Jon Lucas, 30, was born in Florida where most of his family still resides. After his mother had been discharged from the Navy and while he was still very young, she decided to move to Nashville.
“My mom got a job here and raised me in Nashville,” he said. “It’s always been home for me.”
Growing up, Jon was interested in many things like sports, computer engineering, and music but it would be the latter that changed his life and gave it purpose.
into a WORLD of MUSIC
Initially, Jon said his first big interest was in sports.
“I excelled in them, and I was a decent athlete,” he said. “I was the most talented in baseball but I spent the most time playing basketball, and I liked football, so I played that too.”
He said he wasn’t ever good enough in sports to get him to the pros, so he decided to develop his interest in music.
“My mom introduced me to everything, really,” he said. “She used to sing a community choir that one of her close friends had started. He was a mentor of mine, and he had a group that my mom and aunt sang in. They used to travel all around the city and even regionally to do concerts.”
Jon was about eight years old at the time, and it was his first taste of being a musician.
“It was magical. When you’re a kid, and you see people doing what you’re interested in doing and at a level that provides money and some recognition for the personal work, it’s incredible,” he said. “They’re not just clocking in and doing someone’s heavy lifting for a dollar. They’re doing something they believe in.”
For Jon, those times pushed him to want to explore on his own and develop his own understanding of life and music, particularly the drums.
After high school and while he was taking college courses for computer engineering, Jon had an opportunity to travel to Europe to play music with singer/songwriter Ty Lawton.
Just having turned 21 at the time, Jon traveled to places like Copenhagen, Denmark, and others to play funk and soul music.
“It was great. It was diving into the water,” he said. “I started working with people I had only heard about. For a long time, I was always the youngest guy working.”
Jon is now a full-time drummer. Not only does he play in gigs around town, but he also teaches drum lessons at Creative Soul Music Academy and has a part in CMT’s show Nashville, which he plays the drummer in the fictional band, The Ex’s.
Jon has been teaching for the last three years in Berry Hill and has been involved with the Nashville show for the last three seasons.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and now I’m doing it. It’s kind of surreal to look up and understand that,” he said.
Additionally, he’s also producing music and making records. He’s working on some new projects with a friend and Dreamville Records producer, Ron Gilmore.
“I’ve got some writing, some production, and some musicianship showcased on his new album coming this year,” he said.
Jon said being a full-time drummer in Nashville is a lot of conscience movements.
“You have to calculate your moves. The beautiful thing about the drums is taking multiple fragments and pieces and parts and combining them to make one beautiful thing,” he said. “I apply that same thought to every aspect of life – like how I live, how I get dressed in the morning, how I talk to people, and everything else.”
Jon said the most difficult thing is doing what he already knows he was supposed to do. He explained himself by saying, “It’s easy to do what the crowd is doing and what seems popular. For lack of courage and other reasons, people persuade you to do the lesser and stay mediocre. A lot of times we have better ideas than the people around us, but we talk ourselves out of sticking with it.”
He said he sees a lot of musicians decline their gift and potential because of the opinions of others. To overcome those issues and difficulties, Jon said it’s best to spend time and learn from people with strong values and to keep those who are transparent and honest close.
NASHVILLE and COMMUNITY
Growing up in Nashville was good to Jon as he called it “the most balanced territory.”
“You can create a lot here. If you’re not necessarily a city person, you can find some areas here that are your speed. If you want to move fast, you can hop into some parts with that speed. Nashville isn’t consumed with so much of one lifestyle that you can’t do anything else.”
Jon is a little consumed with country music right now but said that’s not a bad thing because every genre needs their representation. In other places around the country, he said certain styles are more popular than others.
Lately, he also loves listening to eclectic-soul/Pop music blend he’s been hearing a lot of. Some of his influences are Hiatus Kaiyote, Little Dragon, The Gorillas, and Grizzly Bear.
“If we don’t see something we want, we just have to create more of it, and I’m glad there’s an opportunity to do that in Nashville,” he said. “I never thought there would be a time when you could see this much opportunity here. It wasn’t like this when I was growing up.”
Jon said the economic boom in Nashville makes the city more attractive for opportunities.
“But I do think there should be more purpose in some of the destruction that I see. I see more purposeless destruction because people are just splurging now and they’re erasing the culture, which is not cool to me,” he said. “A brand new building with no stores isn’t cool. You should have kept that old business there and invested into it.”
Jon said he worries that people like the artists, the teachers and the regular businessmen and women who made the city what it is are being pushed out because they can’t afford it anymore. He said he’s concerned that the people moving into the area don’t know or appreciate the history here.
However ultimately, he thinks Nashville will continue to grow and prosper because of the culture and of the people.
“I do wish that the developers would take a closer look at the communities to see what they’re actually changing and how they’re affecting people on a local level.”
For Jon, a community is like a village.
“It’s a network of individuals who occupy the same principles of living.”
He said to be a part of the Nashville community means you have a voice.
“It’s not easy to have a voice because I know with my ideas personally if it were easy I’d be at the finish line already.”
He said one reason it’s difficult to have a voice is that sometimes some people don’t like to work together.
“I understand how big ideas happen. It takes a lot of people who focus on the same result to work on that goal. If that happened in Nashville and people got behind big ideas, then we would be able to achieve so much.”
In the future, Jon wants to continue drumming and acting. He also wants to open a commercial studio in Nashville and get back to Europe to play more music.
Thanks for reading Nashville!