Interview with Luke Markinson: Queer Pop Anthems Galore

emilytreadgold #3, Features

The queer pop anthems have arrived with Luke Markinson's dancy, glittery, and confidence-inducing discography.

Whether it's getting ready for a night out, speeding down the highway, or strutting down the streets of a major city, Markinson creates energetic bangers for the girls that need to shake some ass and serve some poses! His debut single, "Never Alone," dropped in 2020 and made an immediate splash within the world of hyperpop, joining Spotify's official hyperpop playlist and catching the attention of artists like Charli XCX.

Markinson has much to celebrate, as his most successful release, "Hit and Run," just hit 200k streams at the end of last month. He also just put a new song out into the world, "Vitamin D," which is a continuation of the Los Angeles native's playful and sensual musicality. With clever wordplay and a self-aware sense of silliness, the track indulges in today's expanding landscape of queer artists being able to express their sexuality to the fullest.

Luke Markinson spoke with The New Nine about his latest single, "Vitamin D," his love for the pop girlies, and his musical goals for the future. Keep reading for the full interview!

Hi Luke, thank you so much for chatting with me today! Congratulations on your new single, "Vitamin D." How would you say 2024 has been treating you so far?

Luke: So far, so good! I mean, it definitely has been a whirlwind getting everything together for this era and single, but I'm just so happy it's finally out and resonating with people. I'm stoked for the rest of the year and everything.

Your music career started in 2020 with your first-ever single, "Never Alone." What was the journey like toward your first release, and what was it that pushed you into fully pursuing a music career?

Luke: Since I can remember, I've been into making music and writing songs. I would say I first started publicly sharing my music with the world in eighth grade. I had a Vine account, and I would write little six-second original songs and do covers. After Vine got shut down, I kind of took a hiatus. [I was] kind of writing for other artists and focusing on school and everything. And then when COVID hit, I had a lot more free time, as everyone did, and I just really missed music being a super integral part of my life. I started working with producers and getting back to writing songs, and then "Never Alone" was the first single I made. I shot the visuals in my home in Santa Monica, and it was super fun! It kind of snowballed from there.

Which music artists have been the biggest inspirations for you throughout your music career?

Luke: I would say Charli XCX is definitely a huge inspiration of mine. She actually put "Never Alone" on her Apple Music playlist she curated, and that was really profound for one of my favorite artists ever to recognize my work. That really inspired me. I love Kim Petras. I love Troye Sivan. Anyone that the gays are for, I'm usually here for: Beyoncé, Rihanna, Gaga. These are the girls, you know? They make pop music.

"Vitamin D" is a sexy little pop banger! For those who haven't heard it yet, how would you describe the song and what it personally means to you?

Luke: "Vitamin D," it's – shocker – not about vitamins or anything medical-related. It's just a sexy dance-pop banger. We need more horny pop songs, and especially representation for gay pop songs. "Rush," I feel like, was the biggest mainstream vibe of that. Maybe Slut Pop by Kim Petras. That kind of sound influenced "Vitamin D," and it's just about being really free and having fun. I dropped it around Valentine's Day because for anyone not cuffed – like me – sometimes you just need a sexy pop song to make you feel hot and powerful. That's what I tried to do with that one.

Do you have a favorite lyric from "Vitamin D"?

Luke: There's so many good lyrics in it… Let me think… I mean, I like all the euphemisms about the doctor calling me like it's an emergency… I kind of do a thing where I'm like, "I know what my body needs, so I'll try every different flavor of your…," and I kind of mirror that with, "I know what my body needs, I'll get down on my knees and savor all your vitamin D." Also, "Got something I need that I can swallow whole / fuck the diagnosis, I already know."

The visuals for "Vitamin D" are so much fun! What inspired the office-themed photoshoot for this new track?

Luke: A repressed sexuality fantasy was kind of my take on it. The models in the shoot are very serious and very masc-looking, and I really wanted to contrast that with an overt, sexual, glittery look with the sparkly top I was wearing. A lot of milk around the table – you know, "Vitamin D" – a little euphemism and everything. I just wanted it to be really fun. It was so fun shooting with the models. These are my friends that I know, so they were recruited to be in it. It was fun shooting the video, too. There's a lyric where it's like, "Put your hands on me," and they all put their hands on me, and I cannot stop laughing for the life of me! I'm just laughing in the final visual. And then, for part of it, I actually shot it in a real dentist's office. That was really cool too, to wear a robe and get into a character: someone who needs saving through vitamin D.

