Via Milk Makeup:
Twenty-one-year-old singer Gus Dapperton’s signature pastel green bowl cut and high water pants give him an instant edge, but his journey as a musician has a surprisingly relatable beginning: a mandatory eighth-grade songwriting competition. “I spent a lot of time on it, and then I was like, ‘I just want to do this for the rest of my life.’” (He won the contest, btw.) Having grown up in Warwick, New York, a rural farm town, much of Gus’s inspiration is drawn from memories of his childhood. “I’m inspired by the sounds and the colors and the looks of my childhood. I had a bowl cut when I was a toddler and I have one now. And I’m also inspired by what I grew up listening to in my house, like ‘60s rock, ‘80s new wave, and R&B,” he explains. Although he’s now in the thick of his first-ever tour, Gus spent much of his time during the previous year refining his sound: “I think I found my sound last summer and honed in on it. From here on out, it’s just about evolving.”
Growing as an artist also involves a hectic new schedule, which Gus has learned to love: “When you’re touring, [your performance] has to be on the spot, so you don’t even have time to prep or think about it. I think that’s better, on the spot, on the fly.” Gus also thinks that performing live has helped him evolve musically. “Performing live as a musician is newer to me. I’m mostly a studio person and producer and composer, so I’m really focused on performing with my band,” he says. Despite his super busy life on the road with his band, which includes his 17-year-old sister — “We’re best friends,” he explains — Gus has found time to work on a new album, the follow up to his EP You Think You’re a Comic, which he hopes to release this year.
It’s a lot to handle at just 21, but Gus seems to take it in stride, as evidenced by his carefree vibe (seriously — he dances around like no one’s watching). “Two summers ago, I finally got a fake ID, I was in New York, and I moved in with my creative director, Matthew Dillon Cohen. We’d just go out to a club that was playing good music and dance every night. I think then I was like, ‘Oh, I don’t care. I’ll dance like no one is watching every time now.’” This same carefree attitude characterizes Gus’s style, too. “I started painting my nails when I was 17 and 18, and I just went right for it. And once I started painting my nails, I wanted to wear makeup. It was probably my first year of college and I had a show and I was like, ‘Man, it would be dope to wear some eyeshadow.’ So I became obsessed with eyeshadow and I now wear it all the time.” As for any criticism he gets for his beauty moves, Gus tries not to let it get to him: “I’m trying to just reach everyone and share my music with everyone. I’m trying to express myself to the world. I’m doing what I want to do.” Referencing Gus’s love of the ’80s and ’90s, Marcelo highlighted Gus’s mint green hair by applying Milk Eye Pigment in Mermaid Parade to his brows and layering Holographic Stick in Stardust and Holographic Powder in Mars across Gus’s cheekbones, forehead, and ears. It’s a fitting update on the color palette of Gus’s childhood, and a look that captures how true-to-self Gus is as an artist. “I know now that being yourself is ultimately better than trying to curate a random portrayal for society. By the time I was seventeen, I understood [this] reality, and was fully myself, but I wish I could’ve told my fifteen-year-old self that earlier.”