The CultureMap Interview
Texas' next big star Walker Lukens plays San Antonio's Paper Tiger this week
According to the press, Walker Lukens is on the brink of stardom. In fact, he's been on the brink of stardom for years. Earlier this month, it was Texas Monthlydeclaring him one of the top eight up-and-coming acts. Last year, it was NPR, and the year before that was Austin Monthly. And after rave reviews for his latest album, Tell it to the Judge, and appearances at this year's Bonnaroo, Firefly, and Austin City Limits music festivals, we'll likely see a whole new batch of articles about Lukens' impending super stardom.
But when Lukens hits the big time (and we do think it's a matter of when), it will be due in part to a little bit of luck and an incredible amount of work. Since 2013, Lukens has released two full-length albums and two EPs, played countless festivals, produced four music videos, and maintained a touring schedule so aggressive that the only thing he can equate it to is being an amateur boxer. ("You have no idea what were getting into, so you have to prepare like each night is the most important one," says the singer.)
His latest tour, which has taken him across the country over the past two months, is wrapping up with a penultimate show at Paper Tiger on Thursday, December 7. Lukens and his band, the Side Arms, will finish the tour in their hometown of Austin the following night.
Despite the insane schedule and inevitable road weariness, Lukens knows this is the path he has chosen. "I decided a long time ago that this is my life’s work," he says. "We still have to win people over ... every night can be very very different when you’re [at this level]. I'd much rather find meaning in it rather than find another job."