Independent musician Kaleb Rudy talks about taking inspiration from his darkest times, self-funding his EP and videos, and trying to make it as an openly bisexual man in the music industry. 

Where did you grow up, and what was the experience of growing up there like for you?

I got a pretty good tour of the US as a kid. I was born in Colorado, and then my family moved to Virginia, Montana, Iowa, and finally, California. I loved music from a young age. I’d steal my older sister’s keyboard to play with or dance to my mom’s workout videos. Things got a bit harder when we moved to Iowa. It’s tough to be a new kid in a rural area, but to be queer on top of that, I definitely ran into some bullying. But maybe that’s where imagination starts. You create an inner world to escape to.


When did you realise you were bisexual, and when did you come out?

I experienced sexual attraction to both as early as puberty, but it wasn’t until high school that I developed romantic feelings for other guys. It was taboo because my dad is a Christian pastor, and the circles I was raised in were not LGBT-friendly. But as a creative person, you’re led by your emotions. It was exciting to have these new feelings. So there was a push and pull there. As for coming out, I confided in the wrong friend at school, and they outed me. My parents found out on their own as well. It was painful at the time, but things happen for a reason.

When did you know you wanted to be a singer?

I used to put on shows for my family where I would lip-synch and perform dances I’d choreographed. That was in elementary school. I must have known then!

Did you worry your sexuality might hold you back in the alternative music genre?

There was a time when I was afraid my sexuality could impact my reach in any genre, but now it’s something I lean into. I think people want honest music. They can tell when you’re not being authentic.

How do you think your queerness impacts the art you make?

I think it has to. Sexual and gender identity impacts so much of life. It’s the way you see yourself and how you move through the world. At the same time, the human experience is universal. Things I experience aren’t all that different from anyone else. I hope people hear themselves in my music.

How are you funding your music projects currently?

I fund my own projects by working a day job, like a lot of creatives out there! I’m lucky to have a fulfilling job. I work at a day programme for adults with developmental disabilities.

You’ve released four tracks from your visual EP, with one more coming. Tell us about the story that weaves itself through your music videos.

I dreamed up a narrative that I wanted to tell through all the videos on this record. Two drifters fall in love but are overcome by addiction. Each video is a chapter in their love story. “Selfish” is the latest, and we see my character battling withdrawal symptoms in the wake of their breakup.

Will your fifth single off the EP continue this story?

Absolutely! I’m excited for people to see how it ends.

Check out Kalebs latest single, Selfish, on Spotify and YouTube, and follow him @Kaleb.rudy on Instagram.