‘All I had left was the music’: Artist GUNNAR on growing with his music

Emerging artist GUNNAR shares about the start of his career, his first solo tour and his new single “Fuck a Broken Heart.”


Sara West

Portrait of GUNNAR with a red and white background, as photographed on Feb. 7, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Sara West)

Sara West, Deputy Photography Director

Pop-rock artist GUNNAR is certainly not new to the music scene, but his recent releases showcase his growth as an artist. I’ve been keeping up with GUNNAR since I saw him open for PRETTYMUCH on their 2018 “Funktion Tour,” but a lot has changed since then: I’ve witnessed him grow up both as a person and as an artist. 

GUNNAR’s career began when he picked up a guitar at age seven, and he instantly fell in love with music. His path to becoming a pop-rock star began when he started a garage band with his neighbors and played cover songs at local bars. GUNNAR said his parents always supported him and did whatever it took to allow him to achieve his dreams. 

“When [my friends and I] got to high school, everyone was kind of over [playing music], and I just wasn’t yet,” GUNNAR told The Hustler. “So I started going to the studio, and it just kind of went from there.”

After posting consistently on social media — initially just covers — he was discovered by PRETTYMUCH and started touring with them. Since then, he has opened for other artists, including Spencer Sutherland and Lawrence. After these tours, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and GUNNAR lost his favorite thing about his music: playing songs live. 

“When you take the live show out of it, all I had left was the music,” GUNNAR said. “But I didn’t have anything that special. I didn’t have anything that made me that excited.” 

Portrait of GUNNAR, as photographed on Feb. 7, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Sara West)
Portrait of GUNNAR, as photographed on Feb. 7, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Sara West)
(Sara West)

He mentioned that he felt unmotivated during the pandemic and almost quit the music industry, but he decided to refocus on writing music that made him happy rather than trying to write what he thought listeners would connect with. 

“I’m just writing music that I feel inspired about and happy about and excited to share with the world,” GUNNAR said. 

He describes his new sound as much more rock-driven than his earlier projects. With his new releases, GUNNAR aims to write a timeless rock project that still sounds fresh and modern even years after its release. His latest music takes inspiration from artists such as The Black Keys, Lenny Kravitz and the Stone Temple Pilots. 

“A lot has changed,” GUNNAR said. “It’s really cool.”

GUNNAR’s most recent release, “Fuck a Broken Heart,” takes a new spin on breakup songs. He noted that he randomly woke up with the idea, and it instantly got stuck in his head. He shared that a lot more is coming up soon, including tour announcements and an album. 

Fuck a Broken Heart” is now streaming on Spotify and Apple Music.