Reuben & the Dark play Grad Club

Lead-singer Bullock talks songwriting, late career start

Reuben Bullock will play at Grad Club on March 6.
Supplied by Killbeat Music

Reuben Bullock is proof that it’s never too late to find your passion.                                              

On Mar. 6, Reuben and the Dark will perform songs from their 2018 album Arms of a Dream at the Grad Club.

Bullock, the troupe’s lead singer, started his music career as a solo act but opted to incorporate other musicians alongside him to take the pressure off performing. 

“With a band, people have more than one thing to look at, and it’s not always centered on me,” Bullock said in an interview with The Journal. 

His discomfort when performing solo in front of a crowd isn’t much of a surprise—he only began playing guitar and singing at age 20. 

“It kind of just snuck up on me and as soon as I realized that, I loved doing it. I knew this is what I wanted to do,” he said. 

Ever since discovering his passion for music, Bullock’s worked tirelessly to create music that connects both to his audience and himself—crossing genres from blues and folk to rock. 

Clearly, his hard work and dedication have paid off. 

Reuben and the Dark have collaborated with top producers and songwriters, such as Christopher Hayden from Florence and The Machine, and Stephen Kozmeniuk, who’s worked with the likes of Madonna, Kendrick Lamar, Meek Mill, Nicki Minaj, and Dua Lipa. 

Working with high-caliber producers is a good indication of Reuben and the Dark’s trajectory. They’re not going away anytime soon. 

With this later-in-life passion and his penchant for perfecting his skills, Bullock’s deeply thoughtful and open about the vulnerability that accompanies his songwriting process. While he writes lyrics with other songwriters, he feels naked baring his emotions.

“Writing is a sacred thing to me. It can get uncomfortable writing with people you don’t know. But the more you do it, the more it forces you out of your comfort zone,” Bullock said. “There’s a practical side and an emotional side, [and] you need to keep both strong at the same time.” 

Bullock said writing a song can take anywhere from five minutes to five years, but once the final product is finished, performing it is the most rewarding. 

While Reuben and the Dark are currently headlining the tour of their latest album, they built their fan following as openers for artists like Vance Joy and The Counting Crows. 

Being a touring artist can be exhausting. For Bullock, the biggest struggle is figuring out how to stay inspired and hungry for more.

“Everything takes a lot of effort, and it’s tough to stay in that creative headspace,” Bullock told The Journal.

The biggest pleasure, he added, is when all the commitment and hard work pays off—when one of their shows sells out or their song is featured in a movie. It’s proof that they’re moving forward and reaching new heights. 

To any aspiring artist, Bullock’s best advice is to find what you want to do, put time into it, and draw from interests that produce an endless source of creative inspiration.

“When you find that one thing that really inspires you, you have to keep feeding it and keep it safe because it’s easy to get discouraged. It’s easy for someone to tell you it’s not going to work and for the world to put up walls,” Bullock said. “Find your muse.”

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