• Josh Anderson

Honest Words

Lucas Kovasckitz has been writing and producing songs for nearly a decade. It's a way for him to best communicate within the world. And music allows him to explore life and his faith with honesty. Lucas shares some of the inspiration behind his songwriting and why he will continue to make music for as long as he has something worth sharing.

"Pursue music because you love it," Lucas said. "If this is the foundation, you won’t be disappointed."

Lucas Kovasckitz and his wife Danielle started attending theHeart regularly shortly after returning from an extended trip overseas in 2018. Their typical routine has been to work for a couple of years and then to drop everything to travel. They have toured most of the U.S. together, as well as visiting more than a dozen countries.

Lucas and Danielle are excited to now be putting down roots in Boone, the town where they first met and fell in love. They both have worked locally with teens and children in therapeutic care and group foster care. Danielle is working her way towards a degree in social work while Lucas, who goes by the artist name John Lucas, also records and performs music.

Music is a passionate pursuit for Lucas. And it has been for more than 10 years. In addition to recording his own material, Lucas recently joined theHeart Band to help lead worship on Sundays.

He was gracious enough to share some of his thoughts, struggles, and insights with us. The conversation that follows is unedited and it is perhaps at times challenging. And while it may focus mainly on music, we believe God can use the powerful words Lucas shares as encouragement for us all to explore our own faith honestly and with intentionality.

theHeart: How did you get into music?

Lucas: My parents bought my older brother and I a guitar when I was probably ten. I took a few lessons, and I hated it...I didn’t like the rules and the scales. I picked it back up a year or two later, and slowly started learning on my own. I then transposed my mediocre guitar skills to the family piano, and at some point my brother and I got a drum set. God bless our parents. We had a pretty strict "no-drum rule" between 9pm and 9am. I would crank my amp way too loudly and with way too much distortion, and my brother would whale on the drums. We would eventually stop when our ears hurt too badly to continue.

Eventually the word got out about our mediocre spread of musical skills, and we started playing at church. Playing outside of your parent’s basement is typically a good motivator for getting better. The church I grew up in is where I found a lot of my voice as a musician and songwriter, and overall I was given a lot of trust and encouragement within that community.

theHeart: How long have you been producing your own music?

Lucas: I started writing legible songs at around 12, and at probably 15 I started recording on my own. I bought a used Macbook, and ran the recording software that comes standard with every Apple product. I recorded a handful of albums and EPs on my own (which have hopefully made their way out of circulation with the death of the iPod), before moving to Boone and teaming up with Everett Hardin. Everett has produced and engineered everything from “Promised Land” to my latest album, “We Walk in the Garden”.

theHeart: What do you enjoy most about writing songs?

Lucas: I think when I intentionally sit down to write is when I most have the posture of listening. It’s meditation...it’s communion with God. I think God is within all of creativity. I don’t ascribe to the hard lines of this being “secular” and this being “sacred”—that God is within this but not that. I think God embodies us all...I think we’re all sacred beings, and we create from that overflow. Sure, some songs out there on the surface are about the club and drugs and beer and pickup trucks and stacks of money and all of the women you’re trying to smooch without putting a ring on it, but I think at the root of it we’re all singing about our ache and desire to be seen, to love fully and to be fully loved.

And I think a song that speaks of a deep love for my wife is just as important and “sacred” as that conveying a deep love for the Creator.

"I think when I intentionally sit down to write is when I most have the posture of listening."—Lucas Kovasckitz

One of my favorite teachers says, "the universal needs the particular." I have not seen God, but I have seen a reflection of the Creator intimately within Danielle. I think if I could put a word to what I’m after when I write, it would be "honesty". When I write from my particular human experience—holding all of the love, joy, doubt, pain, and fear—I add my voice to the universal human experience. And I think there’s something holy about that. If I attempted to write something “sacred” without the messy bits of all that comes with being flesh and blood, for me, it would be dishonest.

"Sometimes you can sing the simplest line, but it feels like all of heaven and earth is contained within it."

theHeart: What’s your creative process?

Lucas: Thoreau wrote, “how vain it is to sit down and write when you have not stood up to live." My creative process has involved getting on a lot of planes with Danielle to places I wouldn’t have otherwise gone. It’s involved working hard. Dishes. Laundry. Lots of reading and podcasts. Hiking. Running. Sitting by streams.

"How vain it is to sit down and write when you have not stood up to live."—David Thoreau

I think a lot of my creative process has stemmed from the realization that it all belongs if you are aware. I think if you are aware, the Spirit is constantly speaking to you through birds and mountains and what you’re afraid of and the people that you love and the people that are really difficult to be around (not a comprehensive list).

I think my iPhone has probably been both my greatest hindrance and my greatest tool for my own creativity. It’s the greatest hindrance when I become a mindless, scrolling, unaware robot of comparison. And also it's the greatest tool because I’m constantly writing lines in my Notes App or taking pictures of pages in books or recording voice memos to come back to. It’s with these threads of thought that I consciously or unconsciously take to the piano or the guitar to see where they lead.

theHeart: Why is music so meaningful to you?

Lucas: Songwriting is the way that I can best communicate within the world. I’m one of