GENERATION V: Role Model

GENERATION V: Role Model

GENERATION V: Role Model

The lovesick loverboy with an authentic approach

The lovesick loverboy with an authentic approach

Photography: Dennis Leupold

Styling: Marta Del Rio

Text: Kala Herh

Before Role Model heads on stage, he takes a shot of tequila–not necessarily because he likes it, but because it’s a sure-fire energizer. “I made an executive decision to put tequila on the rider because I absolutely hate tequila. So I was like, ‘Okay, this is smart because I won’t ever want to drink,’” he shares from his hotel room in Barcelona. The young musician is finishing up a whirlwind tour around the world, and in between rehearsal and his performance at La (2) De Apolo, he takes time to indulge us and our questions about life these past few months. “I always describe a concert of mine as pop music, played like rock music, performed as rap music. It’s just a chaotic show and an emotional roller coaster. It’s all very fun.” And at 25, Role Model proves he’s already a cool-as-they-come rockstar.

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Prior to becoming Role Model, the romantic lyricist we’ve all come to know and love, he was Tucker Pillsbury, an aspiring film student from Pittsburgh. Growing up as a suburban kid in Maine, Pillsbury spent his free time skateboarding and making videos with his friends. And after enrolling at the University of Pittsburgh for film and finding it wasn’t his beat, he turned to music. “My rapper friends left some recording equipment in my dorm room, and I tried my hand at production,” he elaborates. “I instantly fell in love with it.” At the time, he rapped about “loads of money and sports cars,” but eventually gave way to softer melodies and deeper storytelling. One of those early songs, “Stolen Car,” a ballad about addiction and longing, caught the ears of another Pittsburgh-native–Mac Miller, which led to a deal with Interscope Records and a move to Los Angeles.

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He returns to his roots in the latest album, Rx, penning the bulk of the 11-track project in his childhood bedroom in Maine. Saturated in guitar riffs and tongue-in-cheek lyrics, Pillsbury strikes a new chord in this album. In the place of angst and longing, emerges love and desire. The title track best sums up the main theme of Rx, which chronicles his own salvation, of sorts, in the person he loves. “From someone who never thought he would fall in love his whole life, who thought he was going to die alone,” he explains, “I hope this album gives you hope.” And with his new oeuvre, Role Model proves that romance in the modern age isn’t dead. In fact, love is all there is.

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Rx is now available on all streaming platforms.

Credits: MAKEUP LOFJET (THE ONLY AGENCY) HAIR RICKY FRASER (THE ONLY AGENCY) PHOTO ASSISTANTS CHAZ BROWN, TOMMY BLANCO, WINSTON KINGSTRO STYLIST ASSISTANT JAIN KANG MAKEUP ASSISTANT LUIGI CHAMORRO, LUNA VELA HAIR ASSISTANT BECCA MADER LOCATION DUST STUDIOS

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