THROUGH ARMY DEPLOYMENT IN AFGHANISTAN AND A STINT WITH REALITY TV, MUSIC HAS BEEN THE CONSTANT IN LUKE PELL’S LIFE
NASHVILLE SINCE 2014
Luke Pell started playing piano as a kid, and like many country artists, started singing in church. He picked up the guitar at 18, which he continued to play while attending college on a football scholarship at West Point. After graduation, he’d play weekend shows, and would come to Nashville as often as possible and play songwriter nights.
“I asked to be stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky when I was in the military so I could be close to Nashville, ‘cause I wanted to be able to come down and start learning the art of songwriting and being connected with the town,” he says. “I did that as much as I could while I was at Fort Campbell.”
Fort Campbell is a little over half an hour from Music City, and splitting time between music and the Army made for a strenuous schedule. “It was a ton of work,” he concedes. “But music was kind of my release, kind of my therapy, to get away, clear my mind from all the stress of being in the military. When I was in Afghanistan – I spent a year there – my guitar was like the one thing that I could take that was a personal belonging of mine I could keep with me, and it kept me sane, just kept me on an even keel emotionally. It’s always been there for me despite whatever else is going on in my life, that’s been the one consistent thread.”
After leaving the military, Luke spent some time in the corporate world before making his final move to Nashville in 2014. Once in Music City, he was cast on ABC’s The Bachelorette, and then reappeared recently for the network in The Bachelor Winter Games.
Though each held value for the Texan, each opportunity was a reminder that music was where Luke’s passion truly lay.
And though his involvement with the Bachelor community has increased his public profile and his platform for music, he still feels the pressure of the music industry. “I always felt like I was racing against the clock, because in the back of my mind I knew how much time it generally takes to build a career in any one direction, and I was kind of feeling spread thin to a certain extent,” he says.
“There were so many good things about learning to pick up and move into a new city and make new friends there and create a life there and do that time and time again,” he continues. “Being spread thin in terms of all those things has kind of been my challenge because I’ve also wished that I could have been here working on a craft for 15 years straight every day.”
If he feels he’s lost time, however, he’s certainly making up for it now. “I’ve met more people this year out on the road playing shows than I probably have in the last 10 years of my life,” he says. “I love meeting people … we play about 100 shows a year with my band on the road, so going out into all these towns across the U.S. and meeting people, meeting fans, making friends… I love it. It’s one of the best seasons of my life right now.”