Nate Ruess

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Nate Ruess
Ruess performing in 2015
Ruess performing in 2015
Background information
OriginGlendale, Arizona, U.S.
  • Singer
  • songwriter
Years active2000–present
LabelsFueled by Ramen

Nate Ruess is an American singer and songwriter. He is best known as the founder and lead singer of the indie pop band Fun, and of The Format.[1] As of 2015, he also performs as a solo musician.[2]

Early life[edit]

Ruess was born the second child of Larry Ruess and Bess Zinger.[3][4] His uncle, John Ruess, was a performer on Broadway and served as an influence for Ruess' musical ventures.[5]

In 1986, his family moved to a farm in Glendale, Arizona, due to repeated bouts of pneumonia Ruess faced as a child.[6] Ruess' pneumonia and the move are referenced in the lyrics of the song "The Gambler". Ruess remained in Arizona throughout his childhood and attended Deer Valley High School, graduating in 2000.[7] During his time in school, Ruess played in punk bands and upon graduation chose to pursue music professionally. In an interview with American Songwriter Ruess states, "I'm not one to take lessons, so I decided that the only way I was going to learn how to sing, if what they were saying was true, was to go in my car and put on any sort of music from a vocalist that might be really hard to mimic, turn it on as loud as possible and try to hit all those notes".[8] He took a job in a law firm as a way to support himself while he pursued his musical ambitions.[9]

In 2002, at the age of 19, he launched the band the Format with his longtime best friend, Sam Means. The Format was his first musical endeavor to gain widespread attention.


2000–2008: The Format[edit]

After forming in 2000,[10] the Format released a five-song EP, titled EP, which generated local interest and led to the band being signed to Elektra Records in 2002. They released their first studio album, Interventions + Lullabies, on October 21, 2003, leading to more local mainstream success. The band's fanbase began to grow, and the Format released their second EP, Snails, with Atlantic Records in April 2005. However, while working on their second album, Dog Problems, they were dropped from Atlantic. They eventually created their own label, The Vanity Label, and released the album on July 10, 2006. On February 4, 2008, Ruess announced through the band's blog that the Format would not be making another album.[11]}}

2008–2014: fun.[edit]

Ruess performing with Fun in March 2010.

Immediately after the split of the Format, Ruess contacted Jack Antonoff of Steel Train and Andrew Dost, formerly of Anathallo, to form a new band called fun. They released their first demo, "Benson Hedges", through Spin's September 20, 2009, article.[12] Four months after releasing their first single, "At Least I'm Not as Sad (As I Used to Be)", through Myspace on April 6, 2009, Fun released their first studio album, entitled Aim and Ignite. The album received generally positive reviews and peaked at 71 on the Billboard 200.

The band's first tour happened in 2008 supporting Jack's Mannequin and gained exposure opening for them as well as Paramore in 2010. On August 4, 2010, Fun announced that they had been signed to the Fueled by Ramen label.

In 2011, in collaboration with the band Panic! at the Disco, the band released the single, "C'mon" with limited vinyl release.[13]

Ruess performing in Tucson, Arizona in March 2012.

Their second album, Some Nights, was released on February 21, 2012, and featured production by Jeff Bhasker. The album's first single, "We Are Young", which features guest singer Janelle Monáe, was released September 20, 2011. The song was covered on Glee in December 2011 and featured in a Chevy Sonic commercial during the Super Bowl in February 2012, and reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on March 8, 2012. The album has become a success throughout the world, selling nearly three million copies. The album's title song, "Some Nights", reached number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and reached number 1 on the Alternative Songs chart.

On February 10, 2013, Fun won a Grammy for their song "We Are Young". Upon receiving the Grammy, Ruess commented, "I don't know what I was thinking writing the chorus for this song. If this is in HD, everyone can see our faces, and we are not very young. We've been doing this for 12 years, and I just got to say we could not do this without the help of all the fans that we've had keeping us afloat for the last 12 years."[14] Fun also won the Grammy for Best New Artist.[15]

Alongside Fun, Ruess had been a supporting vocalist for many different songs across genres. In 2012, he was featured on "Only Love" from Anthony Green's second solo album, Beautiful Things, and in 2013 was featured on Pink's album, The Truth About Love, in the song "Just Give Me a Reason". The song began as a simple songwriting session with Pink. She decided the song needed another side to it and subsequently a male part was written. While at first reluctant, with Pink encouraging him, he decided to participate in the duet.[16] The song eventually topped the US Billboard Hot 100, becoming his first number-one single as a solo artist and his second overall. After the success of "Just Give Me a Reason", Ruess was featured on Eminem's eighth studio album The Marshall Mathers LP 2 on the track "Headlights". Many of Ruess' lyrics were borrowed from a previously unreleased track, "Jumping the Shark", written during the Aim and Ignite sessions.

