What made you choose TikTok as a platform to play guitar?

I had the urge to perform and play for people, but I couldn’t go out … so I started messing with virtual reality, and Microsoft had a platform called AltspaceVR, a social [virtual reality] platform. And you had people hanging out by the campfire, and one day I started playing music at the campfire for people in VR.

I was doing that for two years, and just playing for no monetary value, but right around December of last year, [the platform changed] the way they were featuring different persons that became like a real free fall. I started looking for another platform. Somebody mentioned TikTok—there was something called TikTok LIVE, and that’s a huge part of what I do.

What kind of music do you usually play?

I have a pretty big repertoire—when I started TikTok I had maybe 600 songs that I could call up and play, and now I’m over 1,000. I love the acoustic guitar, so stuff like Jack Johnson and John Mayer, but also James Taylor and Coldplay, even some country music and ’80s/’90s rock. I grew up in the 1990s, so Nirvana, stuff like that, was my influence, but I got really excited about playing music again when I was in college and John Mayer came along and made acoustic guitar cool again.

You visited the TikTok headquarters last spring. What was that like?

I had a photo shoot lined up and some video stuff, and then I got to go live from a branded studio within their headquarters. It was like a red room—you went in and it was all branded TikTok and they set me up, they had TikTok film content for their page. A videographer filmed me, and I was live to my audience from their headquarters. I played for an hour, and I let my fans see, like, “Hey, you guys are part of this success, because of you and your dedication as a fan, you’ve afforded me this opportunity.”

The way that I have had success is by connecting people to my journey—it’s very kind of American Idol. I use Scotty McCreery—like, he came from nowhere—but people want to buy his story. That’s the model of how I’ve done my lives and built my fans. I give them full transparency into every aspect of all the pains.

Do you have any future plans as far as your music career is concerned?

I recently opened up an Instagram. I diversified because I was afraid something would happen to TikTok, you know, as well as to reach a younger crowd. It’s a little harder to get followers there, but I’m trying to shuffle people from my TikTok account. TikTok chooses certain creators once or twice a month to post on the LIVE account. They’ve given me a guarantee that I’m going to take over the account for an hour that day, so I’ll get probably the largest amount of exposure that I’ve had. But the songs is not an end-all be-all. It’s just one piece of the puzzle that’s been missing to my story. 

Correction: Luke Reynolds is 42, not 43 as originally reported. 

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