Nashville Singer-Songwriter RUSTON KELLY Discusses Making His Debut EP, Favorite Musicians and More!
Posted On 14 Jun 2017
Last month Washington Square Music (Razor & Tie’s imprint label) announced the signing of Nashville singer and songwriter, Ruston Kelly. Kelly’s debut EP, Halloween, is now available via Washington Square Music. This ten-track collection was produced by Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes, First Aid Kit, Jenny Lewis), mixes folk lyricism, grunge attitude, country heart, Americana spirit and rock energy to create his unique and haunting sound.
“Ruston is an inspiring, honest, thoughtful songwriter who puts on a hell of a show,” says Washington Square/Razor & Tie Co-Owner Cliff Chenfeld. “You don’t see that combination often and we are thrilled that he has decided to work with us at Washington Square/Razor & Tie. We also like to hang out with him.”
Kelly’s Halloween has already earned acclaim from outlets like Consequence of Sound, RELIX, Apple Music, and KCRW. The track “Poison” has racked up over 590,000 Spotify streams, while the track “Black Magic” was featured on the season finale of the hit CBS show Scorpion.
Despite Halloween being the world’s first official introduction of Ruston Kelly as a front-man, Kelly has already garnered success in the music business, writing hit songs for Tim McGraw (“Nashville Without You”), Josh Abbott Band (“Front Row Seat”), and more. “When people hear my songs, I want them to be affected in the way music affected me before I started doing it for a living,” Kelly states. “I want them to think, ‘Damn, that made me feel something important I didn’t know I needed to feel.’ I fucking love playing music; it brings me so much joy, and I’m appreciative that Washington Square is helping share my music with the world. If I’m still doing this years from now, that’s more luck than I deserve.”
Kelly, who has previously toured with artists such as The Lumineers, Lee Ann Womack, Joseph, Shakey Graves, and Robert Earl Keen, as well playing festivals such as Bonnaroo, will be performing at Stagecoach and SLOSS Music & Arts Festival this year.
Read more about Ruston Kelly in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! So where does this interview find you today? Is there music playing in the background? If so, what is it?
Haha I’m currently listening to the album “Break Mirrors” from Blake Mills and “Scream Bloody Gore” from Death.
How is 2017 treating you so far? Did you approach the start of this year any differently then you did last year?
Yeah, the start of 2016 was rocky, mainly because I was being an idiot and destroying my body. Taking care of immediate happiness rather than actual joy. So yeah, I’ve flipped the tables around this year and feel much taller.
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you recall your first musical memory? Could you see yourself doing anything else today? If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing?
My first musical memory was of my Dad playing steel guitar (who is also in my band). TK we call him. If I wasn’t a musician I would be working on a horse farm somewhere writing and riding and taking care of outside things.
What was it like putting together your debut EP, “Halloween”? Did anything about this process surprise you at all?
I trusted my instincts and just went with it. I wasn’t surprised necessarily, but quickly became aware after listening back that the effort lies mainly in letting go of everything swirling around you so you can be in your most fluid creative form.
So after seeing you perform last week in LA, I was wondering if it is harder to sing the sadder and sappier love tunes now that you are so happily in love and newly engaged? Do you think any future songs you write will be a little more upbeat and happy?
The best part about being a writer is that you aren’t always the character in the story.
Have you and your fiancé, Kacey Musgraves ever thought about writing a song together? Do you play music at home together at all?
Yes we absolutely do.
Where do you think you are happiest- on stage performing, in the recording studio or elsewhere?
I’m happiest in any creatively charged moment.
How have your recent set of tour dates been going? Where are you excited to play at next?
Been going great! I’ve got some really great things coming up. Playing Sloss Fest and opening for Brandi Carlile to name a couple.
What artists have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
I would love to work with Blake Mills in the future. He’s a seabird of some sort. Magic in everything I’ve heard from him. I’m still always inspired by Jackson Browne, any punk band, Jason Isbell, John Prine, Dave Matthews, Slayer, Run the Jewels, etc.
At the end of the day, what do you hope your fans take away from your music? What do you hope is the message of your songs?
That they find a point in it. Something unique to themselves that puts a new color of self understanding on them. To make it their own message.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?
I’m 6ft and love the color black.