By Rob LeDonne
La Costa Canyon graduate Luke Williams, 21, was attending the University of Oregon studying nutrition, but things just weren’t clicking.
“After a while, I stopped going to class,” he says, looking back. “I lost interest because I knew that all I wanted to do was make music. That didn’t make my dad happy, but it’s ultimately paying off.”
Williams isn’t kidding. After dropping out of school and moving back to North County (he grew up in Encinitas and lives in Del Mar), he’s pursuing music full-tilt and has results to show for it.
After putting together a debut EP (with keyboard stylings courtesy of session player Jamie Muhoberac, who’s worked with the Rolling Stones and John Mayer), he’s set to record an album at acclaimed singer Jason Mraz’s studios in January and is also prepping a tour.
“For a long time, I was saying what I wanted, but didn’t act on it,” he said. “When I came back to San Diego, I took training to be a yoga teacher, and it inspired me to take action in my life.”
Improbably, it was the yoga training that put Williams on the fast track to music stardom.
“Yoga is a universal practice, and you get a lot of different types of people coming to class,” Williams said. “One of those people happened to be Jason Mraz’s manager, Paul Silva.”
Silva heard Williams’ music and picked up the same quality that made Mraz, who got his start playing the coffee house scene in San Diego, an international superstar.
“Paul came up to me and said I had potential. He’s now a mentor in a sense,” Williams said.
Williams caught the music bug at a young age.
“I started getting into guitar when I was 10, because my uncle played it,” he said. “For some reason, I always had a gravitation towards the guitar. I started taking lessons, and in high school I was in a death-metal band.”
At 17, his teen angst started to fade and his music mellowed out. Today, he writes singer/songwriter songs akin to the breezy style of Mraz, Jack Johnson, or Carmel Valley native Tristan Prettyman. In 2013, Williams released his first full-length album, “From a Learning Heart,” which “embodies the theme of encouraging others to do what they love and embrace their authentic self.”
This summer, Williams is focusing on honing his skills and writing dozens of unique songs so he can choose a select few to record at Mraz’s studio at his local estate, dubbed Mraz Organic’s Avocado Ranch.
“Every day, I’ll tell myself to sit down for two hours minimum and write and play,” Williams said of his technique. “Whatever mood I’m in will translate into the song I’m writing.”
Throughout it all, he points to his yoga-teacher training as the propellant for his success. “I’m doing what I love, I am living authentically, and I’m attracting people I want to work with,” he said.
As for his parents, who were skeptical of Williams dropping out of school?
“They’ve always been supportive. All they really care is that I’m doing what I love.”
For more on Williams, who recently performed at a Concert at the Cove in Solana Beach, and his upcoming shows, visit www.lukewilliamsnewmusic.com.