Artist Bio: Meet Red Leather – the alt-rock star whose hidden identity and intensive music have fired up hundreds of thousands of fans.

Even as he conceals his face behind a red tasselled hat, Red Leather has become one of the stand-out voices of 2023. 

Looking at Red Leather, the first thing you see is the hat. 

The artist, who has amassed millions of streams in the last 18 months for his scorchingly brilliant songs, wears a vintage fringed Stetson hat covering his entire face. 

It looks somewhere between what you might see on an ostentatious cowboy in the 1880s and what you might see on a lampshade in a dingy brothel in the 1970s. The more you learn about Red Leather, the more you understand that this is probably the point. 

The artist, from Reno, has never disclosed his legal identity. All that is known about him has been gleaned through what he has revealed in interviews, on social media, or through the lyrics of the songs he’s shared with the world. 

He has stated previously that he developed an abiding love for music at a young age and constantly turned to his guitar for comfort throughout his childhood. This love, he said, eventually convinced him to pursue music as a career. Inspired by many iconic American artists who have captured the highs and lows of the American Dream – Springsteen, the Eagles, Johnny Cash – Red Leather set about going after his version of the Dream by moving to LA. But even as he set off, the young artist was fighting a battle with addiction – and he was losing badly. 

A person in a hat and scarf in front of a casino

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Red Leather has shared his addiction battle with commendable honesty in recent months. Among the most shocking moments was the fact that he suffered a heart attack in December 2021 after a relapse into hard drugs – and that, a month later, he drove under the influence to Las Vegas and overdosed there in a hotel room. 

As of November 2023, he has been sober for over 20 months. He has also used those months to do everything physically possible to work on his music and claw back his dream of being a successful artist. 

The figures alone show that his dream is very much alive. Red Leather has amassed tens of millions of streams on Spotify (as well as 350,000 monthly listeners on the platform alone). He is also closing in on a million TikTok followers, securing a dedicated fanbase. 

His debut album, RENO, was released on November 17th to critical acclaim. Over the record’s 14 songs, the artist swings wildly and boldly between some of the crazy places he has found himself in over the last few years: from Reno to LA, addiction to recovery, despair to hope, hell to heaven (and maybe back again). 

Expect to hear a lot more from him further down the line. 

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