Suzanne Vega - "Luka"
Suzanne Vega : "In some parts of the world. I'm "The Luka Chick", as Beavis and Butt-head put it. And that's okay. I was glad it was that song that made a big noise in the world because I think it was a good song, and an unusual song to become popular. I would much rather have it be that than some little love song - I'm not likely to write them, anyway - or something more stupid".
For Suzanne Vega, the creative process often begins with a chord progression and a rhythm. Vega : "I like chords that are augmented or diminished, and sometimes I build around a minor. 'Luka' was the one exception : It begins on a major chord and has a major-chord feeling all the way through. Usually when I first start writing the words, there's a piece missing, like a bridge or part of a chorus. 'Luka' definitely began with the chords an the rhythm, and then the words fit the song. It is based on a person that I didn't know very well. I'd only seen him once or twice, but I knew his name was Luka, and I based it on his character. I don't think he was an abused child the way the child is abused in the song, so it was a mixture between fact and fiction. It never says that he's abused, but if you look at the words, he says everything that a kid would say who is being abused but won't come out and say it. I don't write about myself, but from the part of me that's the same in everyone."
The reason why Vega uses short words when writing her lyrics is not as one would imagine : "I prefer short words to long ones, because I find that's the quickest way to get someone's attention. If you say, 'My name is Luka/ I live on the second floor,' you're drawn into this picture because it's such specific, concrete information and the language is so simple. But the funny thing was that two years ago I found out that I was an asthmatic - I had never before been diagnosed as having asthma. When I mentioned this to my drummer, he laughed and said he figured that was a reason why I had such short phrases ! I have short words, short phrases, and I don't stand around holding the note or using any vibrato, because I can't - I have no breath. So I guess it's all developed in a way that suits my style. I mean it sounds kind of pathetic, but it isn't, really : it's just making the best of your own limitations, which is kind of what a style is. Developing a style means finding out where your limits are and making the best of them."
Available on the album "Solitude standing"