“Disco Therapy” is the title of what is arguably the most popular song of up-and-coming singer-songwriter Luke Metzler, and why wouldn’t it be? If you’ve never used the words “disco” and “therapy” in the same sentence before (or any other words that mean essentially the same thing), you’re a rarity living a charmed life and we’re all insanely jealous. This past week, I had the privilege of chatting with the 23-year-old New York native, who is ceaselessly upbeat and full of optimism (could be all that disco therapy). Genuine, passionate about his music, and sincere, Luke Metzler is a glass-half-full kind of guy and a breath of fresh air in too-often-smoggy L.A. Read on for some wisdom he was kind enough to impart on getting over heartbreak, taking risks, and living life to the fullest.
1. What do you do and why do you do it?
I am a Pop Singer/Songwriter. I write and perform because nothing else brings me more stimulation and joy. It’s exercise for my brain and soul to craft melodies and stories that grab people’s attention and emotions. When I stumble upon a good idea for a new melody or message of a song, I get an unparalleled rush of excitement that leaves me in a buzzing, euphoric creative state. In general terms, I do it because every day is new and interesting and brings me happiness. I am so lucky for it.
2. Do you have a life motto or favorite quote you think of to get yourself through bad days?
“Try everything” is as close to a life motto as I get. I default to pursuing new experiences when I get the chance and it makes life far more interesting. Especially since I just moved to a new city (Los Angeles), I’m taking every opportunity to expand my horizons and I have subsequently found out how incredible L.A. stand-up comedy is. (Side note: laughing until you can’t breathe has to be one of the greatest feelings humans experience.)
In terms of getting through bad days: it’s not a quote per say but I always try to keep in mind that if there were no valleys in life we wouldn’t appreciate the peaks. That usually gets me reflecting upon and appreciating the good things that are happening in my life and it puts the “blues” in perspective. However, there’s a major difference between “valleys” and “depression”. Everyone needs coping strategies to get through tougher times, but if you’re really struggling and never seem to rise up out of your lows, I really encourage you to seek professional assistance. There’s nothing wrong with getting therapeutic and/or medicinal help for something that harms your ability to enjoy life through no fault of your own.
3. If you could tell your younger self one thing, what would it be?
Relating to music, I would tell my younger self to start experimenting with electronic production and collaborating with other artists/producers as early as possible. I was always a lone songwriter/performer who played with bands on occasion but always wrote solo on the guitar. This really refined my voice over the years (a very good thing) and made me focus on improving my song craft (eventually), but I wonder what kind of skills I’d be working with today if I had been producing and collaborating with others throughout high school and college.
In a much more existential sense, I wish I could impart upon my younger self the context of those years within the life I’ve lived up to now. I wish I could give that younger self an understanding that it wasn’t a big deal to not make the JV basketball team, and that teasing about being in musicals would be dwarfed in the future by skills those experiences had developed. My experiences growing up were overwhelmingly positive, but I wish there was a magic button to help young people deal with the very real stresses of being young and going to school and growing up.
4. What’s your advice on or experience with taking risks?
This is an interesting question because there are so many types of risks. Personally, I’ve come to realize that I’ll never be jumping out of a plane, no matter how safe Brad from AirVentures says the parachute is.
In terms of life, you need to determine your own yardstick in terms of safety and fear. Skydiving looks really cool, and is an exhilarating experience for many, but I know myself enough to know that risk (which is statistically quite safe) is not something I want to pursue. But, in general, I think it’s better to err on the side of risk, especially social risk. The worst thing that can happen when you express to someone that you’re interested in them or want to spend time with them is that they don’t reciprocate those feelings. That stings for awhile, but this sting is one of the valleys discussed earlier which makes the peaks ever sweeter.
Playing it safe socially isn’t the worst thing in the world, but taking risks can open up so many possibilities with new and interesting people romantically and otherwise. As I’ve expressed, leading a varied and interesting life is something I try to do, and putting yourself out there with social risks adds a lot more adventure to the journey.
In terms of more concrete risks, my take is: Skydiving = bad, skinny dipping = good.
5. What’s the worst gift you’ve ever been given?
I don’t think I’ve ever not felt joyous after receiving a gift, so I’m going to say none because every gift I’ve received has made me happy.
(If I absolutely have to choose, I’ll say it was the gift I received at a Student Government white elephant party in college. It was some kind of ambiguous children’s toy which buzzed and lit up and served no purpose if you’re not drooling under a mobile, but getting it was hilarious and fun so this doesn’t count either. All gifts rule.)
6. Where do you hope to be in 5 years? How do you plan on getting there?
In 5 years I will have helped write a song on the Billboard Top 100 chart, I will have continued my growth as a conscious global citizen, and I will be happy and fulfilled socially.
I plan on reaching the Billboard charts by continuing to write music everyday and constantly honing my skills for effective growth. I have already started to work with writers and producers who have more ability than me and wisdom I try to absorb, so I’m going to keep learning from them and heed their advice. I trust in that process, my creative fire, and my drive to keep me on the path to success as a songwriter.
Being a global citizen requires gathering a bunch of varied perspectives and being thoughtful about the world outside of your bubble. I try to stay up on current events, but most important is coupling that with empathy for the experiences of others. I am a very patriotic person, but I have seen Nationalism put up walls around otherwise very good-natured people which block their sensitivity to the suffering or struggle of others. Looking to the future my two goals are to try and understand and to help when I can. If I stick to that while being aware of the state of the world, I’ll be satisfied.
To be fulfilled socially, I just want to have love in my life. It would be incredible to meet someone with whom I build a strong romantic connection, but that’s certainly not a requisite for this fulfillment. I have an incredible relationship with my parents, who give me so much love and support, and I want to continue to keep them as central pillars to my life. We talk on the phone almost every day (since I moved to Los Angeles in April), and I continue to feel thankful for the way they raised me and blessed for the way our relationship brightens my life. I also have friends who mean the world to me. There are so many people in my life who challenge me intellectually and creatively, and that fills me with excitement and drive. I was touring small shows mostly in the northeast before moving to L.A., and every show where friends came out was a blast. Friends I chat with daily and weekly and people I hadn’t seen for years. Friends are fun and I’ve found some damn good ones. I want to keep meeting more people while continuing to cultivate the friendships that mean so much to me now. That’s how I’ll be fulfilled socially.
7. What’s your experience with heartbreak and how have you bounced back from it?
Everyone faces rejection and relationships ending. The most important thing is to see your worth and existence as an individual outside of the relationship. Having a support system of good friends helps with this immensely, whether you’re talking through the bad stuff or doing anything but just to have some fun. It is crucial to address and process your feelings, but I’m also of the school of thought that distraction is your friend. It not only reintroduces you to the joy you can get out of activities both solitary and with friends (writing music, taking walks, cooking, watching movies, whatever floats your boat), but it’s also a reminder that there is a big, big world out there. There are between 7 and 8 billion people who were completely unaffected by your relationship’s glories and pitfalls. I’m not sure that fact in itself is supposed to help, but it makes me think about all the people out there who love your favorite band (or hate your favorite band but they’re a hilarious conversationalist) that you might meet and go grab a coffee with.
I have no idea how to conclude this answer but tl;dr there’s a big world, go have fun and meet cool people after dealing with all the feels.