Brooklyn singer-songwriter Rue Snider, who's headed to Jackie O's talks to 'The Post' in Q&A
Originally published in The Post.
Rue Snider, a singer-songwriter from Brooklyn, New York, talks with The Post about how his career started, who his influences are and what he wants people to take away from his acoustic sound.
In 2014, Brooklyn singer-songwriter Rue Snider managed to play 91 shows in 30 states. This year he has played close to 100 shows all over the United States.
Snider is bringing his sound to Jackie O’s Pub and Brewery, 22 W. Union St., Thursday.
When he started his musical career in coffee shops and bars in 2012, Snider played acoustic and folk sets that gained the attention of fellow musicians in Brooklyn.
Since then, he has released several extended plays and a full length album, Leaving to Returning.
The artist structures his songwriting around love, heartbreak and whiskey, and still manages to keep his tunes full of catchy hooks.
The Post spoke with Snider about his musical influences, his favorite show on the tour and even his new found love for Lana Del Rey’s Honeymoon.
The Post: How did you get started with music?
Rue Snider: Well I started off listening to records. … I was growing up listening to Bob Dylan, James Taylor and The Grateful Dead, and I just developed a love for songwriting and I really started taking it seriously four or five years ago.
P: What exactly inspires your lyrics when you’re writing music?
RS: It started out as a way to not die, like self-therapy. I would use songwriting as a way to cope with life, but over time, the craft developed. I’ve been watching movies while on tour, and now I’m working on a group of songs based on all the movie characters that I’ve seen.
P: What movies have you been writing about lately?
RS: I just saw that movie Sicario. … It came out on Friday and was really good. … Movies are very inspiring, and I think the more visual music can be the better. The new Lana Del Rey record I like a lot, not because specifically the songwriting is so awesome, but because it feels very visual to me. When I listen to that record it transports me to a place.
P: You already told me Bob Dylan and The Grateful Dead, but is there anyone that greatly influences your sound?
RS: I’m influenced by everyone that I hear. I have lots of friends in New York City who are tremendous songwriters. … There are a ton of people who are making really good records and really good songs, and being around them affects my songwriting more than anything. It’s a close community in New York, and I kinda pulled away from it because I’m on tour a lot, but I’d say my songwriting has been influenced the most by people that I know that are much better than me.
P: Would you say that the music scene in New York has been a huge benefactor to you?
RS: It’s like having parents. I don’t have super close relationships with those people, but I started playing music in New York City in early 2012, and I was just going to open mics literally seven nights a week trying to meet people and just trying to get better. … I have made the conscious effort to surround myself with songwriters and musicians who are much, much, much better than me. If I’m ever the best guy in a room, I want to get out of that room. … Being around people who are playing songs and writing them and being better than me pushes me to want to impress them and want to get better at what I do.
P: What’s the best venue that you’ve performed at?
RS: That’s tough. I mean, consistently the best place is Pete’s Candy Store in New York City. It’s a small room, and the people are really warm and receptive. … At the level that I’m at, because I’m playing a lot of shows in small rooms, the show is shaped so much by the connections I’m able to make or not make with the people who attend the show. … I just played a show at Tommy’s Pub in Charlotte, North Carolina. The bartender was awesome and only two people were there, but they were amazing. I was just going to play a couple of songs for them and I ended up playing for them for an hour. We had this beautiful dialogue and it was a wonderful experience. It’s probably my favorite show on the tour. … Success is not success dictionary-wise, it’s definition-wise.
P: What do you want fans to take away from your live performance?
RS: A lot of my songs are very catchy hook-wise, but it’s also honest and includes dark lyrics. … My songs are kind of dark, but I try to make the show really entertaining, … so the show is kind of irreverent, and depending on the venue, I’ll say some stuff to kind of balance the seriousness of the songs because the songs are serious and very close to me, so I make jokes to try to distract and go in for the kill … Sometimes, I’ll get an email afterward about people in crazy situations thanking me for a show, so I guess it’s working for me as far as I can tell.
P: Do you prefer intimate and smaller venues over something big?
RS: My goal for growth is to consistently do house shows for the next year where I can play to people who are listening and are paying to be there. An ideal situation for me would be a room around 100 people in a seated situation that are there to hear me play.
P: Does songwriting come easily or does it take some time to develop them?
RS: I write them really quick, but some songs happen really quickly and some songs don’t. You can write 10 great songs in a row and you can write 10 terrible songs in a row and you don’t know until they’re written. I need to write five songs to get a good one, you just never know. It’s a craft and I keep going, it’s what I do. It’s like my creative way to plug into the world.