Home / News / Oak Park native GAWNE breaks record with Shaquille O’Neal

Oak Park native GAWNE breaks record with Shaquille O’Neal

Oak Park native Luke Gawne, known professionally as GAWNE, may have a hard time making it to the top in 2023 after collaborating with Shaquille O’Neal on the single “Chaos.”

O’Neal, who went platinum with his 1993 debut album “Shaq Diesel,” used Instagram to connect with GAWNE (pronounced “Gone”), an independent artist whose music has amassed more than 350 million streams.

“In October, I received a direct message from Shaquille O’Neal. I was a little skeptical because it said, ‘Send me a song,'” said GAWNE, who splits his time between Chicago, Los Angeles and Nashville, Tennessee.

“I called his number. He eventually sent me a song. We freestyled verses back and forth and made some music. Eventually he asked me for one of my songs. I was working as fast as I could in the studio. I guess it was a test that I passed.”

“It was at that point that he asked me to send him something. I still hadn’t seen Shaq. They were still messages. ‘This can’t really be him,’ I thought. Then I get a FaceTime from him. ‘I recorded my poem,’ he says. What should we do for the video?’”

The video for “Chaos” was shot quickly when O’Neal asked GAWNE to come to Miami the next day.

“I had to put together a team of six people, including myself, to abandon what they were doing,” said GAWNE, who collaborated with Tech N9ne and co-composed the song “I’m Alive” from D Smoke’s movie “Infinite.” Starring Mark Wahlberg.

The team includes Los Angeles producer Dansonn; Colorado filmmaker Diego Garcia-Avila, who directed GAWNE’s behind-the-scenes and TikTok content; and Morgan Wheeler and Summer Rech of Nashville-based Collective Films, who shot and directed the video.

“We really had to put this thing together,” said GAWNE, whose challenges included a 2011 brain injury that permanently affected his cognitive function and led him to write music as therapy.

“Shaq came to the shoot. We definitely got along better than I could have imagined. We chatted all night. He was such a kind, humble person. There is a Rolls-Royce in the video. He finally surprised me with this (as a gift). It was the craziest moment of my life.

“With everything he has accomplished in life, from basketball to business to music, I am so lucky to still be able to call him my friend. What I admire most about him is that he is a good man. “He inspired me to be a better person and a better artist.”

O’Neal responded in a press release: “GAWNE is next, and we’re going through everyone to get it there. I want to see all his dreams come true. “I’m about to tell the world about GAWNE.”

The music video, released in December, may not be their last collaboration as GAWNE stated that they may release a second video for “Chaos” using cutting-edge technology.

“‘Chaos’ is like two different perspectives coming together to create a super epic cinematic orchestral masterpiece,” said GAWNE, an Oak Park and River Forest High School graduate.

“This contrasts the perspective of a young, hungry, aspiring artist aiming to conquer the world with the iconic Shaquille O’Neal, who has done everything he sets his mind to do but is still pushing forward and hungry for success. More.”

Jessi Virtusio is a freelance reporter for the Pioneer Press.

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