You have a lot of songs in your discography now, and the new singles just keep on coming! If you had to choose, what would you say is your favorite song you've released so far?

Luke: I think "Hit and Run" is the most core to the sound I have been searching for and love. I think the lyrics are really clever, and it's just a vibe. Every time it comes on at a pregame, or when my friends are getting ready, people tell me it makes them feel so powerful and loose. I just love that aspect of the song. Also, KIIS-FM played "Hit and Run," and that was a really big goal of mine that I got with that song, too.

There's a lot of music coming out this year. What music are you most excited to see released in 2024?

Luke: Well, definitely the new Charli album and "von dutch." I would say Slut Pop Miami by Kim, but it literally just dropped. I need to listen. I'm really into COBRAH right now, and Shygirl. If they were to drop anything more or Troye, that'd be really cool.

You were born and raised in Los Angeles. How would you say the culture and environment of LA has helped shape who you are as a music artist?

Luke: It's good and bad. I'll start with the bad. I think sometimes it's really hard seeing people you maybe went to school with, or just people in the industry, really succeed that are nepo babies. You know that they had connections and whatever, and you can literally see it translate into success. As someone who really has worked for everything and has been posting on social media, who's grinding and hasn't had that, it could be disheartening. But then again, I feel like everything in life is based on relationships. You kind of have to take it with a grain of salt, which is what I try to do. And also, I guess, a negative in comparison. I compare myself to other artists, either in real life or on social media, all the time. That sometimes has made me disheartened, but the good side is I'm so inspired by a lot of my friends and people I've met who make music. Being able to do writing sessions or music sessions with people, and just hear about different ways to make music and see artists live all the time, it's really inspiring.

Let's chat about short-term and long-term goals. What's one goal you have for yourself that you'd like to accomplish by the end of this year, and what's one goal that you'd like to accomplish within the next 5-10 years?

Luke: Well, a goal is that I want to play Pride. Like, someone book me for Pride anywhere! I would love to do LA Pride; that would be so fun. I was supposed to do one Pride in Tennessee or something in the Midwest, and due to budget cuts and COVID and everything, they cut it, and I was really sad. I definitely want to do a pride show. Maybe this is more long-term, but I want one of my songs to hit a million streams. That would be a really cool goal. I want "Vitamin D" to hit 100k streams by the end of the year. Keep reaching people, growing, and doing more shows. A festival would be insane. I want to do a festival. For a long-term goal, too, I want to eventually put out a body of work. I've really been into the singles, but maybe an EP or an album would be cool, too. It's fun to do singles. Like with my ADD brain, I focus on one thing at a time, one visual concept promoting it on social media. It's easier, but I feel like I love a good project. That would be fun.

That's why I feel like if I was an artist, too, I would be so excited to put something out. I'd hate to wait for the rest of it to also be done.

Luke: I just want to put it out! Like, I get excited. I listen to it so much that I'll get sick of the song by the time it even drops because I'm hearing it a million times, so I just want to put it out.

What would you like to say to your fans who are streaming your music, engaging with your content, and who are looking forward to what's to come later this year?

Luke: Well, first, I love you so much! Thank you for giving me a chance and playing my music, adding it to playlists, using the audio on TikTok… all of that helps me so much. I've definitely been close to quitting music just because of frustration, and that really is you guys who keep me going. When I hear your messages about how it has affected you, made you have a good time, or made you feel comforted, all of that is so impactful. Keep being on the lookout. More music to come!

We'll be streaming!

Luke: Yay! Love it!

Keep up with Luke Markinson on Instagram, Twitter, and Spotify.


Hi, my name’s Austin! I’m a 6’3” iced coffee addict who’s obsessed with reality TV, pop music (Lorde’s the best), Taco Bell, shopping, writing, etc. I currently live in Hollywood and am loving the vibes. You can follow me on Instagram (@austinashburn4) or Twitter (@AustinJAshburn) to stay updated on all my terrible music opinions!

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