Kevin Rudolf Jumps “In the Mix” [DJBooth Interview Exclusive]
Psychologists say that we're naturally wired to be attracted to people with multiple skills. With that, it can be assumed that singer, producer, songwriter, and guitarist Kevin Rudolf is rising faster than the temperature these days because it’s in our DNA to love him. Whether or not he’s the recipient of hardwired affection from his fans, he’s amazing either way, a fact that his Cash Money label mate Lil’ Wayne would attest to.
Kevin Rudolf has steadily been creating louder and louder buzzes on our radars since his 2008 smash “Let It Rock,” and he’s planning to keep the ball rolling with his upcoming sophomore album To the Sky, which is set to hit stores next week. In addition to producing hits for himself, he’s been busy crafting hits for others: Birdman, Leona Lewis, and Three 6 Mafia are just a few of the stars who have Rudolf to thank for reaching enviable positions on the charts. As the release of To the Sky draws nearer, though, Rudolf couldn’t be more excited to get his own material into his fans’ hands (and earphones).
In this exclusive, five-question interview, Kevin Rudolf jumps “In The Mix” to tell us what he’s had to overcome to become the musician he is today, and what he plans to do to continue growing as an artist.
Growing up, did you always aspire to be the successful artist and producer you are now? When did you commit yourself to music as a career?
I went through a lot of phases as a kid... at first I wanted to be a guitarist, then a song writer, then a producer. I found that all the phases that I went through ended up working in my favor because I now have so much to draw from as an artist and producer. I knew by the age of 13 that I was going to pursue a career in music. I told my mom, "Sorry - I won't be going to college."
Describe your relationship with Timbaland. What have you learned from him that's made you successful?
Tim was kind of a mentor for me. I used to play guitar on his records and watch him work. It was a pivotal time in my life. I learned about beats, sounds and textures. I learned what it takes to make a hit record, and I learned to not over-think anything.
On your current single “I Made It,” you talk about overcoming obstacles. What is the most difficult obstacle you've had to overcome?
Waking up at 4:00 am to catch flights, airport security, eating shitty food on the road. That's some of them. But in all seriousness... this is a very tough business and it's hard to break into. I'm thankful that I get to do what I do for a living.
Do you feel like you have truly "made it," or do you still have a long ways to go? How will you know?
I feel like "making it" happens in stages. It's an amazing feeling to hear your song on the radio for the first time. Or selling millions of singles or albums. But then you set bigger goals for yourself that you wanna achieve.... it never ends. You have to keep growing -otherwise you die. I have to say though, I do live with a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction that I've already achieved many of my goals.
Everyone knows that your breakout hit “Let It Rock” is a feel-good party song, but does it have a deeper meaning?
Let it Rock was written from a place of anger and dissatisfaction with the world. It's a song about hypocrisy. It contains biblical references - and yet people still think it's a party song. Whatever works.
Final thoughts? Shout Outs? Confessions?
Everybody check out my new album To the Sky - coming out June 15. It's got some amazing features. I'm showing a different side of myself that people will not expect.