TJ Lawson And Lucas James Take the Stage For The Semester’s First Concert

Student Activities kicked off the semester with its first concert Jan.14, a free event featuring student artists TJ Lawson and Lucas James. 

Musicians Lawson and James presented a live concert at the LaHaye Event Space with an exciting performance of both original and popular covers by each band. 

“Student Activities is so excited to have TJ Lawson and Lucas James perform tonight,” Courtney Stone, an event supervisor for the concert, said. “We’re looking forward to a super fun night and hope to see lots of students there.”

James  opened for them with his band “The Kids,” greeting the nearly 300 students in attendance with dazzling lights, fog machines and fantastic music.

The crowd displayed fiery energy the night of the concert. Hundreds of guests in attendance sang, clapped and danced along to the music. Switching between guitar, piano and a tambourine, James pumped up the audience as he opened the concert. 

Headlining the event, Lawson followed with his own band, performing a mix of R&B and jazz. Both Lawson’s best friend and father joined him on stage, both of whom Lawson credits for helping him musically. Along with covers and original songs, Lawson and his band debuted their new song “Watercolor Skies,” which they released the day of the concert. 

Lawson said he had been preparing for this night since mid-November. Over Christmas break, he got his band together and set to work. Lawson did most of the arrangements and writing, rehearsing remotely with his band online with very little in-person practice until a week prior to the concert. 

He stated that his goal for this concert was to get some experience in live performance as the concert was one of his first headlining gigs in front of a crowd this size. But he also wanted to inspire his fellow students. 

“I hope that people walked away inspired (and) transformed in their hearts,” Lawson said. “I hope that although not every song was explicitly about the gospel and about Jesus, that they walked away encountering Jesus, and they walked away with the revelation of how good he is.”

James has been studying music most of his life and officially started writing his own songs in high school. On stage, he said some of his inspirations were iconic artists of the past – Michael Jackson, John  Lennon and Jim Davis, the writer for the Garfield comics.

“I’d love to go back in time and write a song with John Lennon,” James said. 

James studies commercial music to learn how to record, engineer and produce his own music. After graduation, he plans on moving to Nashville to pursue his career further in a professional studio. 

On the night of the concert, James released his new song “Nikes.”He says he is working to release more songs very soon.

Lawson’s parents say that he was playing piano as young as 3 years old, and his entire childhood was spent learning and playing different instruments around the house. 

Lawson is working towards a bachelor’s degree in commercial music as well. He wants to bring a fresh sound to the Christian music industry and provide something more interesting on the radio.

Student Activities plans to host its next student concert Feb. 11.

ENGEL is a feature reporter.

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