Rush Sturges Album Out: A Q&A with the River Running Rap-Master

Inside 'A Life Worth Living,' the new LP from paddler, filmmaker and musician Rush Sturges

Fresh on the heels of releasing Chasing Niagara, filmmaker Rush Sturges has now officially released his new rap album on iTunes, Spotify and Amazon, letting you jam to his tunes on your shuttle. We caught up with him for his take on the making of the album….

Rush Sturges: A Life Worth Living

Rush Sturges: A Life Worth Living

“It came out earlier in August on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon and just about every music platform out there,” says Sturges, encouraging paddlers to review it on iTunes and share this post. “A few tracks were featured in kayak movies such as “Chasing Niagara,” “For The Love,” “Frontier,” and “Congo,” but mostly it’s all new music. Although my focus is on the rapping (and a little singing) I wrote all the melodies, hooks, and some of the music with support from producer and long time amigo Rudy Slizewski of TapWater. All the songs are built from scratch and we used almost no samples. It was a great learning experience.”

C&K: Was it fun making the album?
It was pretty exhausting at times because I’m still paddling full time and also dealing with my production company (River Roots). My time is limited these days so a lot of the time I was returning from a 30-hour transit (from China, Australia or Chile or somewhere) and heading straight into the studio for a session. Like any creative endeavor, there are times when it’s not fun. But overall it was a really cool and educational experience!

C&K:What's your favorite track?
I probably worked the hardest on “Rising.” It went through a lot of changes and I wrote and recorded the chorus three times before I finally had my friend Vaughn come in and sing it. “Better Now” was also a lot of work and a deeply personal one. “Hometown Tribute” invokes a certain nostalgia and connection to the place I grew up… They all have a certain place in my heart.

Rush. Photo by Erik Boomer.

Rush. Photo by Erik Boomer.

C&K: Any similarities between putting an album together and kayaking?
Kayaking and music go hand in hand for me. It’s a collective art form. I write my verses on plane rides and buses. Hotels and campgrounds…there’s always downtime on the road so it’s sort of aligned with kayaking in that sense. I meet a lot of kayakers and outdoors people who are also great musicians. So I think there’s a lot of crossover.

C&K: How has river running played into it?
Running difficult rivers is scary. There’s no way around that. You get hurt. You fear for your life. Your friends die. I don’t want to sound overly dramatic, but it’s real out there. I question all this stuff a lot. And I think the more I’ve seen and experienced, the more mortal I feel. At the end of the day, I think my music is an outlet for some of the harder questions. I also recognize that making music for other river runners (and river people in general) is a super niche market. But if it connects with a few people out there I’ll be stoked…

C&K: Got another in the works?
I’m already writing new songs… I’ll never stop writing. But probably 95 percent of what I put down on paper never goes beyond my eyes. Most of it sucks. But at the end of the day it’s kind of a personal deal for me. I’m sure I’ll do another record but this is kind of a hobby so it’ll take me at least three to four years to build up enough material that I’m happy with. I want to get into writing songs for other people. I guess what I’ve learned through this process is that beyond just rapping, I have an ability to create hooks and melodies. My friend Rudy Slizewski (who produced the album) is pushing me to get into doing more of that. Besides just rapping I will also continue to help produce the original scores for my movies. Orchestral to rap… I’m fired up on all of it!

The Tracks
1 A Life Worth Living (feat. Ally Lee) Rush Sturges, 3:36

2 Freedom in Falling (feat. Rudy Slizewski & Tap Water) Rush Sturges, 3:57

3 For the Love (feat. Shook Twins) Rush Sturges, 3:06

4 Hometown Tribute (feat. Michael Sherry & Tap Water) Rush Sturges, 4:16

5 Better Now (feat. Jason Conley) Rush Sturges, 3:41

6 Who Am I (with Hendri Coetzee) Rush Sturges, 4:11

7 No Turning Back (feat. Sapient) Rush Sturges, 2:47

8 Four Directions (feat. 2 Mex) Rush Sturges, 2:46

9 Jungle Road (A Tribute to Hendri Coetzee) Rush Sturges, 3:56

10 Death (Interlude) Rush Sturges, 1:47

11 Days Go By (feat. Tap Water) Rush Sturges, 3:39

12 Rising (feat. Vaughn Sims) Rush Sturges

Ordering info on iTunes.

More from C&K

Movie Review: Chasing Niagara

Rush Sturges: The Athlete and the Artist