Washington-born artist rum.gold is carving out a niche area where “people can feel things without having to be judged for it”


COLORS showcases exceptional talent from all around the globe, focused on the most distinctive new artists and original sounds.


Washington-born artist rum.gold is carving out a niche area where “people can feel things without having to be judged for it”

rum.gold is a natural born observer. Born in Washington, D.C. the 28-year-old singer uses his soul-stirring songs as a vehicle to transport the listener through inventive characters, time periods, and even personal traumas. In 2021, he released his debut album ‘Thicker Than Water’, an emotive exploration of family inspired by the well-known scripture, “Blood is thicker than water.” Two years later, he delved deeper into this theme in ‘U Street Anthology’, unraveling a beautiful tapestry of his roots in the US capital.

In line with his debut A COLORS SHOW performance of “AM/FM” and “Blessed”, we spoke to rum about his nostalgic love for go-go music, creating a fan-based of people like himself, and channeling his insecurities into his vulnerable songwriting.

Where does your artist name, rum.gold, come from?

My last name is Drumgold, but I didn’t want people to think I was a drummer, so I dropped the “d.” When I think back about my music, and how much it’s tied to family and lineage, it’s so important that my last name is my artist name. 

What’s your first musical memory?

I was forced to play an instrument. I picked the trumpet because it had three buttons so I thought it would be the easiest choice. I remember my jazz instructor realizing I had a knack for music. One time, when he was trying to gauge who should play a solo, I created a new section of the song for the solo and he was really blown away by it. I won an award for playing that solo in middle school.

You come from the DMV area. What are your thoughts on go-go music? When Kelela did her Take Me Apart remix album, she included a go-go version of the title track. Would you ever do something like that? 

I love go-go music. I have a lot of early memories of me and my brothers dancing and beating our feet to it. Go-go is the musical heartbeat of the city. Whenever I hear go-go music, I’m instantly brought back to a specific place and moment in my life. It’s heard everywhere you would go to congregate, such as on street corners and at festivals.

How did you feel during the #UnMuteDC movement, where new residents that moved to the city took issue with the MetroPCS store blasting go-go on a busy intersection. The natives protested against a literal silencing of the city.

This kind of thing is happening everywhere, not only in D.C. This album touches on the fact that there are so many cities that have a similar story: They are built and created by us, and then co-opted, taken over, and changed into something that is palatable for the masses.

Do you think there are any parallels between go-go and your music?

I try to take the soul of go-go and put it into my music, even though my music is nowhere near as joyful.

“So many cities have a similar story: They are built and created by us, and then co-opted, taken over, and changed into something that is palatable for the masses.”

How did you want to introduce yourself to audiences on your debut album, Thicker Than Water?

My first two EPs, ‘yaRn’ and ‘aiMless’ were teasers. On them, I was trying to figure out what I wanted to say. I created these fictional stories and characters to avoid what I wanted to express, but I was diving even deeper into my own thoughts and feelings than I realized.

‘Thicker Than Water’ is about family, both chosen and biological, and how lucky we are to have either of them. When I was creating the album, I wasn’t thinking about how fans would consume it. That worked in my favor. It’s created a fan base of people who are like me: people who are introverted, have a lot of feelings, and are very introspective. The music is so tender and sensitive it filters out people who aren’t as delicate with what they like to consume. I’m carving out a niche area where people can feel things without having to be judged for it.

Do you think those first EPs built trust between you and your listeners?

Definitely. I was very insecure about everything: my voice, my point of view. Going to a musical college didn’t help my insecurities because it was such a competitive environment. They didn’t even know I played trumpet or wrote music. I didn’t perform at all when I was in college.

Those first two EPs proved that I wasn’t a bad singer, that people did like my voice, and that they cared about the things I had to say. The response of those two EPs was so positive it made me feel like if I gave a little more to people they would respond positively. Now, I feel like I can be as candid and as open as I want to be. There’s a negative to that as well: A lot of the time I’ll write songs about things that haven’t been resolved in my actual life. This forces me to go back and talk to family, friends, or lovers about things I otherwise would have avoided.

What are some of the concepts behind ‘U Street Anthology’? How do you think it demonstrates your development as an artist since ‘Thicker Than Water’? 

It’s a conceptual album about D.C. and the people from the city. I wanted to create stories that were based in a real place and from various points in history. It’s a continuation of Thicker Than Water because I dive deeper into my lineage. Instead of just focusing on me, I focus on D.C.

When I was making ‘U Street Anthology’, I was trying to understand where I come from, who I am, and, most importantly, my lineage. A lot of Black people in the U.S. don’t have the opportunity to trace their ancestry back really far. I was trying to highlight some aspects of Black history where people from D.C. could look back and say: “This is our history.” I’ve grown as a person since ‘Thicker Than Water’, and my music has developed with me.

“I would like to be able to continue telling beautiful stories that are worth telling.”

Tell us about the songs you performed for COLORS. 

I performed “AM/FM” and “Blessed.” I like to think of them both as scenes in a short film. “AM/FM” reminds me of driving during D.C. in the summer with the windows down and the radio playing. The idea is that you’re sifting through stations trying to find something and you then land on this song.

“Blessed” is a very different scene from one of the last times I went to D.C. to visit my mom. We met at church, and I sat in the service thinking about how life took us on different paths. I felt unsure about where I was going, but I knew that it would be ok.

Does religion play a role in your music?

I wouldn’t say I’m religious at all. I grew up going to church in a pretty religious household. I was always trying to understand my place in religion: what you’re supposed to do, who you’re supposed to be, and what you’re supposed to look like. I’m queer, so that added another layer to it. I am very interested in the idea of dissecting all of the reasons why people believe those things in the first place.

You appeared with a screen onstage throughout your tour, and on your A COLORS SHOW. Can you explain the significance?

The screen gives the illusion of a window that looks onto the street from my home. The album is about home, and the idea that there are “U Streets” all across the country.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I would like to be able to continue telling beautiful stories that are worth telling—however big or small that is.

What do you enjoy doing outside of music?

I’m really into home decor. I made a kitchen island. I also made a 20-wick candle recently. You don’t realize how expensive candles are—and rugs actually—when you become an adult. I couldn’t find the candle I wanted, one that was so big that it would be intrusive, so I got a huge concrete planter and set it in my living room.

If you could send one message to your fans, what would it be? 

I just finished the first leg of the tour. I met so many of you and I’m filled with so much gratitude. I just want to say thank you, I love you so much.


rum.gold is a Washington-born artist whose debut A COLORS SHOW dropped on 22nd June 2023. You can watch the full performance on our YouTube channel.

Text: Kristin Corry
Photography: Megan Courtis
Videography: Lucas Sanou
Video Editing: Katia Fisenko


What our community says

What a beautiful Article just what i needed to read to get to understand rum.gold and his songs cause I’m obsessed with all his EP’s amd albums. Each song just connects so deeply with me n my life. Thank you vm❤

Tlholohelo Ntlele - Klerksdorp NorthWest, SA

Open Player

This website uses cookies. By using this website and its content you accept these cookies.