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Luke Hemmings: Unveiling the ‘boy’ Within

In his second solo project, the 5 Seconds of Summer frontman confronts existential questions with a childlike curiosity

Luke Hemmings


On his second solo project, Luke Hemmings is really getting to the heart of things.

Now 27, the singer-songwriter, best known as the frontman of Sydney pop-rock band 5 Seconds of Summer, has hurdled the challenges of going solo and is finding his stride without his bandmates. Even though his lyrics sometimes wander in a stream-of-consciousness style, he’s polished them up to deliver a bigger emotional punch with fewer words.

“I write in short bursts, over different periods of life,” Hemmings tells Rolling Stone AU/NZ over Zoom from his home studio in LA,  just days before unveiling his new EP, boy. “Sometimes I’ll start a song and then come back to it months later to finish it. But lately, I’ve been trying to get across more emotion with less words. In the past, I’ve tended to overcomplicate things lyrically by saying too much. A lot of these new songs aim to be as concise as possible.”

Comparisons to the trajectory of Harry Styles are inevitable, another artist who transitioned from a mega boy band, One DirectionHemmings has spent the last 12 years building 5SOS into a global touring giant, performing to arena-sized audiences across five studio albums.

Now, he’s confidently building on his solo path, with boy following the positively received When Facing The Things We Turn Away From, which topped the ARIA charts upon release in 2021. 

Hemmings’ new EP highlights his skill for introspective and melancholic pop, all seven tracks reflecting on the complexities of his late twenties. Now married to songwriter Sierra Deaton and contemplating parenthood, he’s mining his past struggles for inspiration to chart his future.

“As I get older and [I’m] thinking about having kids at some point, I’m reflecting on myself at that age, still being that struggling boy deep down inside,” Hemmings reflects. “There can be a tendency, especially for men as they get older, to bottle things up inside and not address them until it’s maybe past the point of no return.

“This EP is about uncovering emotions or experiences from my younger years, getting in touch with that inner boy, that inner child, so to speak, in order to become a fully realised version of myself.”

With a massive fanbase, Hemmings keenly acknowledges the apprehensions that always surround a lead singer’s solo endeavour, but he has reassuring words. “They’re obviously my stories but written to be an overview of human experience. I really wanted to ride that line between sadness and happiness and stay in that melancholy place. I hope people can connect with it in their own way.”

Armed with a couple more years of wisdom since his debut, Hemmings brings a fresh maturity to boy, showcasing his most refined songwriting and vocals that shine. Tracks like “Shakes” lay bare his loneliness with a simple, cathartic refrain, while the opener “I’m Still Your Boy” tenderly seeks forgiveness for dwelling in the past. “Close My Eyes”, a standout boasting a towering chorus reminiscent of The War on Drugs, dives deep into late-night reflections, pondering “Where is the time I lost?”

Reuniting with producer Sammy Witte, known for his collaborations with industry heavyweights like Harry Styles and SZAHemmings credits their chemistry for pushing the EP’s sound into richer territory, drawing influence from eclectic influences such as LCD Soundsystem, Cocteau Twins, Blur, and The Verve.

“The first time around, we felt like we were really experimenting, unsure where the sound would take us or if I’d even do a solo album. But with boy, I had less anxiety because I knew we could nail the sound I was after,” Hemmings explains.

“I wanted to take some of the stuff I really loved about the first album, like “Starting Line” and “A Beautiful Dream” and even “Bloodline”, and push it a bit further and use new influences from some other artists that we hadn’t tapped into before,” he adds. 

The release of boy kicks off a monumental year for Hemmings as he prepares for his most extensive solo tour to date. Despite only a few solo performances in LA last year, he approaches the prospect of touring on his own again with newfound confidence. I’ve never done a big tour on my own before, but I’m excited to perform the songs live and embrace the experience,” he shares. “It’s going to be scary, but it’ll be good.”

Come June, Hemmings will return to Australia for a triumphant homecoming, with performances scheduled in Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane, and the boy from NSW says he’s especially excited about a two-night run at Enmore Theatre.

Despite any lingering self-doubt, Hemmings is learning to trust his instincts more, recognising that the present moment is where he needs to be.

“There’s still anxiety about putting anything out, whether alone or with others,” he concludes. “But you just have to break down the walls and take it as it comes.”

Luke Hemmings’ boy is out now. For complete tour details, visit www.lukehemmingsofficial.com