

Professionally, where has your career taken you?

In the past two years to a higher level in singing and electric violin. I didn't intend on being more on the music side than the acting side, but right now in my career, that's where I'm at. I gained a lot of live performance and recording experience with my previous girl group, Adam 812, and when touring with Meat Loaf, so I think those experiences opened up new doors and access to higher quality musicians. Two musicians that I've been able to work with a frequently this year are Onree Gill - Alicia Keys', Backstreet Boys' and Cee-Lo Green's music director - and Ben Moody, the original guitar player and songwriter from Evanescence. I used to listen to that music growing up, and it's crazy that I get to work with the creators of that music now.

What career highlights have you enjoyed?

This past year I recorded violin on's new record "#willpower"; appeared on "The Eric Andre Show" on Adult Swim (which airs this month); recorded vocals and electric violin on a jazz fusion album for Vinnie Colaiuta, Derek Sherinian, Alex Cora and Ric Fierabracci; recorded with producers Andre Harris, Ben Moody, James Fauntleroy and Larrance Dopson; performed at ARIA Las Vegas, Gibson Amphitheater; and opened for Motorhead at Club Nokia in LA. I'm really proud of finishing production on my EP, "Dark Charade," that was released this past summer. Other notable accomplishments include touring on backup vocals and electric violin with Meat Loaf, performing at LA Fashion Week and playing violin at Carnegie Hall at age 16.

Was there a certain milestone that you believed helped set the stage you're on now?

I think my proudest moment was realizing that what I wrote in my diary - to have an album out by 16, tour arenas by age 20 and release a solo album by 21 - came true. I realized how much power there is in writing things down and believing in your dreams. Touring with Meat Loaf presented new opportunities on a greater professional level. Being a part of a well-oiled machine, like an arena show, helped me set higher standards for myself as a performer and has allowed me to work with high-level artists.

When you're not performing, what is life like for you?

I read a lot of books on marketing and managing a performance career. I spend at least five hours a day on career work, like sending emails, writing and recording songs, submitting on auditions, meeting potential employers, going to events, or rehearsing for whatever gigs I have coming up. I work with my endorsement companies on marketing strategies and how to promote their products. I go to jams a lot - I love the LA music scene. You can find some of the biggest touring musicians at a local club. And, I spend a lot of time just hanging out and writing music with my friends at their studios. I make trips back to the Midwest occasionally to visit family, and I'm hoping to return soon. I haven't performed when I've gone back, but I'd love to.

What do you think the future holds for you?

I would like to put my show on tour and am in the process of finding the resources and opportunities to do so. I hope to continue writing and producing records, work creatively on music videos and, someday, branch more into the directing side of shows. I hope my future holds a varied, diverse and exciting artistic career. My goal is to be able to work with high-level artists throughout my life and to make the journey the most enjoyable part.

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