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Music Crush of the Month: Interview with Roderick August

"Touring makes you a better songwriter too. You’ll know pretty quickly if a song just isn’t working or doesn’t feel right live."

For this week’s Music Crush of the Month feature, we’re getting to know Roderick August. The talented folk singer told us about his background, music and what else he’s got in store for 2020.

Nashville Noise: I’d love to hear a little about your backstory — your early music memories and early influences. And how did California impact your sound?
Roderick August: I’m from Oxnard, CA which is Ventura County. It’s a big farming part of the state so my earliest memories are basically my sister and I playing hide and seek in strawberry fields and being at the beach a lot. The mountains as well were such a dominant force in the landscape and I tried to be out there hiking every weekend if possible.

My first music memory was probably ‘95 or so. At the time, I was five and my older brother was home from school, blasting “Don’t Cry” by Guns ‘n Roses on his stereo. I remember the walls in the house shaking, the floor rumbling and I felt like the band wrote that song just for me. After that day, I was hooked to rock, no questions asked! I can’t say Guns n Roses influences the songs I write per se but they certainly started me down this incredible journey of live music, without a doubt.

NN: Sounds like a great upbringing! It’s crazy to think just a few years ago how different of a place you were in. You decided to just set out on a tour by yourself. Tell me about that decision and the biggest lesson you learned on your journey.
RA: After everything, I’ve learned most of all that things just have a way of working themselves out as long as you keep going. Every town, every city is a gamble. Once I went fully independent I realized how easy it was just to book my own shows, write my own music and make my own record. Touring makes you a better songwriter too. You’ll know pretty quickly if a song just isn’t working or doesn’t feel right live. Then you adjust and either go a little deeper or abandon altogether and write something new, which I often prefer. I can’t imagine I would’ve learned these lessons if not for playing live all those nights.

NN: I love that you turned your stories from the road into your music for your debut. Do you have a favorite song/story from the album?
RA: For a while, it was “Lightning Bolt” although in recent months I’ve been feeling a beautiful connection when I play “Run With The Horses.” It’s one of those songs I’m just grateful to have gotten out of my system, it’s a big piece of home for me and personal history that I feel anyone who hears it will inevitably learn a little more about me they didn’t already know.

NN: When people are done listening to the album, how do you hope they feel?
RA: I guess I’m hoping people feel like a truer version of themselves, someone vulnerable and alright with a changing world, fearless with resilience.

NN: What’s one goal you have for this album?
RA: That the album finds its way into the ears of everyone who needs it.

NN: Lastly, what else can we expect from you in 2020?
RA: I’ve been writing a lot. I want to continue to grow through my expression and bring more people along for what’s next. I’m hoping to explore more non-profit partnerships that align with my ideals and what I want to convey. I’m partnering with Farmers Footprint, an incredible non-profit that is doing great work in improving soil health through regenerative agriculture. I will be performing for their “Gratitude in the Garden” series on the Farmers Footprint Instagram happening on November 25 at 12 pm PT.

Stay tuned for another feature with August next week!

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