Rusty Clanton, the Nashville based singer-songwriter, first gained attention through his covers on YouTube back in 2011. Since then his powerful original tracks have captured the hearts of fans worldwide (mine included!). His voice is like a sunset – it has the magical ability of slowing everything down and completely transfixing you. He has a gift for song writing, being able to weave lyrics and melodies into a perfect blend and his genuine and raw songs will linger in your head long after they have finished. In between finishing one tour and booking the next, Rusty took the time to answer some questions…
Why did you decide to start a YouTube channel?
I decided to start uploading my music to YouTube in 2011. I really wanted to have some kind of music portfolio that was easily accessible and YouTube seemed to be the easiest way.
Do you feel under pressure to constantly produce content for your YouTube audience?
I don’t feel that pressure actually. I would say that I did a few years ago though. I was more active in the YouTube community and felt like that was the path I was set on. Everyone told me that consistent content was one factor in someone’s art gaining attention. I still feel like that is true and, if attention or subscribers is what you’re after, that’s a good start. After a couple years of playing that game I realized that is not what I want. I just wanted to make music that I like at a pace in which I can enjoy it.
Has song-writing always come naturally to you?
I think story telling has always come naturally to me. I have a vivid imagination and, for better or worse, it’s easy for me to draw a connection from anyone one thing to another. I also have always loved poetry and the challenge of making something flow or rhyme while still telling the story in the clearest way. When artists are really good at that, it feels like magic.
Do you find it therapeutic to write songs about situations from your own life?
Yes! It’s very therapeutic. In fact I find it difficult to write about something that hasn’t actually happened to me or someone I know. Sometimes if I have trouble processing an emotion I’ll start writing about it without the intention of actually finishing the song. I get all these weird, little revelations about how I feel. I love it.
You released your new EP at the start of this year. What inspired it?
Yes! I’m very proud of that project. I’m not sure really what inspired me to begin it. It felt like it was time to make something. I had a handful of meaningful songs come to me after a breakup and I really wanted to encapsulate them into a project. Recording feels a little like a purge to me. I can package all my feelings into one thing you can hold in your hand. It’s so satisfying.
Do you have a favourite song on the EP? Or a favourite lyric? Why?
My favorite song from the EP is either ‘False Start’ or ‘Dirty Words’. I’m attracted to ‘Dirty Words’ sonically and it’s about a very real emotion I was feeling at the time. ‘False Start’ is a very special song to me because I said exactly what I wanted to say, no more, no less. I’m very proud of that one lyrically. They’re both very fun to play.
Did you enjoy the process of making the EP? How did it compare to previous EPs?
I did enjoy it so much. I enjoyed it more than anything else I’ve made up to that point. It was one of the first times that I had an idea for a project and came out similar to how I envisioned it. I recorded it at my house like the EP before that but it felt more like a complete thing when I was finished. I’m still very proud of it.
If you didn’t live in Nashville, where would you want to live?
If I didn’t live in Nashville (which I love so much) I would probably live in LA. I’ve also loved the idea of living in London. I think those are the only two places I could imagine making a home-base in the same way Nashville is that for me now.
Do you have a dream venue or festival that you’d love to perform at?
I’ve never been to any festivals so I don’t know! I’ve always been interested in going but I’ve never been able to afford them. I always thought it would be so fun to play Scala in London. I saw a band I love at that venue once and I couldn’t help but think about how crazy it would be to play a show there one day. The Ryman in Nashville is beautiful and that would be very surreal. Fingers crossed!
What are you currently working on and do you have any upcoming shows?
I’m working on a small EP of very new songs right now which is almost finished! In a month I’ll start recording another EP which I’m so excited to begin! This one will have more of heavier presence than anything I’ve released in the past. I have lots of energy to release.
Follow the links below to discover Rusty Clanton’s music:
By Eveline Vouillemin – Up&Coming