Iowa City musician Alyx Rush provides peek into career as pop artist

Alyx Rush discusses how he got into the music industry, what inspires his work, and his process for creating music.


Gabby Drees

Alyx Rush performs at the Bravo Stage during the final day of the 80/35 music festival in downtown Des Moines on Saturday, July 9, 2022.

Jami Martin-Trainor, Arts Reporter

Alyx Rush’s love for music started with his mom. As a young child sitting through church services, Rush found himself involved in the church band that his mom led, singing and playing the guitar.

What started as a hobby during church soon sparked into much more. With full support from his parents, Rush immersed himself in the world of music production. In 2012, Rush wrote a song called Apocalypse about the hypothetical ending of the world, which he would end up taking to a recording studio in Chicago. That song has since been wiped from his discography, so it is unavailable.

“That’s where I kind of first got my foot in a studio and actually started recording my own stuff. It was a really cool experience, and very eye-opening for me,” Rush said in an interview with The Daily Iowan.

Between gigs at small bars and working to write more music, Rush got a manager in 2015 who was able to get him into a recording studio in Manhattan after his experience in Chicago. Rush said his visit to New York and exposure to music there is what really pushed him to pursue music in a professional context. Rush said while he wasn’t signed at the time, it was cool to be around other people who were professionally making music.

“That really opened me up to actually hearing the music and just like knowing what I’m listening for,” Rush said.

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Rush said that while he strives to create his own sound, he is certainly inspired by other legends in the music industry. He said he looks to artists like Frank Ocean and SZA, among others, for the general style he wants to capture.

The themes that Rush typically tackles with his music tend to manifest in songs about love — more specifically, heartbreak. Rush said he doesn’t do this intentionally, but those more painful emotions are what tends to come up throughout his writing process.

In creating a song, Rush said he usually starts with just him and his guitar. After settling on a general subject, he said the end result just flows out of him, which is one of his favorite parts of creating music.

“Music for me is so cool because it’s so fluid. You can do whatever you want with it. You can explore different sounds, you can explore different genres,” Rush said. “It’s really cool to collaborate with other people in the music world because it’s cool to see how they influence your sound. It’s cool to see how my sound influences them.”

Growing up in a smaller town in Iowa, Rush said that his recent move to Iowa City has been a great experience.

“After I moved here, there were so many people that just kind of blew me away with the talent that they had and their ability to collaborate,” he said. “That helped me kind of adjust to this new music scene and helped me find the sound that I was going for. That has been amazing so far.”

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Rush said one of the hardest parts of the industry is knowing there will always be people out there who do not like him or his sounds. However, Rush said he looks to use that as motivation to improve.

“It’s just very rewarding to kind of be able to see that I can kind of witness myself growing as a musician,” Rush said. “That’s really rewarding to me because music is just a very hard industry to be in.”

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