Meet August’s Artist Discovery: Ruston Kelly

Introduction

August 2020’s Artist Discovery feature is Ruston Kelly and his new album Shape & Destroy on exclusive bone-white vinyl, which our members can add onto their box for just $20! It’s an unflinching look at Kelly’s journey through “the cycle of frustration and temptation after getting clean,” and it’s an honest reflection on a painful transformation into the person he wants to be in this new phase in his life. 

We asked Ruston a few questions about his favorite music, the first record he owned on vinyl, who his influences are, and more. Read on to get to know him better!

Q & A

What was the first album you ever owned on vinyl? 

Jackson Browne “Running on Empty”

What have you been listening to lately? 

Lots of Perfume Genius

Where is your favorite place in the world and why? 

The Carter Family House in Maces Springs, VA. It’s where Mother Maybelle Carter, June Carter Cash’s grandmother, used to live in the 40s. Maybelle was a giant influence of mine and I’m lucky to be able to go stay there to make sense of my life at times, thanks to John Carter Cash, her grandson and good friend of mine.

What is the best live show you’ve seen, and why was it the best?

Joanna Newsom in Nashville. It was…spellbinding. Can’t quite put into the words the magic she created on stage.

What are some things you have to have on the road with you? 

Yerba Mate. Cold-brew. A beater guitar to have in the back lounge of the bus. Oh and Nintendo. And 1 good book.

What is the craziest thing that’s happened to you on the road? 

I kicked out a van window once because I wasn’t sober yet and having an especially reckless time.

Who or what influences your music? 

Life. Life coming at you fast. Life getting tangled. Expressing myself through music has always been a way for me to make sense of the world a little better.

What album do you play on repeat, and what do you love about it? 

Sufjan Stevens “Carrie & Lowell” or Lennon Stella’s “Three. Two. One.” They both do something very healing to me and remind me again why we do what we do, which is so others can have a transformative emotional experience.

If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be and why?

Either Mike Hadreas from Perfume Genius, Dave Matthews, Eminem or Taylor Swift. I just kind of feel like we would make something very special and very good.

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