Metal band origins, having Jay Z as a fan, shady record deals that would end many people’s careers — welcome to the whirlwind story of Hertfordshire’s Luke Pickett, who has come through an incredible amount of adversity as an artist, but his unshakeable desire to keep putting out beautiful songs means he’s still in the game. Songs, we should mention, that sound like they could have been written by Smokey Robinson and vocals that sound uncannily like the King of Pop, Michael Jackson.
At one point, Pickett was the UK’s answer to Dallas Green of Alexisonfire and City And Colour; as the soulful singer/guitarist of local scene champions Her Words Kill, but also displaying enormous potential as he began releasing solo songs. Quite a 360 turn, it might seem, to the Motown/soul-influenced R&B-pop he’s putting out now.
“I was singing in school a little bit,” Pickett says, locked-down at his home in Tring. “But when we first started doing that rock music I was actually screaming, which probably wasn’t the most sensible thing for my voice! [laughs]”
Her Words Kill saw Pickett’s angelic choruses balanced out by the screamed vocals of Lee Beaumont — the band quickly rose to the summit of the hardcore rock scene in and around Hertfordshire, which was absolutely thriving at the time circa 2005, which saw Her Words Kill rivalled by the likes of Enter Shikari. The band eventually dissolved after several line-up changes and Pickett’s growing wish to focus on his solo music.
As Pickett has moved further away from both metal music and acoustic balladry (a good reference is one of his first releases, Empty Corridors, still racking up over 100k views on YouTube), his incredible singing voice has noticeably begun to sound more uncannily like Michael Jackson.
With his effortless falsetto and ad-libs, Pickett tells me I’m not the first to make the comparison. He says “the first time I heard that was when I was on tour with this band called Firstborn. And that was back when I was still doing the stuff like Empty Corridors. Somebody said it to me and I'd not heard it before, so I was a little taken aback! Maybe it's just because I've spent my whole life listening to it (Michael Jackon), it must have influenced me.”