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How did Luminate get started, and how long have you guys been performing together?

Sam – We started the fall of 2005. We actually started at a small music school in Memphis, Tennessee, called Visible School of Modern Music and Worship Arts. We moved from there to a city called Tyler, Texas, and that’s where we ended up actually having the band start, and carried it out from there. That was all through the fall of 2005, so it’s been 9 years coming up.

How did the band end up being called Luminate? What’s the meaning behind the name?

Sam – It’s the same definition as the word illuminate, which means to shine light in the darkness, and we figured that was what we’d want to do if we were to use the gifts God gave us, which is music. We decided that we would shine a light in the darkness through our music, whether it be through the lyrics, the sound, or through reaching people at concerts. That’s what we set out to do, and we’re still doing it!

Are you guys working on any new projects?

Sam – So this is actually a shift from the original direction. Usually, half our record would be more towards singles you’d hear on the radio – songs of inspiration, songs of life experience, and stuff like that. Then the other half, we’d have corporate worship songs we’d want people to sing maybe in church, or sing together, but this record has totally shifted to a whole corporate worship record. It’s gonna be all new, original. We’ve already recorded 2 or 3 songs that are for sure going to make it on the record, and we’ve been writing since last fall, so it’s kind of taking the best out of the masses, ‘til you find the ones you love. It’s gonna be really cool, ‘cause it’s written for the church to sing to God. It’s songs that simply glorify Him and worship Him. It’s not so much about us. It’s more about how He’s moving through us, and in us. It’s cool!

How would you describe Luminate’s style of music?

Sam – I definitely would say it does fall more into the rock category. We’ve always just called it ambient rock, or ambient pop/rock, but with this new addition, we’ll probably fall more into the worship category, so ambient pop worship is what I’d probably call it. Ambient just means that it’s big. It’s not tight and clean. It’s got tons of soaring guitars, big melodies, and stuff like that, and that’s something I’ve always loved.

What’s the #1 message Luminate tries to get across through its music, and when you perform?

Sam – It’s shifting a little bit with this new record, but the backbone’s still the same, and that is we all have a destiny in Christ, whether we see it or not, and we are all qualified to be a part of that destiny, and to walk in that. Whether it’s a song that inspires you to run back to God, or to follow God, it’s mainly that we are called to a destiny, to bring Him glory, to have an abundant life, not a boring life – full of ups and downs – and just really to worship Him. That’s the main bottom line, whether it’s through our actions, or through our lives, our entire destiny is to worship Him. That’s kind of what we’ve always enforced at our concerts. It’s what we’ve always made available to people during our shows, and our records, and we’ll continue doing that until God says to stop!

Are there any fun facts about the members of Luminate?

Sam – The oldest that we are is 27, like I’m the oldest, so we’re still kind of kids at heart, and we’re still just kind of happy to do what we do. I actually lead worship at a church in Florida, but I live in Tennessee. Any weekend I have off – that I’m not touring, or doing a show for the band – I actually lead worship at a church in Ormond Beach, Florida. I fly in and out. It’s kind of like my home church, but I don’t live there. I also am surfing now, which is kind of fun. I’m a surfer who lives in Nashville, Tennessee, nowhere near the ocean!

Toby rids scooters – those little Italian scooters kind of a thing he rides best with, and I tend to make fun of him for it. We do all love motor cycles a lot, but we kind of make fun of him, ‘cause he rides a scooter. But’s all in love!

We’re coffee enthusiasts, so that’s always a big part of what we do, is we’ve always got to have our morning coffee! We actually bring our own coffee gear with us on the road to make it. So we’ll bring our grinders, our AreoPresses, or our hot water kettles, and we’ll make pour-over coffee – we’ll hand pour it, with the water and the temperature, and we do Ethiopian beans, and stuff like that. When we’re on the road, if we have to, we will go to Starbucks, but we like to make our own. We drink it black – just nice and black.


I love reading, writing, photography, and music. I started Generation Arise as a way to encourage young people to arise and shine forth the light of God!