Originally from Virginia Beach, Luke Shay relocated to Las Vegas from Los Angeles a little over three months ago to continue to focus on his music career. After hitting it big and going viral by winning remix contests online, Shay scored a residency at Drai’s Beach Club Nightclub in the Cromwell. But Shay has a multifaceted lifestyle outside of his music career. He’s also a local adventurer and a total foodie.
How do you want the world to perceive you as a musician?
All the music I’ve done, I’ve always stayed true to good organic music as far as chords and melodies. I’m not trying to go cheesy or hop on the bandwagon of what’s popular at the moment. I like to make music that makes people feel something and helps people get through times in their lives. If that’s something I can do, that’s great.
And as a DJ?
Bringing that to the club setting is a totally different vibe, though. You can’t play certain types of music in clubs because it just doesn’t work. I guess [being known] as a DJ, [playing music] that’s tasteful and brings something new to the club and doesn’t go in and play the same overplayed songs over and over again. I spend a lot of time curating my set to be interesting. I’ll put in an old song or something that catches everyone off guard. [So] people can reminisce about songs that are from the ’90s and stuff that they grew up on.
How do you remember all of the old-school stuff to play?
I have it all on my computer. I’ve been DJing for 10 years now; I’ve been collecting music for a long time. When I first started DJing, I had a mentor, and he was older than me. He had a music collection that was even older. He gave me a music collection that he had to start off with, and then I just kept building and building.
If you’re out somewhere and you hear a song that you haven’t heard in forever, but it’s just a song that you love, it always catches your attention right away. If you’re in a club setting and you’re used to hearing the same songs over and over again, but then you hear this throwback, it always just grabs you.
You recently made the move to Las Vegas. Where were you before that?
I moved to Los Angeles first and I was there for close to four years. I had a mentor for a year; his name is Cory Enemy. He produced for Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and a bunch of big pop people. I was living with him for a year and I was going to the studio with him every day and just working on music with him. I got to learn a lot, which is what I really wanted to go there for, to expand on the making music side of things. Then, I started putting out some stuff under my name. I won a couple remix competitions, and a couple of the songs went viral. That’s when I started getting contacted and started playing a bunch of shows outside of L.A. as well.
Is that what brought you to Las Vegas?
Yes. I signed a residency with Drai’s, which has been great. I was playing so much at Drai’s and traveling back and forth between L.A. and Las Vegas that I just decided to make the move to try out Vegas.
Do you like it so far?
I do. I’ve gotten to explore all the stuff off the Strip. For all the times that I was coming here for the last few years before living here, I would always just stay on the Strip in a hotel. Now, I’m getting to find all the good places to eat off the Strip because I’m a huge foodie. I love food, cooking and going out to eat.
What do you like to eat here in Las Vegas?
Normally, it’s Asian cuisine, Japanese restaurants. Sushi is probably my go-to. I’m not going to make sushi at home because I’m not a sushi chef. That’s just not going to be good. I like Korean barbecue, Thai food—those are my favorites to go out to eat, which is amazing in Las Vegas. Chinatown has every type of Asian cuisine you could think of.
When you were living with Cory Enemy, did you get to work with any of those pop stars you mentioned?
Yeah, I’ve gotten to contribute to some of the music for different artists like that. I was working beneath him, which is great. I guess at that stage you don’t really get credited, but you get to learn, you get brought into the industry. I sat in the same room with Katy Perry and big artists such as TLC when they redid their last album for the movie [CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story, 2013]. I definitely got to meet a lot of them, which is cool. A lot of them are really nice.
I love learning that pop stars are actually cool people in real life.
Many of them are just like anyone else. Some of them are actually weird. I mean, once you become that famous, you’re in another place. A lot of them are just overwhelmed by it, I’m sure. You can’t just have a normal life anymore.
That would be crazy. It’d be awesome though.
Yeah, if you can put up with all the things that come along with it, like not being able to eat dinner without somebody coming up asking for a photo.