Furman University graduate, Rudy Currence is a charismatic Grammy and Dove Award winner. The household name in the music industry is a triple threat musician, songwriter and producer. Currence’s single “TESTimony” is growing momentum with audiences across the nation as the movement grows into a t-shirt line and YouTube docuseries.
We caught up with Rudy for an interview to talk about his new single, growing popularity and much more. Check out the complete interview bellow:
Parlé Mag: Congratulations on the success of your single, “TESTimony.”
Rudy Currence: Thank you. It’s doing well, we are number 18 on Billboard and it just got picked up with Music Choice, so where are super excited about that.
Parlé Mag: What was your concept or inspiration to do this project?
Rudy Currence: I grew up playing and singing, my dad is a Pastor. It’s part of my roots. For a lot of my career, I have done R&B and Soul music, which I’ve always tried to be positive in order to make a difference in everything that I do. For this project, I thought I could shine the light to show where I’ve come from, and “TESTimony” is a part of that story.
Parlé Mag: I love that a lot of artists grow up in church and so we tend to come back to the beginnings. I actually don’t know why I said “we” because I am not an artist [laughing]
Rudy Currence: [laughing] You’re a creative though, so it works the same.
Parlé Mag: Ok, I’ll take that. But yes, we venture into different things but it always comes full circle back to your roots and remembering essentially where your gifts and talents come from. How did your parents help nurture your talent?
Rudy Currence: My parents were very supportive. My brother and I played at my Dad’s church. He played the drums, I played the keys and we both sang. My mom, actually, managed me for most of my career. Back in the day she would take us to cookouts, picnics, [laughs] any and every where there was music going on, we were there so we could showcase our talent. We grew up doing, of course, band and chorus. I majored in music in college. But, definitely I was the kid that was in some type of concert or something.
Parlé Mag: Incredible support from your family. Speaking of keys, you have a partnership with a piano company, tell me more about that.
Rudy Currence: Yes, definitely. We have an endorsement with Kawai Piano Company. And they are the second largest piano builder and distributor in the world; second to Yamaha.
Parlé Mag: Wow. How did that come about?
Rudy Currence: Well, when I moved to Atlanta a few years ago, we were shooting a music video and looking for a location. We found a music store and the store happened to be a Kawai dealer. They were so impressed with me, they wanted to connect me with the Kawai rep. So, when they connected me, the rest was history.
Parlé Mag: That’s incredible. Talk about favor and being in the right place at the right time.
Rudy Currence: Yes! The right place at the right time, definitely.
Parlé Mag: That’s mind blowing!
Rudy Currence: Beyond that, I decided to shoot a cover video called the Kawai Chronicles. That really took off! One of the videos hit over a million views on my YouTube channel. One of the videos got picked up by World Star HipHop! It was just crazy the amount of love I received online. People that never heard of me were starting to rock with Rudy Currence because of these cover videos that I did.
Parlé Mag: I’m truly blown away. You’ve won a Grammy, walk me through your first win. Where were you, how did you find out?
Rudy Currence: So, I wrote and produced some music for Lecrae for his Gravity album. We were doing the song “Lucky Ones” and I’m thinking, “We’re gonna win a Grammy for this song.” But I forgot what I had said and kept moving on, doing my thing in music. Grammy’s 2013 came around, but I didn’t go, I was home watching on TV like everyone else. I found out through social media that Lecrae had one for Best Gospel Album of the year. Here I am, on Twitter congratulating him on his Grammy win and then I start getting all these text saying “Congratulations” I was just like “What?!” Well come to find out, [laughs] because I had produced and written on the album, I had won a Grammy, too. He also went on the win a Dove Award for that album and I won a Dove Award, as well. That was crazy.
Parlé Mag: I can’t even imagine the shock of extending congratulations to someone else only to find out that you also won.
Rudy Currence: Right, [laughs] exactly. It was surreal.
