Few artists can effectively pinpoint the sonic balance between the classic and the modern, and even fewer can reconcile the artistic with the mainstream. Contemporary R&B crooner Lucky Daye has consistently managed to achieve both, cultivating a steadily swelling fanbase with a distinctive sound that is simultaneously both old school and of the moment, and vocals that are intoxicating and inviting, with just a hint of vague pain and longing.
Daye’s career got off to a healthy kickstart in 2019, with his single Roll Some Mo’ gaining word-of-mouth popularity, earning multiple features on The Photograph soundtrack, and concert bookings pouring in from across the US and UK. But much like the rest of us, things ground to a bit of a halt for the New Orleans native when COVID-19 and her litany of safety restrictions changed our way of life.
Yet, unlike many artists who’ve had to return to the drawing board during the pandemic, Daye has actually become increasingly popular through the days of zoom interviews, virtual concerts, and increased stress-relief streaming.
We virtually meet with him in a darkened studio, much of which he actually fortified by hand himself. The New Orleans native loves to keep busy, whether he’s creating musically with his bare soul or building with his bare hands.
“I have hidden abilities,” he tells us, gesturing to a wooden fixture on the wall behind him. “I can sew. I can build. I build stuff from scratch – contracting. I love just hard work…and I need to do it. I need to build something or I’m going to start breaking stuff.”
His penchant for diligent hard work is evident through his consistent rollout of music. He’s released three EP’s (2018’s I, 2019’s II, and 2021’s collection of duets with women Table for Two) and a full studio album (2019’s Painted) in just 3 years’ time and is currently putting the finishing touches on his upcoming, as-yet-untitled 2022 album release. He already garners over 1 million monthly streams on his previous work, and his lead single, Over, is converting new listeners to the Lucky Daye fandom day by day.
“Over is about a little toxicity…everybody goes through it,” he says of the single, which spiritually samples Musiq Soulchild’s 2002 hit Halfcrazy. “I feel like when you’re in love with somebody that you really don’t want to leave, and they call you back, it’s because you wanted them to call you back, basically. It’s kind of like allowing the loose strings to never meet or untie.”
On this track, much like his others, Daye delivers sultry vocals that are mysterious, rich, and tempting much like the city he hails from. He frequently touches on subject matter regarding love, lust, and loss. With his relatable lyricism and passionate, sensual delivery, you would think that he is pulling from a chest of personal experiences packed to the brim with memories of bygone loves and former romantic hijinks. However, the 36-year-old crooner is surprisingly relatively new to the dating scene.
“I just started dating. I never went on dates,” he divulged. “I don’t know if guys get that luxury early. You got to literally figure yourself out before a girl feels like you could take her on a date. First of all, you’ve got to be able to take her on one.”
But he hopes to find a lady he can get to that point with in the near future.
“I want somebody I could take on real dates, outside of where I am,” he says. “Go vacay and go to other parts of the world. I never got that far.”
As he’s revealed in previous interviews, like many millennials from the deep south, Daye was brought up in a staunchly religious household. He even spent his early childhood years in a now-defunct Christian extremist sect that he’s on-record describing as a “religious cult;” a place where music, television, percussion, and all other secular joys were prohibited.
It lends to wonder if his restrictive early years have at least partially set the tone for his trepidatious entry into the dating world, or even influenced his adult-life attraction to the bold, brash, indulgent, and undefined.
“A lot of my inspiration comes from Grace Jones,” he reveals. “She blurs the lines between everything. Some people will be like, ‘it’s a man.’ Some people be like, ‘it’s a girl.’ I don’t care about genders and stuff like that. I love the fact that she brought that to life.”
That laissez-faire attitude regarding gender roles and societal perception permeates through several aspects of Daye’s own life, be it his style, his songwriting, or even his attitude toward romantic interest.
“I don’t base anything off of [gender]. I don’t base it off what I do, how I act, or the music I put out. A lot of music I put out, I keep it [neutral]. I try not to say ‘she’ much or ‘he’ much. I try to just keep it straight love, or whatever it is…we can’t leave anybody out.”
While Daye doesn’t personally seek romantic connections with other men, he isn’t repelled by the prospect of it like many others in his position may be. As he tells it, he has a security in his own sexuality that allows him to explore connections while maintaining his boundaries.
“I had a friend who fell in love with me once, but I know at the end of the day, who I am. I don’t go out and date guys, intentionally,” he said. “I’ve been on dates with some of my gay friends or whatever, but we don’t end the night with me laying on his chest,” he laughs.
In the meantime, while Daye puts the finishing touches on his sophomore album, he’s channeling more of that sensually untamed Grace Jones energy in his art. In one recent shoot in particular that Daye can’t wait for fans to see the final product of, he’s clothed in nothing but honey from head-to-toe.
“We just went sweet candy crazy! It was nice,” he said excitedly of the photoshoot, of which he credits Jones as an inspiration. As for the album? Daye’s blending his own signature sound with that of Alicia Keys, Lil Durk, Smino, and Chiiild among others, for a product that’s poised to take over the R&B airwaves all next year. From the preview we’ve heard, it’s more of those sexy, soulful, creative vibes that you’ve never heard yet didn’t realize you were ready for.
“The theme of it is…some type of addiction. I’m using the act of love as the sweet sugar,” he says of the project. “Then everything else around it is the addiction. I’m playing around with sweet and sweaty ideas. Whatever that sounds like.”
We absolutely can’t wait to hear what that sounds like.