Lukas Rossi couldn’t help but think of last year. Craving the normalcy of the summer of 2019, even something as simple a “hello,” hit him hard during COVID-19 lockdown. To alleviate some of the longing for a normal summer, it was the perfect time to release “Summertime.” The title track from Rossi’s latest album, “Summertime,” and it’s video, was a natural unraveling and much-needed soundtrack to a season of uncertainty.
“I started realizing how important it was to depend on friends and family during these hard times,” says Rossi about the track and pulling the humorous video together during quarantine. “I just started calling them, and the message came through. It’s about hope, unity, love, and how important it is to stay connected with your friends and loved ones.”
Completed before all the “chaos in the world began,” says Rossi, the album came out at a time when it was difficult to feel good about anything happening in the world. In other words, it may have been the perfect time for such levity. “I was still trying to understand how to continue to support the causes and people I care about—most days it was hard just to try to smile at all,” says Rossi. “Combine that with four months of isolation, and I started thinking about how friends and family are so important. Having a support system is crucial to our mental health.”
Former singer of the Canadian band Cleavage, Rossi got his break on the television show “Rock Star: Supernova,” where he won the spot to join, and tour with, a supergroup made up of Motley Crue’s Tommy Lee, Metallica’s Jason Newsted, and Guns N’Roses’ Gibly Clark in 2006, before releasing his first solo album Hollywood in 2010.
“For me personally, writing music and performing has always been an outlet of emotional expression and a safe place to take comfort in during hard times,” says Rossi. “Music has healed me in so many ways, so I felt like if I could use my voice to even help one person smile in some way, I wanted to do that, even if it was just with a lighthearted wave and a smile.”
Summertime, a follow up to 2017’s Naked, is the lighter side Rossi has wanted to explore for some time, revealing more dance-y and anthemic pop, showcasing a pure versatility outside of harder rock.
“People are used to the heavy, more rock side of me, but I have always really enjoyed pop music, and soul, and blues, and country as well,” says Rossi, who has covered Adele and produced a song with N’Sync’s Joey Fatone, Jeff Timmons of 98 degrees, Delioua Kennedy of All4One, and No Authority’s Tommy McCarthy.
“I wasn’t really trying to fit into or be boxed into just one genre, I just write from my heart, says Rossi. “I think sometimes it’s really hard as an artist to stay true to yourself, while exploring and trying new things, growing and evolving with experience. I will always do rock n’ roll, but there are a lot of other sides of my personality.”
After connecting with friends during lockdown, Rossi also started brainstorming how he could support The Ferrari Kid, a foundation that helps children with cancer feel like rockstars for a day. Having a son of his own, their mission connected with Rossi, and proceeds from the sale or download of the “Summertime” video will go directly to the organization.)
“I was floored by the outpouring of people who wanted to share a smile, a dance, a hug, a message of hope and unity,” says Rossi of pulling the video together. “What we ended up with is something genuinely so special, something that hopefully reaches everyone everywhere and makes them feel connected too.”
“Summertime” is the perfect change of musical seasons for Rossi. Directed by Jakob Johnson, “Summertime” focuses on humor and some of the delirium surrounding self-isolation this summer and is fixed on Rossi’s friends and family—everyone from his wife, parents, father-in-law, next door neighbor Jim Kelly, Motley Crue’s Tommy Lee, Matt Pinfield, Joey Fatone, Run-D.M.C.’s Darryl McDaniels, members of P.O.D. and Three Days Grace, actor Paul Schulze, Tiffany, comedian Big Jay Oakerson, and Chris Perez—all getting their cameo moment.
“The video is just so special and near to my heart,” says Rossi. “I’m so grateful to everyone who appears in it. I hope that it makes someone smile today.”