Student musician prepares to release follow-up to hit single

By Julia Marbach

He expected 5,000 views. He got almost 40,000. He expected “kudos” from friends and family. He got a random girl changing her last name to Rusch on Twitter.

Welcome to the world of Scott Rusch, stage name for Scott Rausch, piano and guitar playing singer-songwriter in his senior year who, after seeing success from his first single, “Hey Girl,” is getting ready to release his next single, “Heartbreaker.”  

“Scott is probably one of the most genuine artists I’ve ever worked with, and it really shows in his music,” said Evan Thompson, Rusch’s manager with ISO Management and a 2012 College of Business graduate. “A lot of people write music and they write really obscure lyrics. Scott’s one of those people who just writes it exactly how it is instead of using metaphors and instead of beating around the bush.” 

To celebrate the release, Thompson is throwing a release party on Saturday at The Clybourne, the same day the song will be available through platforms such as iTunes, Spotify and Google Play. 

“In order to get it out there, get Scotty out there and let people see who he is and what kind of artist he is, … I just wanted to invite a bunch of people to a really fun party,” Thompson said. “They can experience him and kind of introduce him to the campus a little more broadly.”

Thompson said he expects about 80 people to attend, all of whom are invited friends or people in the community who may be interested in booking Rusch, such as sorority presidents and members of the press.

The event starts at 10 p.m. and will go until close. The mezzanine will be roped off, and VIP guests will be welcome to an open bar.

Rusch and guests will be able to move about freely, and while there is no set schedule, Rusch may speak, socialize and be open to meeting anyone interested, Thompson said.

“I really like ‘Hey Girl’ because it is a cute song when it comes to the content, and it’s an upbeat song (that) sounds like a mix of pop and country,” said Christina Young, sophomore in AHS. “I am excited for his new single. If it’s anything like ‘Hey Girl,’ I will love it.”

While “Heartbreaker” has the same “upbeat energy” that “Hey Girl” has, “Heartbreaker” is more “grounded in reality,” Thompson said.  

“‘Hey Girl’ was all about finding that girl in the bar and introducing yourself and having the energy and the courage to say something,” Thompson said. “’Heartbreaker’ is the way that Scott feels about this person, and the things that she did to him and the way things are now. It’s just very matter of fact … not so much wallowing in self-pity as it is making sure everyone knows that he can move on.”

Despite being a psychology major who originally planned to go to graduate school and get a job related to the field, Rusch’s plans have changed.

“The more and more I thought about it, I realized that singing and playing music was what made me the happiest,” he said. “I don’t think I could live with myself if I let an opportunity like this pass me by.”

Although Rusch did a music video for the release of “Hey Girl,” he plans to do something different with “Heartbreaker,” Thompson said, but nothing is official just yet.

Rusch and Thompson worked with The Fray’s bassist Jeremy McCoy in producing Rusch’s debut single, “Hey Girl.” While Rusch does his own songwriting and records in Champaign, McCoy does production in Nashville, where Rusch and Thompson have met with him multiple times to work through songs at Tyler Ward Studios.

“I would describe (Scott’s) music as country-pop acoustic fusion,” Thompson said, “because it is pop, but when Jeremy produces it, because it’s a Nashville thing, it has kind of a country feel to it, but his voice is pretty much unaltered and pretty acoustic.”

In addition to his two singles, Rusch plans to release an EP in May.

“I’ve known Scott for the past couple years through our a cappella groups,” said Sunil Thomas, 2013 alumni. “His talent in singing is so diverse he can take his music in any direction, and I have no doubt that what he decides to write and sing about will be awesome.” 

Julia can be reached at [email protected]