In 2014, the band released the single "Sight of the Sun" for the HBO series, "Girls" after being approached by show creator Lena Dunham.[17]

On June 18, 2014, Fun debuted a new song on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon called "Harsh Lights". It would be the last new Fun song performed before Ruess' pursuing his career as a solo artist, however the band has made it clear that they are on hiatus, not splitting up.

2014–present: Solo projects[edit]

On February 5, 2015, Fun posted on their official website their status stating "there was no new Fun album in the works"; instead stating all three members were pursuing their own projects.

Fun was founded by the three of us at a time when we were coming out of our own bands. One thing that has always been so special about Fun is that we exist as three individuals in music who come together to do something collaborative. We make Fun records when we are super inspired to do so. Currently Nate is working on his first solo album, Andrew is scoring films, and Jack is on tour and working on Bleachers music. The three of us have always followed inspiration wherever it leads us. Sometimes that inspiration leads to Fun music, sometimes it leads to musical endeavors outside of Fun. We see all of it as part of the ecosystem that makes Fun, fun.[18]

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Ruess added, "You get a little selfish about the songs that you write, and it's really hard to do that in a group setting, where there are two other people, and you have to think about everybody else's feelings. I'm writing and singing these songs about myself. When you work with producers versus bandmates, that line becomes a lot less blurry."[2]

In addition to his solo album, Ruess was invited to perform on Brian Wilson's album No Pier Pressure. Wilson, who co-founded the Beach Boys, likened Ruess' voice to his deceased brother and former bandmate Carl Wilson.[19] Ruess then contributed guest vocals to the frequent collaborator Emile Haynie's 2015 release, We Fall. Ruess' then released his first single from his debut album, titled Nothing Without Love, which was sent to the alternative radio on February 23, 2015.[20]

On March 23, 2015, he made the first of multiple appearances, as a guest advisor on the eighth season on The Voice.[21] On April 6, 2015, Ruess announced his debut album would be called Grand Romantic, and it was released on June 16, 2015.[22] On April 27, 2015, Ruess released the opening track from his debut album, titled "AhHa".[23]

In May 2015, he released another song, titled "Great Big Storm", in correlation with the announcement of his solo tour. The song "What The World is Coming To" features guest vocals from American singer-songwriter and musician Beck. It was released as part of the countdown to his new solo album. On May 31, 2015, Ruess made his live debut as a solo artist with his newly formed backup band called the Band Romantic. He performed in Utrecht, Netherlands, at the intimate Tivoli/Vredenburg Cloud Nine location. The set list consisted of the 3 released tracks from "Grand Romantic", several then-unheard tracks from the same album, and songs from Fun such as "Some Nights", "We Are Young", and "Carry On". He also performed "Just Give Me a Reason". On June 1, 2015, Ruess released a new track from his solo album "Grand Romantic", titled "What This World Is Coming To".

On January 1, 2016, Ruess played during the 1st period intermission at the NHL Winter Classic in Foxboro, Massachusetts. On January 12, 2016, he released a music video for his song "Take It Back" starring actor Patrick Fischler[24] and also features a guitar solo from Jeff Tweedy of the band Wilco.[25]

More recently, Ruess has made sporadic appearances in the media and has performed on special occasions. In 2016 he appeared on The Hamilton Mixtape performing the track "My Shot". In 2018, Ruess was credited as a composer and lyricist for Keith Urban on his release Graffiti U. He helped write Urban's track "Way Too Long". Additionally, Ruess has been working as a songwriter and producer. In 2019, he collaborated again with Pink for the track "Walk Me Home", which was released in February for her eighth studio album, called Hurts 2B Human.

In 2020, Ruess had songwriting credits on Halsey's Manic and Kesha's High Road.

On February 3, 2020, Ruess and Sam Means played a surprise acoustic set together for fans in place of a promised live screening of their concert film "Live at the Mayan". During the set Ruess announced they "...will be returning for a handful of special shows across the country."[26] This marks the first time in nearly 6 years that the band will be performing together. Shows were announced for Chicago, Phoenix and New York City.

Hayley Williams from Paramore believes that Nate secretly used a moniker Benjamin Eli Hanna to co-write the song "Stay the Night".[27]

In 2021, Ruess launched the ClayneCast, a podcast about the Lethal Weapon TV series with his best friends Tom and Drew.[28] Later in 2021, he appeared on Saturday Night Live as part of musical guest Young Thug's performance of "Love You More."

