In 2021, musician Purple Leather-based used his cellphone battery’s final 1 p.c to name a good friend to save lots of him from a suicidal state of affairs in downtown Los Angeles. In December of that 12 months, he suffered a coronary heart assault after relapsing. One month later, on Jan. 5, 2022, he drove drunk to Las Vegas in the course of the night time and overdosed in a resort room.
Now, Purple Leather-based has been sober for greater than 20 months, gained 350,000 month-to-month listeners on Spotify and 850,000 followers on TikTok, and is about to launch his debut album, RENO, on Nov. 17.
“As soon as that occurred in Vegas, I formally was finished,” Purple Leather-based mentioned. “It was nearly like an act of God that I nearly died, however I didn’t, and I had the chance to alter. It was simply madness that I actually went from dying’s doorstep to well-known on the web, like, 30 days later.”
Purple Leather-based, who by no means exhibits his face or reveals his authorized identify, grew up in Reno. Music was an curiosity of his from a younger age, and singing and the guitar grew to become an “escape” for him. Whereas he performed in different bands in his youth, his lifelong dream was to write down and carry out unique materials.
His life in Reno, nevertheless, finally led him into the throes of a years-long dependancy to alcohol and laborious medication, particularly cocaine—an dependancy that adopted him when he went to pursue a full-time music profession in Los Angeles in 2021.
“I had determined, ‘Hey, I’m gonna be in Hollywood, I’m gonna do this music factor out for actual,’” he mentioned. “I spent a variety of time busking on Hollywood Boulevard. I used to be nonetheless deep into my dependancy throughout this complete factor, and it received actually darkish, man. I used to be actually fortunate to have a few buddies, these guys who I work with, who would, like, be selecting me up from motels on Sundown Boulevard.”
It was throughout his time enjoying on the road that Purple Leather-based developed his nameless persona. He discovered his attribute fringed Stetson in a classic store in San Bernardino and realized passers-by paid extra consideration when he performed whereas sporting it. Purple had all the time been a favourite coloration of his, he mentioned, and the remainder of the outfit got here collectively piece by piece.
The selection to stay nameless supplied safety from outdated habits and dangerous influences—in addition to the liberty to inform his story actually.
“I undoubtedly went by some shit in Reno and Vegas round medication and sellers and the flawed crowd,” he mentioned. “I used to be like, if I’m going to pursue a profession in music, I don’t wish to appeal to the flawed consideration from these individuals who I used to affiliate with. On prime of that, I believe by being nameless, I can absolutely discuss my life and my dependancy and my restoration with out having to be judged by what I seem like or who I’m—something like that. That’s been a fairly large blessing.”
Lots of Purple Leather-based’s songs are primarily based on true tales about his time as an addict, and the way his journey to sobriety additionally led him to spirituality. His hottest music, “Sins,” recounts his expertise with suicidal ideas and his quest for absolution—together with his lyrical testimony sonically buttressed by a gospel choir.
Purple Leather-based’s music combines the hallmarks of his rock ’n’ roll influences with components of outlaw nation like twangy, scratchy metal string riffs and raucous rhythms match for clapping and stomping boots. Probably the most potent weapon in his arsenal is his voice, each highly effective and distinct, equally able to hovering choruses and lilting melodies, like in fan favourite “The Solely Time It Rains in Hollywood.”
One other music, “Dakota,” laments a misplaced love, with an accompanying music video filmed in Reno. It options scenes from South Virginia Road, the Gold ’N Silver Inn and the Peppermint Hippo gents’s membership. Purple Leather-based mentioned the video was meant to be an genuine expression of his life on the time.
“I selected to movie it there as a result of this can be a true story a few relationship that I had, and a woman that I did flawed,” he mentioned. “I selected my dependancy over her. At instances, it was laborious to movie it on set, as a result of I used to be reliving that shit. I’ve spent a variety of time downtown within the casinos, staying on the motor lodge by the Eldorado. In addition to me having a crimson hat on, it wasn’t very completely different from what really occurred.”
In L.A., the mixture of his visually putting persona, musical expertise and unvarnished material finally led to consideration from producers. He was approached about making an album and commenced to document in marathon periods at studios across the West Coast. His producers, he mentioned, had been the primary ones to push him to make use of social media, and becoming a member of TikTok rapidly gave him an keen viewers and an outlet for his addictive character.
“For, like, the primary 100 days in my sobriety, I posted on TikTok three to 5 instances a day,” he mentioned. “I bear in mind trying down at my cellphone after I had dinner, and a video that I posted proper earlier than my assembly, an hour and a half later had, like, 30,000 views. And, you already know, having the type of addict mind that I’ve, I used to be like, ‘Oh no, they gave this to the flawed individual.’”
Buoyed by his on-line fame, Purple Leather-based spent the final 12 months ending his debut album, named after his hometown and slated to be launched later in November. He freely admits that his relationship with Reno is difficult—he loves town and its surrounding pure surroundings, however returning to city sober means navigating new experiences and reminders of a life he’s tried to depart behind. These contradictions, although, are an integral a part of his story, and by extension, the album.
“The entire album is about being from Reno, my experiences there,” he mentioned. “It’s a journey—a bodily journey from Reno to L.A. It’s a non secular journey from sin to redemption, and it’s additionally a journey from dependancy to restoration.”
Whereas Reno could function the inspiration and backdrop for the album, he’s additionally discovered that, to his followers, his message and experiences transcend anyone city—and that his music serves a grander objective.
“I get messages, like, every day from individuals who will say one thing like, ‘I actually resonate together with your music,’ and even, ‘The music saved my life,’” he mentioned. “I wrote this album to assist myself get by this shit. However I’m discovering that essentially the most significant a part of it’s really serving to different folks get by stuff. I nearly see it as a part of my complete mission, will not be solely to inform my story, however to assist others who’re fighting any type of darkness of their life.”
Purple Leather-based will carry out on Friday, Nov. 3, at Cypress Reno, 761 S. Virginia St., in Reno. Tickets are $20. For tickets, go to www.tixr.com/teams/cypressreno.