While still in the early stages of his career, Lucky Daye has shown the world that R&B music still reigns supreme. This May will mark two years since the New Orleans-born vocalist endowed the world with his debut album Painted — and since then, he’s blessed our ears with striking collaborations with the likes of Kiana Ledé, Leon Bridges, KAYTRANADA, SG Lewis and more. His soulful voice and in-your-feels tone is one that dazzles and hijacks the emotional parts of our souls, compelling us to dance, simp and everything in between.
This is audible on Table for Two — Lucky’s latest EP album which is a six-track body of work that entails duet performances with female collaborators exclusively. The impressive roster of R&B talent includes YEBBA for “How Much Can A Heart Take”, Tiana Major9 for “On Read”, Mahalia on “My Window”, Ari Lennox for “Access Denied”, Queen Naija on “Dream” and Joyce Wrice for “Falling in Love”. On each ballad, he croons of heartbreak and longing for a companion, making for an emotion-heavy listening experience.
For Lucky — real name David Debrandon Brown — music is much more than just a vehicle for expression. It’s a platform for him to apprise his audience about the struggles and pain he endured to get to where he is today, both as a person and as an artist. It’s also an opportunity for listeners to discover refuge. “There are times where I have people talk about how my music healed them or fixed their relationship, and that’s always touched me differently”, he says. “I know I have fans but then I also have lifetime friends and when those people say stuff like that, I take that seriously.” Moments of love, melancholy, and acrimony are all inevitable, and Lucky is here to remind you that it’s perfectly okay to feel, to love, to be misunderstood and to be imperfect.
So when did you start working on this EP?
It started in December 2019, when we worked on the song [Access Denied] with Ari [Lennox]. From there I realized I wanted to have an album like Marvin Gaye’s Marvin Gaye and His Girls but I didn’t know who was willing to do that or who was capable. It could’ve happened faster had I knew it was going to be an EP, but I was just following like the alchemy route of it all.
I think this moment is about women in general. It’s been a long time since women of color especially have had shine when it comes to singing, probably since like Lauryn Hill…so I just wanted to be one of the engines that burn that fuel and push that.
How did you come up with the title Table for Two?
I was actually going to call it “Duet Tapes”. It was supposed to be a cassette, but when it comes to titles I’m cool with it — as long as it’s not weird — cause it’s really about what’s inside. I trust Tunji [Balogun,Lucky’s A&R] and he named it Table for Two. He helped title my last album because I was stuck between “Paint It” and “Painted”, but since that turned out to be amazing, and he brought up Table For Two I was like, “Check!”
How do you tap into your creative process?
It doesn’t take much to be honest. I can literally write all over the place or wherever I am. I don’t even drive because I’m always looking around for stuff to write about.
Why did you feel it was important to highlight female artists for this moment?
I think this moment is about women in general. It’s been a long time since women of color especially have had shine when it comes to singing, probably since like Lauryn Hill. And I’m talking about women taking over the charts, so I just wanted to be one of the engines that burn that fuel and push that. Especially for R&B, because R&B is coming back. The more people try to run in front of it the faster you gotta turn around and come back to it.
When the EP was finalized, was there a specific track that you walked away feeling really good about?
“How Much Can a Heart Take”. The fact that I got to do something with YEBBA was crazy. Her humility and her gift is beautiful. We’re friends to this day right now and we’re about to go to New Orleans next week.
How did that collaboration come about?
It happened through my friend from Atlanta who DM’d her, and ironically we were in LA at the same time so she hit up my management to work and since we already had the Ari song and the duet thing going, we made it happen. Oh, I had a Snoh Aalegra song too.
Please tell me that’s coming out.
You have to talk to her! *laughs*. That song is a moment. I enjoy it and listen to it everyday.
Do you have any artists that you’d really love to work with?
Yeah, I want to do a song with Frank Ocean. The ocean just has to blow us in the same direction.
I think artists have their own secrets that they’d rather not give away. Like why would Bill Gates have a conversation with Steve Jobs about what he does?
To accompany the album, you also dropped the Table For Two “visual poem”. Can you describe the process behind making that?
It was so fun. It was originally going to be a virtual experience, but instead we used the video as its own moment for people who wanted to just hear bits of the songs and have something to watch. If you just want to hear the songs, you can just go to Spotify for that. We shot it in three days and we didn’t include clips from the YEBBA song cause that’s going to be its own thing later.
Are there any artists that you turn to for guidance to help you navigate through the industry?
I wish it was that easy. I wish I could just call someone, but trust me, I reach out to people. But also I think artists have their own secrets that they’d rather not give away. Like why would Bill Gates have a conversation with Steve Jobs about what he does?
What’s your dream venue to perform in?
What’s next for Lucky Daye in 2021?
My head is in a place where I want to get away from what’s going on. For my next album, I’m torn between doing what I want to do and getting into radio. I’m going to try and write more radio songs, but if it feels like I’m selling out, I’ll be off it just as quick. I’m trying to do more stuff that’s uncomfortable. There will for sure be more music on the way this year, more than 10-14 songs.