Soulful singer songwriter Louis Baker heads out on tour in August to celebrate the release of his debut Album Open. We had a quick chat with Louis about being human, his inspirations, and making the world a better place.
Describe a perfect weekend for Louis Baker.
Coffee. Amazing food. Walk amongst nature. Drink a beer. Do in this order.
What was the catalyst for writing your latest single ‘The People’?
I was reading an Oscar Wilde book, and felt really inspired by one of the passages which read, ‘Why should they be grateful for the crumbs that fall from the rich man’s table?’. It got me thinking about the great divide between rich and poor, and how corrupt the world is. So, I had to write a song. It moved me. I was also listening to a lot of Curtis Mayfield and Marvin Gaye.
You recently asked your social media fans, ‘If there was one thing we could do to help make the world a better place, what would it be?’ What’s your one thing?
Education. Educate and immerse ourselves in other cultures, and other ways of life. I think with knowledge comes a deeper empathy, and that through empathy we can uncover a higher love for one another.
Are there ways you consciously connect with audiences – human to human?
If it’s a live gig situation, I like to make eye contact with the people who are most animated in the crowd. It might sound obvious, but by connecting with that person staring back at you with a huge grin, and an enthusiastic vibe, it creates a chain reaction. Suddenly other people pick up on what’s happening, and start to feel that buzz too. On the other hand, people can look bored, but it really comes down to what you choose to focus on. This tool can make a huge difference, and can really lift the energy in the room and on stage.
Name someone who inspires you on a human-level and why?
My dad. He did 43 years as a full-time firefighter. He has been through a lot of shit, and still he smiles and is generous to people. I think it takes a lot of resilience to be able to do that. I feel fortunate because I have a dad that has been so supportive and loving.
What place does being human have in the world of music?
Everything. I think music is a deep expression of emotion, and emotion comes from our own intuition and life experience. We are like the moon at night, and the music is like the reflection on still water.
What was something you loved as a child growing up?
My first bike. It was originally my older sister’s, and when she had it, it was grey coloured and was in bad condition. I remember feeling so excited when my whānau gave it to me for my 5th birthday. It was even done up for me with a full paint job, and new tyres. It is a vivid memory of feeling very loved and cared for.
Tell us three things that inspire you.
Food. I love to cook, and especially love to cook for guests. I’m not a flash chef or anything by any means, but am absolutely passionate about it. This fascination with food probably comes from my family. Dad was the cook for his fire station, and was always making us food at home, so that probably added to my inspiration. Mum would make cookies and muffins, and that was always a highlight.
The other parts of me love nature and the sea. Walking by the water, to the top of a hill to see the view.
Lastly, one other thing that inspires me is music mentoring in schools with youth. I love to be able to connect with kids on this level because it’s nice to be able to give back. I think you have to be vulnerable to make art, and there is a strength in that, so encouraging kids with this mentality early on is really important, especially with the adversities of being a teenager, like learning to find yourself, and trying to ‘fit in’. When a youngster asks me a question, and I get to spend some time helping them on their songwriting, or in their band, it’s a buzz like no other. It’s really rewarding to see faces light up and smile when they finally unlock the code to what you’re talking about, and put it into action in their own unique way.
Listen on up at louisbaker.co.nz