Joel Rusco/The Vinyl Hedgehogs started writing music in 2012 and set a goal of writing 50 songs in 2014. Since that time he has written 50 songs per year each year. The songs cover a variety of genres and topics. For 2017, he
switched to an acoustic/electric guitar and found a comfort zone with rock and roll. He is currently working on a song per week for a year challenge on Facebook, all songs being under the band name of The Vinyl Hedgehogs. The music continues to get stronger and he is committed to a strong run at delivering top hits in the future. And today he spent time with us.
What Musical Genre Do You Feel Best Describes Your Music And How Would You Describe Your Sound?
If you listen to the newest CD "HEY" You will probably get the feel of more Drama Rock I would say because it has at least three really jazzy rock songs but then jumps into Texas Ranger which is very passionate as is Maria and Mexico and those songs feel more like the Moody Blues meets the Ventures. No doubt if you like to here variety and something different this is a great album.
How Did You Get Your Name? Is There A Story?
The Vinyl Hedgehogs was a name I had chosen back shortly after High School when we were performing in a recording booth at a fair in Minnesota... the song we did at the time was Addicted to Love by Robert Palmer. I thought it was a cool name and I brought it back from that time. Kind of a statement that I'm gonna give this one real shot... something I should have done long ago.
What Are or Have been Your Musical Influences?
My musical influences are just too vast to list. You would probably be able to see that in my library. I started out writing mostly folk stuff but I have always had a fast pace to my songs so rock, blues, jazz had fit better for my guitar work.
What Are You Working On Now? Any Future Collaborations We Can Look Forward To?
I am about to release my 12th CD "HEY" in my 5th year. This CD will be a real step up from anything so far. I am also working on 13 and 14. One CD will be a concept album with a lot of variety but it all ties together as a story. The other is just an amazing jam session... I have done 5 of those songs so far and they really move.
What Is Your Ultimate Goal In The Music Industry? What Is Your Plan Of Action?
I have many aggressive strategic goals. I have given myself time to acclimate to the music world but I am very close to having break-through type stuff and I can feel that. I will write some songs in the next year that can't be ignored. Some people already feel I have that but I will deliver even better. This year I will be searching for an agent.
What Is Your Favorite Track To Perform Live and Why?
Songs Like "Hey" off the newest album and any song that has a great guitar flow while I am singing. I generally remember and love playing the more difficult riffs and the Jazzy delivery of this song is the kind I love to deliver. I have delivered acoustic songs with the same passion as well.
What Has Been The Biggest Challenge In Your Career Thus far?
I don't think many people have written such a vast amount of material with has basically been 50 songs per year while on this journey. There is a big need for exposure and I have been spending more time writing than performing and that will be a challenge as I need to get out more.
What’s Your Typical Songwriting Process?
The primary way I have written music is writing the guitar melody first but many times I have written to a melody that comes into my head. I have also written music from drum beats. I have had pretty good success writing on request for a certain topic.
How Has Social Media Influenced Your Career As An Artist?
It has brought me places to play such as San Francisco Folk Fest and is a good way for me to put my song a week per year challenge for the Vinyl Hedgehogs. Since I am really not known as of yet, I am still finding avenues.
What Are Some Tracks and Artists Currently On Your Playlist?
I wasn't listening to anything but what I was doing for the first couple years... but my kids have moved me away from that. I listen to many artists like Kendrick Lamar and songs my Son listens to and my daughter who is 12 has me listening to 21 Pilots and other of her choices. My own personal library is extremely diversified and can range from AC/DC to Van Morrison to Ottmar Liebert
What Did You Do Before You Started Making Music?
I have been in the non-profit arena working with the Disabled as a CEO. I have recently worked as a CFO in the non-profit arena while I have been writing music in the last 5 years.
Any Advice For Young People (Men or Women) That Want To Succeed In The Music World?
I an still on my way to doing this... but find the music that really feels right in your soul and you enjoy doing. I also feel that dance is an important part of feeling the music. So as you are writing it helps to feel it. I have really worked to deliver the vocals and play guitar at the same time with a lot of passion.
What Would You Change In The Music Industry If You Were A Top Music Executive?:
I would find more artists who truly are singer/songwriters and bring back that magic of the late 60s and early 70s. Most songs that are given to an artist belong to their experience and it loses something transferred on.
How Do You Feel About Originality?
I will have finished 230 songs in 5 years at the end of 2017. I have written in almost every style. I can only find a few that resemble others I have written. I will continue to try and find my sound and display my unique style.
Is There Anything Else We Should Know About You Or That You Would Like to Add?
I have no intention of stopping this journey. I found my passion for music a little later than others but I will catch up and you will be hearing more of my music some day.
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