On any given weekend, you can likely find 26-year-old Luke Harbur performing as musicbyskippy somewhere around town. Just this last weekend, musicbyskippy performed at events tied to Missie B’s and Cafe Cà Phê.
Born and raised in Overland Park, Harbur offers an arsenal of beatboxing, singing, beat production, rapping, and keyboard to audiences around town. Harbur recently left his day job to pursue musicbyskippy full time, and his first album will be released in February 2022.
IN Kansas City recently grabbed coffee with Harbur for a Q&A session:
IN Kansas City: You just left your position with the American Jazz Museum last month to pursue musicbyskippy. How did you decide you were in the right place to do that?
Harbur: It was about knowing I have enough people supporting me with what I do, and financially, I’m okay. The American Jazz Museum was an amazing place to begin my career. For three years not only did I learn how to be an independent marketer and music fanatic, but all the skills in that job also really complemented everything I do today. I will always have a love and a passion for the American Jazz Museum, especially if I like ‘make it make it’ one day—whatever that really means—I want to give back as much as I can.
IN KC: You have a lot of talents. How did you build up that list of beatboxing, singing, keyboarding, mixing, etc.?
Harbur: I was just really curious. I made my first film when I was a high school sophomore, so that’s where I got interested in videography. On top of that, I had this obsession as a child, when kids would be on the bus with earbuds and listening to pop music, I’d be listening to film scores because I knew they made me feel something. When I was a college student, I knew I wanted to pursue performing and that’s why I did the Ithacappella group. Then when I majored in journalism in college, I specialized in multimedia. I’m not the best at any of this, but what I love about what I do today is it’s nice to know about all kinds of things and collaborate with others so both of you can best showcase your strengths.
IN KC: You’ve been busy lately preparing to drop your first album, My Dying Wish. When people listen to this album, what’s the message you want them to take away?
Harbur: I want people to feel their most authentic emotion of whatever I’m singing or saying. There’s a song about bisexuality I’ve performed a few times, and I’ve been amazed to hear and see families come up to me and talk about what it’s done for their child, and how it was a lesson for the child to open up to their parents. There’s a song that’s purely instrumental called Aaron Drake, which was the name of my liver transplant donor. All I do is play the piano, and I talk about who he was at the beginning of the song. My hope is to open a door of hope for other people, and ultimately show that as human beings, we have a lot of similarities between each other despite our differences.
IN KC: You just dropped your first music video, which contains a song, Rant, from the album. What was it like to do your first music video, and why that particular song?
Harbur: I think the biggest challenge for any independent artist is to make a music video with no cast and no crew. I shot it. I edited it. I produced it. I sent it out all by myself. That specific song, Rant, is the last song on this album coming out. Ultimately, it is the song that leaves people wanting more.
IN KC: This is your first experience releasing a full album. How do you think this experience will impact the trajectory of your music career?
Harbur: This is the first time I feel like I can present myself as a fully authentic artist with a full set ready to go. If I ever have the opportunity to open for artists, if I’m ever invited to charity events, corporate events, etc, I know I can provide a full show for a full opportunity. I’ve never been able to do that.