Story by Candice Hakimianpour
Bellus Magazine (BM): Growing up in Ohio, you’ve been performing from a very young age. After winning awards for your deep-seated emotional lyrics and enchanting voice you moved to Los Angeles to follow your dreams. What do you think inspired you at such an early age? And what continues to inspire you today?
Rudy Stevens (RS); Growing up, I was lucky enough to be surrounded by a lot of unique people, who listened to a lot of different music. I remember always being very moved by a big melody and always being engaged with the lyrics. My cousin and I would have contests to see who could remember all the words to our favorite songs and sing them back to one another.
BM: You’ve said, “I’m here to take your heart hostage through your ears”. Being inspirational is obviously something you aspire to achieve through your lyrics. What do you want your audience to feel when listening to your original songs?
RS: One of the more emotional moments that inspired me as a child was during a rough patch for my mother, when she dedicated the song “Hand In My Pocket” by Alanis Morrisette to my brother Shane I, and told us to always think of her when that song played, and always remember that it meant we could get through anything.
That song and what it meant to her: perseverance, continue to inspire me today.
When my audience listens to my music, I simply want them to FEEL. When I look out at current pop culture, it seems like people are listening to music and watching shows and movies that keep them JUST entertained, but not emotionally engaged. I understand that we all have the need to escape, to feel good and be care-free, but with my music, I want people to not only feel good, but better by facing their deepest fears and secrets and connecting with the message in my songs.
BM: The lyrics are quite telling in “CRIMES”, your new EP. The song is about a young man letting go of his girl that he has seen out with another man. Although the story you’ve pictured is rather sad, I must say I caught myself singing along after just a couple of times listening through. Is this emotional honesty something your fans will be seeing from you in the future?
RS: One of my favorite things about the title-track Crimes is that it is a very poppy song, melodically and instrumentally, then you’re hit with very honest and biting lyrics.
Being honest with myself and others, emotionally, is something I take pride in, even when it’s embarrassing and might make someone uncomfortable.
My fans should and can expect me to always share the deeper parts of myself with them through my music.
BM: You and I are both fans of Michelle Branch. Her lyrics, much like yours, really resonate with such a large variety of music lovers. Same can be said about HAIM, whom you’ve dubbed as one of your favorite bands. Other than Michelle and HAIM, is there an artist or group you would like to see your music career take after?
RS: For me, it’s always a tricky question to answer. I don’t necessarily like to compare myself too much to other artists, even when they’ve been very influential to my own music.
However, Stevie Nicks is an artist whose career I really respect and look up to. Stevie has always had her own style and way of doing things, long before MTV and long before there was artist “branding”, which is something labels really push new artists to develop nowadays, and it often times can feel disingenuous.
I believe that artists who do and will have longevity in the industry, know themselves, know their art, are always willing to evolve and adapt. I’d like to be an artist who produces a career with longevity. I want to be playing at 60 years old and still have those die hard fans who know all the lyrics to my songs.
BM: What is one piece of advice you could give our viewers about following your dreams and the obstacles that will inevitably be part of the journey?
RS: My advice is to never give up on yourself, never give up on your dreams and the things that you’re passionate about. I’ve experienced a lot of loss in my life that has impacted me deeply, and shown me just how short our time here is. Some people find that frightening, but I find it liberating. Accepting that has given me the courage and motivation to chase the things I want in life, unapologetically. I think it’s important to wake up every day, and do whatever the hell you need to do to be happy. Life didn’t come with an instruction manual, and the guidelines we’ve inherited don’t fit every person.
BM: Lastly, you’ve said you’re a fan of both good wine and food. What’s your favorite spot in LA that lets you enjoy both?
RS: Yes, I’m a huge fan of good food and wine. My favorite spot is tucked away up in Laurel Canyon, it’s a little place called Pace and legend has it that the Mamas and the Papas, among others, used to spend time writing music here before the building was eventually turned into the amazing Italian restaurant it is today.