Country Next: LAKEVIEW
We take pride in introducing fans to country music’s brightest new stars through our Country Next series. Here, we chat with LAKEVIEW.
Lakeview; Photo by Jared Roach
LAKEVIEW undeniably has all of the makings of becoming the next big act in country music. Hailing from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the emerging duo, comprised of Jesse Denaro and Luke Healy, became best friends through a bouncing job and a common interest in the country genre. Unlikely circumstances with an ex brought them even closer, and they eventually decided to move in together.
Their decision to become roommates came with no regrets, as they spent several nights coming up with songs with relatable storytelling lyrics and party-starting hooks. Those late-night songwriting sessions also helped them develop a cutting-edge sound that can be described as a combination of country, soul and rock ‘n’ roll. But aside from making music, it’s LAKEVIEW’s “work hard, play hard” mentality that brought them to where they are today.
In 2019, the duo relocated to Nashville, eager to take their career to the next level. Now, with two singles out from a not-yet-released EP, and signed to New York-based independent label Photo Finish Records, they are quickly proving to be one of the most buzzed-about talents on the country scene.
Their high-energy debut track, “Poor Me,” has already struck a chord with fans, garnering nearly 200 thousand views on YouTube with its live-for-the-moment accompanying video. Meanwhile, their newly released single, “Eyes Closed,” is bound to resonate with even more listeners, as it showcases LAKEVIEW’s ability to grasp the heart with its emotional topic of heartbreak and sentimental melody.
“We’re so stoked for everyone to finally hear this song. The day we wrote it, we knew immediately that it had to be one of the first tracks we released as a duo,” Denaro said of “Eyes Closed” in a statement. “I feel like it shows a different side of LAKEVIEW that fans haven’t seen yet.”
LAKEVIEW, who promises more music in 2020, recently caught up with Country Now to talk about their respective backgrounds, the music and what’s to come. Read on to discover more about LAKEVIEW below…
Melinda Lorge: You two became friends in an unlikely way. Can you share the story of how you two met?
Jesse Denaro: Luke and I come from metal backgrounds. We both toured in separate bands, and we first met each other in Florida at a show. A few years later, I got engaged and moved out to Pittsburgh. When I moved there, I went to this party, and, literally, the first party I walked into, Luke was standing there. We were both like, ‘Hey, I know you!’ After that, we hung out all the time. We also worked together as bouncers at night. Then, a few years later, [my] relationship [with my fiancée] fizzled out. Turns out, she was actually Luke’s high school ex-girlfriend, which was crazy! I didn’t know that when I moved there. So, we just became best friends through our security job, playing music together, writing, and hanging out all the time. It was a weird series of events to get to where we are today.
Lorge: When did you decide you wanted to become a country duo?
Luke Healy: When we first met, we talked about how much we both loved country music. At the time, our current projects weren’t in that genre, so we were both like, ‘Hey, we should write some country songs together since we both love it so much.’ That got put off. Then, we came back around with the idea of becoming roommates, after the fall out with my ex-girlfriend, who later ended up becoming his ex-wife (laughs). So, we were together all the time. We’d go to our bouncing job at night. After that, we’d have our shift drink, go home, and it would be 3:00 a.m. We knew we’d have to be back up at 5:45 a.m. to go to work, so we would sit there and write songs together. We thought those songs sounded pretty good. We both wrote solo a lot, but as a team, it was a match!
Lorge: Why did you choose the name LAKEVIEW?
Denaro: I think the idea behind it was, in the time of the creation of what we were doing, life was so hard. You work hard all day, then you go from there, straight to bouncing, then you go home and write songs. So our idea was, we wanted something that makes you think of being on vacation and drinking a beer.
Lorge: Speaking of vacation and beer, tell me about your debut single, “Poor Me.”
Healy: When we wrote that song, I knew right away it should be the single because it does express what we like to do and who we are. It expresses our life, especially since we’ve known each other. We’re identical to that. We work hard, but we party hard like we’re small town famous. So as soon as we wrote that song, I thought to myself, ‘This is what I want people to think about when they see us first.’ We have a lot more sincere songs, but this one’s a little bit easier for people to connect with.
Lorge: How about the follow-up single, ‘Eyes Closed’? What was the inspiration behind that song?
Denaro: We wrote ‘Eyes Closed’ with our friend Kevin Bard (“How Not To” by Dan + Shay) and it started from a quote he heard in a movie, which was, ‘I should’ve kissed you with my eyes closed.’ So the whole idea is like, you go through this relationship, whether it’s with a guy or a girl, and then that relationship breaks down. You’re like, ‘I shouldn’t have kissed you with my eyes closed. I should’ve listened to my parents, should’ve listened to my friends, should’ve seen those red flags, I should’ve listened to my intuition. But I was blinded.’ I think it’s a cool juxtaposition to ‘Poor Me,’ and it shows we’re a little bit more well rounded. I think having those two songs on there shows that as LAKEVIEW, we can rage, and we can cry.
Lorge: Do you draw inspiration from other country artists when you’re putting together a song or a project?
Healy: As far as modern-day influences, it would be Jordan Davis, Florida Georgia Line, Chris Lane, and Brett Young. Lyrically and emotionally, it’s Randy Travis and Don Williams. They were like the cornerstone of my childhood. When I hear songs from them, it takes me back to going fishing with my dad, and camping, and working on the car, fixing the breaks when I was 6-years-old. Those songs, I always think of them, and not until you get a little bit older, you understand how good those lyrics are. At my age now, it’s like, ‘These guys are talking about me.’ So when we write these songs, lyrically and emotionally, our old-school vibe comes from that. It’s just so pure and so good.
Lorge: As a country duo, how do you separate your personal lives from your musical career?
Denaro: We don’t (laughs). We lived together in Pittsburgh. We used to work from 5:45 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. building pools. Then we would work from 4:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. doing bouncing. We’d sleep an hour, go to the gym and do it all over again. I think what makes it easier for us is that we like each other. We’re truly best friends. It’s not a business arrangement to write songs; it’s just the outpouring of who we are. And, that’s what you’ll hear [with these songs]. We’re friends, and we want to do something fun, and we hope you like it.
Lorge: As far as concerts coming up, will your shows go on as planned amid the coronavirus pandemic, or have they been pushed back?
Denaro: I think everyone is bummed that things are getting pushed back. But, everyone’s health and safety should always come first. So, we want to play for people, but we want everybody to be healthy and take the precautionary steps to do that. Stagecoach got moved, and we were super excited to play that, but we’ll play it in October, and it will be fun!
Lorge: What’s next for you?
Denaro: We’re probably going to book a few shows in our hometown of Pittsburgh and that Ohio Valley area. We’re working on new music, and, hopefully, we’ll start working on a full album. We’re also excited to get back on the road and meet people and play these songs for them.
Fans can keep up with LAKEVIEW on Instagram.
Melinda Lorge is a Nashville-based freelance writer who specializes in covering country music. Along with Country Now, her work has appeared in publications, including Rare Country, Rolling Stone Country, Nashville Lifestyles Magazine, Wide Open Country and more. After joining Rare Country in early 2016, Lorge was presented with the opportunity to lead coverage on late-night television programs, including “The Voice” and “American Idol,” which helped her to sharpen her writing skills even more. Lorge earned her degree at Middle Tennessee State University, following the completion of five internships within the country music industry. She has an undeniable love for music and entertainment. When she isn’t living and breathing country music, she can be found enjoying time outdoors with family and friends.