Parlé Mag: You also have a docu-series accompanying this new project called, TESTimony Tuesdays. I was able to check that out, and the stories are moving. How do you pick your participants?
Rudy Currence: Well, first of all, when we put of the single “TESTimony”, I wanted to reach as many people as I could. I think that we are the [church] and everywhere we go, we should be shining our light. To me, the word testimony means story, and everybody has a story. Everyone has something that they can share in regards to what they’ve been through and that they can testify about. That’s how we came up with the apparel line, My TESTimony Tee. From there, once the single was getting played on the radio it began to resonate with folks.
One guy, was a colon cancer survivor. He did an Instagram story with the song playing in the background and with tears in his eyes, talked about overcoming colon cancer; it was second or third stage. I just got the idea to showcase people from all different walks of life. I was fortunate and blessed enough to have a lot of people volunteer and step up to the plate. Meelah, former lead singer of 702 talks about autism awareness and her son. Another episode, showcases Kyle Peeves, he has cerebral palsy and has been wheelchair bound his whole life, but we also talk about his foundation for people with disabilities. From surviving breast cancer to child molestation, there’s so many different topics. Ultimately, the series shows that everybody has been through something, but everybody has something good that they can share.
Parlé Mag: It’s very true, we all have something to share. I have to admit that I got a little teary-eyed watching some of the episodes. So, thank you for bringing this project to life and allowing people to be an inspiration to others. Switching back to your single, what’s next with that?
Rudy Currence: There will definitely be more. I plan to release another single a little later this year, in the Summer. I plan to release the album around late Summer or early Fall.
Parlé Mag: Will there be any collaborations or is this a solo project?
Rudy Currence: Um, we’ll see. I’m open to it. I’ll keep you posted on it. [laughs]
Parlé Mag: Do we have an album title?
Rudy Currence: The forthcoming album is titled Stained Glass Windows. The next single from there is “Send Me, I’ll Go” and that music video was picked up by Revolt TV, BET Gospel and Music Choice as well. People have been showing a lot of love. I’m really excited about it all.
Parlé Mag: And you should be! You are a triple threat: musician, songwriter and producer. What is your creative process?
Rudy Currence: Uh, well I’m a creative person. So I’m always somehow creating something. Now that everyone has smartphones, I’ll record voice memos of song ideas. The process just depends. For instance, I had an opportunity to work with David Banner on his last album, with the track “Marry Me”. He came to me with a song concept, I took that concept, jumped on the guitar and came up with my own thing for the lyrics then we put the track together. My brother is a producer as well, so if he has a track, I might write for that. Other times I may come to him with the song and we build a track around those lyrics. You just never know. I have learned that music inspirations will hit you at the most random times, so always have a pen and pad. Or like I said, be ready to record with your phone because you will forget it. [laughing]
Parlé Mag: You’re right. Inspiration can strike wherever and whenever. Are you ever awestruck when you get the call that a certain artist wants to work with you?
Rudy Currence: I’m like this. I’m honored to work with whoever because no one owes you anything. Especially individuals who have managed to create fame equity for themselves and a brand power. If they think enough of me to collaborate, in any way I’m always ready and willing to work. One of the things that was amazing to me, was a guy who is a visual artist that created a portrait of one of my pictures and mailed it to me. I’m always honored and grateful for the love and support. There’s a little boy from Jamaica that had his mom record a video of him singing a little piece of “TESTimony.” At the end, [laughing] in his little Jamaican accent, he says “Have a good show Rudy!” [laughing]
Parlé Mag: Yes! I saw that. He was too precious. [laughs]
Rudy Currence: Yeah, that was SO crazy to me. Little moments like that, I do not take for granted. God has really smiled on me.
Parlé Mag: I agree. What else can we expect from Rudy Currence?
Rudy Currence: I’m touring a lot. Also, I’ll be touring abroad. My TESTimony tee line is available. My social media is the best way to stay up-to-date.
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