Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Late-Bloomer Develops Noteworthy Skills as a Musician

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Late-Bloomer Develops Noteworthy Skills as a Musician

Article excerpt

John Rushlander may be a newcomer compared with a lot of musicians, but he is making up for lost time.

The junior at Point Park University didn't pick up a guitar until his late teens, but once he did, he was hooked. Mr. Rushland, 27, has been noticed for his skills -he was recently selected as the university's Pioneer Recording Artist of the year. Pioneer Records is the record label that is a joint project between Point Park and Red Caiman Media.

With this honor, Mr. Rushlander is recording a CD with a backup band and performing at various venues around the city.

"I was reluctant to apply, to do the whole competition thing, but I decided to give it a try," said Mr. Rushland, a Mt. Lebanon resident.

One of his hesitations was his age. At 27, he is older than many of his fellow students at the university. After graduating from Riverside High School in Beaver County, Mr. Rushlander decided to serve in the U.S. Army before college.

"I always had a desire to go to the Army. I was a terrible student, but I don't know if I was a terrible student because I knew I wanted to go to the Army or if I went to the Army because I was a terrible student," said Mr. Rushland, who served from 2008 to 2011.

Mr. Rushlander was no stranger to music. His mother, Keiko Rushlander, is a professional violinist and he grew up in a household "with a lot of music."

But it wasn't until he was a teen that Mr. Rushlander developed his own interest in music.

"A buddy gave me a guitar and I became kind of a hippy guitar player, just trying to decode the music and instrument myself," he said.

Once he went to the Army, Mr. Rushlander said he became "obsessed" with the instrument.

"I would just nerd out in my barracks and just play and play," he said.

Joining the Army brought the change Mr. Rushlander was looking for. Like many young people, he wanted to see other places.

"I desperately wanted a change and that was a quick way to do that," he said.

Mr. Rushlander continued teaching himself to play the guitar and honed his skills, even while deployed to Iraq in 2010. …

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