Personal life[edit]

From 2009 to 2013, Ruess dated fashion designer Rachel Antonoff, the sister of Fun guitarist Jack Antonoff.[29] Rachel and Ruess both provided backing vocals for the song "Dakota" from the 2007 album Trampoline by Jack's band Steel Train.[30] Later, Rachel sang on some Fun songs and appeared in the video for "We Are Young". Rachel and Ruess collaborated on The Ally Coalition, an activist project to raise awareness of LGBTQ issues.[31][32][33]

Ruess began dating English fashion designer Charlotte Ronson in March 2014.[34] They had their first child, a son, in early 2017.[35] They had their second child, a daughter, in March 2019.[36]


Solo albums[edit]

Title Details Peak chart positions


Grand Romantic
  • Released: June 16, 2015
  • Label: Fueled by Ramen (549145)
  • Format: CD, cassette, digital download, LP
7 1 1 16 61


As lead artist[edit]

Title Year Peak chart positions Album



"Nothing Without Love" 2015 77 14 24 6 90 Grand Romantic
"Great Big Storm" 30
"What This World Is Coming To"
(featuring Beck)
"—" denotes a single that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

As featured artist[edit]

Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album
"It's for the Best"
(Straylight Run featuring Nate Ruess)
2004 Straylight Run
"Kill Monsters in the Rain"
(Steel Train featuring Nate Ruess)
2007 Trampoline
"Only Love"[49]
(Anthony Green featuring Nate Ruess)
2012 Beautiful Things
"Just Give Me a Reason"
(Pink featuring Nate Ruess)
2013 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 The Truth About Love
(Eminem featuring Nate Ruess)
45 21 54 63 The Marshall Mathers LP 2
"Fool Me Too"
(Emile Haynie featuring Nate Ruess)
2015 We Fall
"Saturday Night"
(Brian Wilson featuring Nate Ruess)
2015 No Pier Pressure
(with various artists)
2016 Non-album singles
"I Want to Know What Love Is" (re-release)
(Foreigner featuring Nate Ruess)
2016 Non-album singles
"My Sacrifice"
(The Hot Guy Band featuring Nate Ruess)
2017 Let's Do Coke in the Bathroom
"Love You More"
(Young Thug featuring Nate Ruess, Gunna and Jeff Bhasker)
2021 Punk
"—" denotes a single that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Guest appearances[edit]

List of non-single guest appearances, showing other artist(s), year released and album name
Title Year Other artist(s) Album
"Love You More"[58] 2021 Young Thug, Gunna, Jeff Bhasker Punk


  1. ^ "What This World Is Coming To" did not enter the US Hot Rock & Alternative Songs chart, but did peak at number 43 on the Rock Digital Song Sales chart.[48]


