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Meet the G-Eazy Opener Who Takes After John Mayer

How Anthony Russo went from a typical high schooler to supporting G-Eazy on tour

As the fresh-faced supporting act on G-Eazy’s ongoing Beautiful & Damned tour, singer Anthony Russo is getting his first taste of stardom. With his clean-cut, swanky image, Russo’s confidence oozes even on the phone. “Let’s throw gasoline on everything behind us, light a match and keep walking forward. There was no plan B,” he says of his outlook when starting out in music.

But for all his swagger, Russo’s spot as G-Eazy’s opener on tour was never a guarantee. In high school, Russo was rarely the center of attention; more likely, you’d find him in the back room at a party, rapping along to Lil Wayne. “It was always behind closed doors,” he says of his musical beginnings. “It was always with my homies and when I decided to really go for it, they were so supportive.”

Russo hails from St. Louis, but moved to Los Angeles when he made the decision to pursue music. Though he admits it’s a cliché, Russo gushes, “I’m living proof you can do whatever you want. I didn’t have an absurd talent or a gift that was better than anyone else’s. I have the ability to make a choice and stick with it,” he says.

The choice came from Russo’s struggle to find his purpose. “It was my first existential breakdown,” he says. “I found that when my head and heart weren’t aligned, your whole life felt off.” With a genuine passion for music and a strong belief in the power of choice, Russo took off running into the music world.

At first, Russo experimented with a range of sounds, like a kid in a musical candy store. “There were endless possibilities. I realized how many different sounds you could make, different hooks you could write, it had me running in circles for a minute,” he says. Russo puts songwriting first and foremost, a value he picked up from idolizing John Mayer. He admits that whenever he felt musically all over the place, Mayer was his grounding force. “As an artist who wants to have a coherent and cohesive lineage of music, you have to reel it in before you can bounce around,” he says. Russo has proven himself in this poppy-cool soundscape through singles like “California” and “Ghost Stories.”

Since joining G-Eazy on tour, and with his last show on March 20, Russo says the experience has been exhilarating, rewarding and challenging. “I’m so thankful to be here at all. It feels like everything is manifesting into real life and I’m just watching it unfold every night,” he says.

Fans can look forward to the announcement of a few additional dates for Russo on G-Eazy’s stadium tour later this spring along with the release of his debut EP. With no definite date set for the EP, Russo says that, much like his latest single “2:AM,” it will offer a mature but uptempo sound—with old-school Katy Perry and strong hints of John Mayer laced throughout.