Luke McMaster returns in concert to Thompson

After over a decade since his last visit to Manitoba’s north, Canadian pop/R&B sensation Luke McMaster will be returning to the Letkemann Theatre to perform Jan. 13, kicking off the new year with his heartfelt blue-eyed soul.

McMaster is among the few pop sensations who has visited Thompson even once before, having performed in the city as part of the duo McMaster and James in the early 2000s at the peak of the duo’s success; around the same time, hit singles including :Thank You” and “Love Wins Every Time” won them a place as an opening act on Christina Aguilera’s Canadian tour in the new millennium.

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Winnipeg isn’t always the easiest city to find one’s break in music, especially with ambitions to top national pop and R&B charts. But if the city was a challenging environment for artists, McMaster hardly noticed: he and his partner had tapped into the right thing at the right time.

“It was the boy band era,” he explained. “The style of music was becoming really popular. There was so much hype when we signed with BMG that I didn’t feel much resistance. Locally, people were just excited to see another success story from Winnipeg, and it’s rich history of music.”

Despite early success, seismic shifts in the music industry led to the duo’s breakup, leading McMaster to pursue a burgeoning career in songwriting, writing for the likes of artists like Rihanna, as well as being a key collaborator for participants in the 2003 Canadian Idol Writing Camp. It wasn’t long, however, before McMaster would find himself at the forefront of his music once again.

“When you write a song for an artist, you usually sing the demo so they can hear how the song goes, and I ended up with having an album’s worth of material of songs that weren’t being cut by anyone. So, I just started recording my own stuff, and it took on a life of its own.”

Performing with McMaster on Friday will be supporting performers Arun Chaturvedi and Chris Briscoe, supporting McMaster’s performance with a Swiss Army knife of musical talents, from instruments to vocals. Along with his contemporary library, McMaster will be incorporating the classic Motown sound, exploring his passed influences as well as the present.

McMaster says to expect a dynamic show: “It’s supposed to be a pretty cold night,” he said. “So we’re going to try to get people moving around.”

The concert begins in the Letkemann Theatre at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20, available at the Vale Regional Community Centre.

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