  1. ^ Escudero, Nicki (June 16, 2011). "Former Format Singer Nate Ruess Wants to Have fun. in Arizona". Phoenix New Times. Archived from the original on January 24, 2015. Retrieved January 23, 2012.
  2. ^ a b Montgomery, James (February 6, 2015). "Nate Ruess on Going Solo and the Future of fun". Rolling Stone. Retrieved February 11, 2015.
  3. ^ Chris Steinbach (February 12, 2013). "Larry Ruess – Brome Hill". Retrieved June 17, 2015.
  4. ^ Masley, Ed (February 9, 2013). "How Nate Ruess of Fun. went from Glendale to Grammys". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved May 6, 2013.
  5. ^ Masley, Ed (February 9, 2013). "How Nate Ruess of Fun. went from Glendale to Grammys". Retrieved June 17, 2015.
  6. ^ Lawler, Joe. "fun. having fun at the top"[permanent dead link], Des Moines Register, Iowa, April 7, 2012. Retrieved on March 5, 2013.
  7. ^ O'Connor, Christopher (October 9, 2003). "Adjusting to Format". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved May 4, 2013.
  8. ^ "fun.:Everyday Anthems". American Songwriter. June 28, 2012. Retrieved July 2, 2012.
  9. ^ Interview & Show Preview: fun. @ Showbox SoDo Friday, 6/24, Back Beat Seattle, June 22, 2011. Retrieved April 10, 2012.
  10. ^ "". February 19, 2003. Archived from the original on February 19, 2003.
  11. ^ Archived April 1, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Joyce, Colin (August 20, 2008). "Members of the Format, Steel Train, Anathallo Unite as Fun". Retrieved June 17, 2015.
  13. ^ "We Need To Talk About Panic! At The Disco & Fun.'s 'C'mon' – Features". Rock Sound Magazine. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  14. ^ Vena, Jocelyn (February 10, 2013). "Fun. Take Song of the Year Grammy For 'We Are Young'". MTV News.
  15. ^ "Best New Artist Winner at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards". Grammy Awards. Retrieved February 12, 2013.
  16. ^ "The Truth About Love – Track by Track Commentary".
  17. ^ Songfacts. "Sight Of The Sun by Fun. – Songfacts". Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  18. ^ "Fun., A Message From Nate, Jack & Andrew". Archived from the original on June 27, 2015. Retrieved June 17, 2015.
  19. ^ Fine, Jason (July 18, 2014). "Brian Wilson's Girl-Powered LP: In the Studio With the Beach Boy". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 18, 2014.
  20. ^ "All Access Future Releases". Retrieved June 17, 2015.
  21. ^ Rivera, Zayda (March 24, 2015). "'The Voice' Season 8, Knockouts Part 1 Recap: Fun. front man Nate Ruess joins as special team advisor". New York Daily News. New York City: Tronc. Retrieved April 1, 2015.
  22. ^ "Nate Ruess Announces Debut Solo Album 'Grand Romantic'". April 6, 2015. Archived from the original on June 16, 2015. Retrieved June 17, 2015.
  23. ^ Vain, Madison (April 27, 2015). "Nate Ruess' AhHa debuts: tour will introduce solo album". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 17, 2015.
  24. ^ "FUN'S NATE RUESS ENLISTS MAD MEN ACTOR FOR "TAKE IT BACK" VIDEO (PREMIERE)". January 12, 2016. Archived from the original on January 25, 2016. Retrieved January 19, 2016.
  25. ^ "Nate Ruess Details Every Track on 'Grand Romantic' Solo Debut". Rolling Stone. June 10, 2015. Retrieved January 19, 2016.
  26. ^
  27. ^ "Hayley Williams on family, divorce, and forgiving yourself".
  28. ^[bare URL]
  29. ^ Turner, Brianne (June 5, 2009). "An Interview with Andrew Dost of fun". Audioholic Media. Archived from the original on August 21, 2009. Retrieved March 18, 2022.
  30. ^
  31. ^ Swerdloff, Alexis (July 4, 2012). "Sibling Success: The Power of 2". The New York Times.
  32. ^ "Fun's Nate Ruess on Black Tie and Band Fashion". May 29, 2012.
  33. ^ "Rachel Antonoff: Friends and Family". April 2, 2013.
  34. ^ "Charlotte Ronson is Dating Fun. Frontman Nate Ruess: Details". July 22, 2014. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  35. ^ Juneau, Jen (March 1, 2017). "Nate Ruess and Charlotte Ronson Welcome Son Levon". People. Retrieved March 5, 2017.
  36. ^
  37. ^ "Nate Ruess Chart History - Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved October 31, 2020.
  38. ^ "Nate Ruess Chart History - Alternative Albums". Billboard. Retrieved October 31, 2020.
  39. ^ "Nate Ruess Chart History - Top Rock Albums". Billboard. Retrieved October 31, 2020.
  40. ^ "Nate Ruess Album & Song Chart History: Billboard Canadian Albums". Billboard. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  41. ^ Ryan, Gavin (June 20, 2015). "ARIA Albums: Florence + The Machine Return To No 1". Noise11. Retrieved June 20, 2015.
  42. ^ "Nate Ruess Album & Song Chart History: Billboard Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved April 30, 2015.
  43. ^ "Nate Ruess Album & Song Chart History: Billboard Adult Pop Songs". Billboard. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  44. ^ "Nate Ruess Album & Song Chart History: Billboard Alternative Songs". Billboard. Retrieved April 30, 2015.
  45. ^ "Nate Ruess Album & Song Chart History: Billboard Hot Rock Songs". Billboard. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
  46. ^ "Nate Ruess Album & Song Chart History: Billboard Canadian Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  47. ^ Payne, Chris. "Hear the Latest Solo Track From Fun.'s Nate Ruess". Billboard. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
  48. ^ "Nate Ruess Chart History - Rock Digital Song Sales". Billboard. Retrieved October 31, 2020.
  49. ^ Cameron Matthews (January 11, 2012). "Anthony Green Is in the Collaborative Spirit on 'Only Love' – Song Premiere". Spinner. Archived from the original on February 3, 2013. Retrieved October 26, 2012.
  50. ^ "RIAA – Gold & Platinum Searchable Database". RIAA. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
  51. ^ "Australian Singles Chart: 01/07/2013". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved June 29, 2013.
  52. ^ a b "British certifications – Nate Ruess". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved May 15, 2022. Type Nate Ruess in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  53. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Pink)" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved March 28, 2010.
  54. ^ "Gold & Platin" (in German). IFPI Austria. Retrieved September 21, 2010.
  55. ^ "Music Canada: Pink (Just Give Me a Reason)". Music Canada. Archived from the original on December 12, 2013. Retrieved March 1, 2013.
  56. ^ "NZ Top 40: Singles Chart – 10 June 2013". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved June 11, 2013.
  57. ^ "ARIA Australian Top 50 Singles Chart – 24/03/2014". Australian Recording Industry Association. Archived from the original on March 22, 2014. Retrieved March 22, 2014.
  58. ^ William Cowen, Trace (October 17, 2021). "Watch Young Thug Perform 'Tick Tock' and 'Love You More' on 'Saturday Night Live'". Complex. Retrieved October 19, 2021.

External links[edit]