NFL Star Lu Talks Balancing Football & Music As Debut Single “FEVA” Arrives

AllHipHop had the pleasure of chatting with Lu’ virtually to discuss his background, love for music, debut single “FEVA” and his dream collab.

Jesse Luketa is a force to be reckoned with on the football field. Best known for playing linebacker for the Arizona Cardinals, Jesse brings that same energy into the recording studio. He recently released his debut single, “FEVA,” under the artist name Lu.

Born and raised in Ottawa, Canada, Lu is an anomaly in both sports and music. His distinct sound is fueled by his endless inspirations, spanning genres of Hip-Hop, reggae, Afrobeats and more. He can also speak French fluently, which also contributes to his unique style.

Directly in line with his mission of creating feel-good music, “FEVA” is more than just a single—it’s an exploration of Lu’s artistic identity. “FEVA” is a testament to his ability to create a vibe, while standing his ground on creating music that’s both real and relatable.

“Playing at the highest level of football has been my dream since I was 7, but the one thing I’ve loved just as much since that time is music,” Lu shares. 

As far as new music, Lu reminds fans this is just the beginning. He also boasts a standout cosign from hometown hero Belly, giving Lu the confidence to pursue his artistry even further.

AllHipHop had the pleasure of chatting with Lu virtually to discuss his background, love for music, debut single “FEVA” and his dream collab.

AllHipHop: Where are you located?

Jesse Lu: I’m originally from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, but I’m currently in Phoenix, Arizona. I play for the Arizona Cardinals. 

AllHipHop: How’s that?

Jesse Lu: It’s been amazing. Recently just signed another deal, a one-year deal to be back here for this upcoming season. I’m extremely excited for that. It doesn’t get better than this: good weather, good vibes. That’s why I like to stay during the off-season as well.

AllHipHop: Your Instagram handle is @ottawasveryown. Talk about your roots in the city. 

Jesse Lu: The city means everything for me. I’ve always been the type of person, doesn’t matter where I go, I want to shed some light ahead and put on for my city. Not too many people from my area get to make it. And when we do, trying to support and inspire the youth is important. We got guys like Belly, shout out to big bro! Upcoming rapper TwoTiime as well as other athletes. Such as Neville Gallimore, Marial Shayock from Ottawa, Ontario. We’re few in numbers, but we’re trying to continue to do big things on a larger scale for the city. For the country as well.

AllHipHop: When did you fall in love with music?

Jesse Lu: I’ve been in love with music for quite some time. Football has always always been the main thing, obviously. It allowed me to chase my dreams and get a great education. But at the same time, whenever I’d find free time, I’d be in the studio and writing music. That’s something I felt was good for me to express myself in another aspect. It’s funny because it got to a point where I’d be making all this dope music, but I’d gatekeep in the sense where I just send it to my peers, send it to a few of my teammates. But I got to a point where I got tired of hearing all these people telling me, “You gotta release this, you gotta release this.” I said you know what, I’mma do it.

AllHipHop: Do you remember the first artists you fell in love with?

Jesse Lu: Of course, being that I have such a diverse background. I speak French, English, Lingala. I listened to a little bit of everything growing up. From reggae, to rumba, to Hip-Hop as well as plenty of French music. I’ve drawn inspiration from Bob Marley, Burna Boy to Drake, obviously—a little mix of everything honestly. It allows me to find inspiration and and add difference pieces to my own art.

AllHipHop: How did you end up speaking so many languages?

Jesse Lu: My family’s originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo. French being my first language, I ended up learning English at school. We speak Lingala back home as well, so I’m trilingual. Those are some of the things that even when I’m making my music, I could have a verse in French, might throw in a little English, then I’ll throw in a little spice from Lingala as well. 

It blends culturally as well. Me deciding to go back to my roots, Afrobeats is the sound that’s taking over right now in the music industry. It’s the vibe, it’s the ambiance. Doesn’t matter where you are and the types of event you’re attending, it just fits. It’s good energy, good music. It only makes sense to hone in and tap into my roots. 

