DEREK LUH

EM: When you're on stage, what is the most rewarding and exciting part?
DL: The most rewarding, exciting part being on stage is seeing the fans’ reaction and knowing that for that 15 minutes, 5 minutes—whatever the amount of time you have their attention—they forget about whatever’s going on outside those walls. And they’re just having fun with you—and that’s just the most rewarding experience.

EM: What's the best part and worst part about growing up in Los Angeles?
DL: The best part is that everything is open late! So you can just eat at any time . . . worst part is traffic—hands down, hands down.

EM: What made you decide to create DL merchandise?
DL: I’ve always been a fan of high fashion . . . we kinda got the idea from the YSL logo, and we really like how it kind of stacked on it, but it really stands for something. An acronym stands for something else like “DL” but it actually has more of a meaning like Yves Saint Laurent. So we kind of wanted to keep it real classy and make it more like you can wear it out. Not like, “There’s a person on my t-shirt—who is that guy?” It’s more like I could wear this all the time—whenever. I just want you to wear it after the show, at the show, and in your Snapchats. I want you to wear this like you’re looking in your closet and you’re like, “You know what? That’s going to go good with my outfit today!”

EM: What's one of the most memorable fan moments you've experienced?
DL: I just started doing this thing for my song “Down Chic” where I would bring a lucky fan on stage that was paying attention, showing the most love . . . and I would bring them on stage and kind of do my whole little “Down Chic” and treat them as my down chic in front of everybody and serenade them kind of. And the dopest part of that is we have such a loyal fanbase that they support; they’re not like, “OH, NO! NO, PICK ME!!” They’re like “YEAH,” cheering for them and making noise. It’s just beautiful.

EM: Who's your biggest role model, why?
DL: It would have to be a mixture of a couple of people. I would have to say a mixture between J. Cole: his artistry and his mindset and how he approaches his music. He takes his music as a responsibility; he has a responsibility to give people stories and conscience stuff to think about, as a role model musically and as a person. He utilizes his talent! If that’s not inspiration, I don’t know what you’d call it!

EM: If you weren't rapping or even acting, what career would you choose?
DL: I don’t know! Maybe a janitor? I don’t know, I’d probably just be in the back of Abrocrombie stocking clothes or something if I didn’t do this!

EM: If a director wanted to make a movie on your life, who would you cast to play yourself?
DL: Oh, that’s actually a really good question. I know he doesn’t look like me, but the way he acts and the way he has compassion, I would cast Lip (Jeremy Allen White) from Shameless. He’s smart, but he has those intentions where he’s torn between two worlds. I would want him to play my part because I feel like he’s a hard-ass, but he has compassion and he really cares. He can’t help but care; it’s his weakness.

EM: What is your morning routine usually?
DL: I wake up in the morning, I take my medicine, and then I take a shower, usually think about four or five outfits to figure out what I’m going to wear. And then usually we just go out and go get some breakfast and just start the day. I’m just a normal human being!

EM: Where do you hope to see yourself this time next year?
DL: I hope to see myself having an album out, being nominated, if not having won a Grammy, working towards selling out stadiums, headlining big festivals, like the Coachella type. And definitely get movie roles throughout the whole process. When I get a month off and get cast for a little part, you know? Have that under my belt so I can have a real one I can reach. Actually, I’m starting to write a Broadway play! Just know a Broadway play by Derek Luh is in the near future. You can interview the whole cast!
   
EM: What is your pre-show ritual and how did it start?
DL: Man, I can’t even lie: I get so nervous for it, like a football game! I get so many butterflies because, one, it’s the unexpected and you don’t know what could go wrong. That’s a bad way to look at it, but you’ve got to be aware that things can be wrong. So don’t just act like everything’s going to be perfect, and you might have to improv a bit. So being nervous is one of them, but then I started realizing I started getting angry for no reason. I was just pumping myself up in the locker, knocking stuff over and hyping the room. We start screaming and yelling and then by the time we get to stage, it’s like war! We’re going out to battle! We’ve got to give them a good show. We do this every night. But at the same time, we’ve still got to fight for their affections.

EM: What's the best relationship advice you personally follow?
DL: Stay single.

EM: Are you single?
DL: Absolutely, 100% single!!

EM. Would you ever date a fan?
DL: Here’s the thing: I would, but because I’m open and you never know what type of female would have to offer by liking me for me! And then at the same time, fans—I’ve come to realize—have this facade of who I am and put me on a pedestal, which I hate. And then they find out who I really am, they’re just like, “Damn! He’s kinda a dick! Wait, you get mad? What the hell! I don’t like you anymore!” And then you might live in Montana and I live in California: “What are we texting for? See you in Montana!” You see it goes a little further than I like. So, to answer your question: no. It’s for their sake; it’s to protect them.

EM: If you could perform on any award show or late night show, what would it be and why?
DL: Well, obviously the Grammys! Perform at Victoria’s Secret—that would be cool. I would like to perform there! [On late-night shows] I would have them have a bidding war against each other—whoever wants me most! Jimmy Kimmel against Jimmy Fallon. My schedule might open up for a couple more zeros . . .

EM: How would you categorize your style and who inspires it?
DL: My personal look is definitely inspired by comfort, but it’s also inspired a lot by other hip-hop artists. I’ll see other people dressed up identical head to toe as other artists: the same leather jacket, the same red shirt, the same kinds of underwear showing out . . . down to a T! I like to grab pieces from some . . . A fashion icon I like is Givenchy, and I like to mix those pieces together . . . it’s my own.

EM: Favorite food?

DL: Pizza.

EM: Dream car?

DL: ’71 Monte Carlo.

EM: Biggest fear?

DL: Sharks.

EM: First celebrity crush ever?

DL: Rihanna

EM: Favorite sports team?

DL: Eagles

EM: Last song you listened to?

DL: It was something on the radio! I think it was Ke$ha.

EM: Favorite rapper?

DL: J. Cole.

EM: Favorite city you've performed?

DL: Miami

EM: Favorite tattoo you have?

DL: I have my whole leg sleeved—the Sistine Chapel up my leg!

EM: Favorite sport to watch?

DL: Football.

EM: Favorite way to exercise?

DL: Jumprope!