The Best 15 Nathaniel Rateliff Quotes

The 45-year-old St. Louis-born Americana singer Nathaniel Rateliff has a big booming voice and a knack for drawing eyes and ears. The singer, who has earned acclaim solo and with his project the Night Sweats, first made a name for himself in the Denver-area and has since earned global attention.

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But with so much oompf and so much stage presence and power, one might wonder what Rateliff has to say about life at large, his craft, love and more. That is the subject of today’s inquiry. Let’s explore. These are the best 15 Nathaniel Rateliff quotes.

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1. “There isn’t much of a music scene in Hermann, unless you like polka. But the landscape I grew up in is a part of me. I spent a lot of time in the woods doing a lot of nothing to break the boredom.”

2. “I first moved to Denver to work with a group called YWAM, ‘Youth With a Mission.’ I was a kid—I was 18—and did some work with homeless people. Really, trying to convert people is sort of an awful position to find yourself in, so I quickly, on my own, grew out of religious ideas.”

3. “When I was a kid, we weren’t really supposed to listen to secular music. But one day, I found a ‘Led Zeppelin IV’ cassette tape in the garage, and it was just amazing-sounding music, not like anything I’d heard before. I remember thinking: ‘Well, if God created music, why is his music in church not as good as this?'”

4. “I’m pretty easily overwhelmed and pretty tough as well. I think I’m tougher than I used to be. There’s been a lot of hardship along the way. But that’s what life is. And it’s how you deal with those things, and how you let them shape you that makes you a better person and defines what sort of person you’re going to be.”

5. “Sometimes, if I allow time to be creative, it doesn’t show up.”

6. “Success will be when I can have a real swimming pool instead of the fifty-dollar one I buy at Kmart every year. But I don’t want to get robbed of any authenticity to try and make money.”

7. “My mom played 12-string and sang, and my dad could play pretty much any wind instrument and had a great ear for harmony. Soon enough, my sister and I got into music because we were always around it, and people were always listening to it.”

8. “One of my initial memories of being taken over by music was watching Paul McCartney on TV play a tribute to John Lennon. He was playing piano by himself and singing ‘Imagine,’ and I remember feeling an anxiety and shortness of breath.”

9. “Growing up in the middle of nowhere, there was a lot of twangy music around, but it didn’t really connect with me then.”

10. “When I was a kid, my dad kind of forced me to sing the third harmony for our little family group, and I just kind of hated it. I just felt so uncomfortable on stage, too shy.”

11. “There’s this element of surprise when you’re writing songs, like it’s something outside of you that you get to be part of. And it’s just exciting. And that’s why I keep writing—because I like that feeling.”

12. “Sometimes, I don’t like making emotions your career; something about it is kind of gross. But, at the same time, I want to move people the same way the songs make me feel.”

13. “I’ve always been trying to write songs that hit you in the stomach but ones that make people feel like things will be just fine.”

14. “Roadrunner wanted to make Born in the Flood the next Nickelback, but I didn’t want to be that. I didn’t want to be a huge rock star playing songs I didn’t like. I didn’t want to be stuck playing ‘Anthem,’ the song everybody liked but I didn’t want to put on the record, for the next five years.”

15. “I toured a lot in the U.K. and Europe solo for a lack of funds, really. I left people I’d been playing with for years at home, just because I couldn’t afford it.”

Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images

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