AllHipHop: Did music or football come first?

Jesse Lu: [Sighs] That’s tough, because I grew up in the church. I was in the choir, so music came first. But once I fell in love with football, it took over and hit the forefront. But at the same time, I never lost that touch for the music.

AllHipHop: Definitely want to talk about your debut single, “FEVA.” How you feeling?

Jesse Lu: I’m feeling blessed. The love and the support has been insane. Seeing people, how they move to it, the vibe. It’s kind of cliché, a bunch of athletes say they want to make music, but the music that they make isn’t usually what you expect. It’s funny because I’ll share my music and they’ll say, “Yo, this is not what I was expecting.” It’s a good feeling, seeing that people are warming up to it and they’re really embracing it. 

But aside from that, it’s a small milestone for myself. I’m a firm believer you have to celebrate the small things in life. It being my first, I’m extremely ecstatic. Proud, but even more excited because I know I got some more heat to follow up with. Trying to start to establish my own generic fanbase, people who appreciate my sound and are enjoying everything that comes with it.

AllHipHop: Who or what inspired this record?

Jesse Lu: What inspired this record is life, the type of things I’ve seen men encounter on a daily basis as they date in our generation. As raw as the lyrics may be it’s reliable and catchy! “Oh she got baby fever, but she praying that a n#### don’t go leave her.” 

AllHipHop: There was a moment I was talking with my right hand man KJ Hamler about a similar situation and those same words kept being reiterated “Oh She got Oh she got baby fever” and I kind of just decided to take off from there! 

AllHipHop: Talk about the Afrobeat vibes in there.

Jesse Lu: Afrobeats/Afrofusion  is home for me, I’ve had moments where I would get in the studio and try sketching new but it just didn’t feel right. When it came to making Afro fusion is just felt right. It’s what I enjoy listening to on game day because it just places me in a different zone, as I continue to evolve with my music I hope to do the same for my audience.

AllHipHop: What can we expect from the music video? 

Jesse Lu: It’s going to be something special. I’m currently brainstorming right now with two videographers. I’m thinking of taking a trip to Africa and shooting the video out there, so it’ll be something dope. 

AllHipHop: Three things you need in the studio at all times?

Jesse Lu: When I go to the studio, I don’t like to be in there and waste time. I don’t go to a studio honestly until I’m ready to knock out two, three songs. I like to do a lot of the heavy lifting throughout the week. I fine tune everything, have the whole song recorded on my phone on voice notes. Then go in there and go lay down. Start perfecting it, tweaking it. 

But three things I need in the studio: water. That’s for sure. I find myself getting parched in there. What else? I like being in there, working with a couple of homies, to bounce ideas and see what they think. That’s really it. I’m a simple man. I go in there and work, in and out. Lay a verse down, fine tune it with my engineer. That’s really all I need.

AllHipHop: How was it being in Paris for Fashion Week?

Jesse Lu: It was my first time in Paris. I’ve taken the trip out to Germany last year, but first time at Fashion Week as well. Sitting down and planning how I wanted to do my rollout, music and fashion go hand in hand. Taking the time to go on that little music promo tour out there was beneficial for myself. Being able to network, being in the right rooms and continuing to push my brand. 

Although yes, I’m a football player. I wanted to break out of that box of being labeled as an athlete, because I’m more than an athlete. It was a dope experience, definitely excited to be back next year. It was nuts, being able to sit from a lot of these shows. From Amiri to Kid Super, a whole bunch of shows, honestly. I can’t even tell you off the top of my head all the shows I attended. But it was a lot, the schedule was a whole lot of go go go and no rest. Definitely enjoyed it.

AllHipHop: Do you have a dream collab?

Absolutely, that’d definitely be with Burna [Boy]. I can definitely hear his voice on a few of my records. As for now I’m excited to build an organic fan base and continue to be a pioneer in breaking the barriers. More bangers to follow that’s for sure.