While his 14-year-old classmates were busy worrying about their Spanish finals or who they were taking to the spring formal, Ryan Star was forming his first band, Stage. Soon after he and his friends were signed to Madonna's Maverick Records and began playing legendary New York City clubs like CBGB's and the Mercury Lounge -- all before Star could even (legally) buy a pack of cigarettes.
After the band broke up, Star continued making music on his own and used CBS's reality competition Rock Star to launch his solo career. Though he didn't win, he was impressive enough to secure himself a deal with Atlantic Records and earlier this month he released his debut album, 11:59.
The singer-songwriter recently dropped by the Out studio to chat about how grunge got him into the music industry, the solitary -- but liberating -- experience of writing 11:59, and why the album is all about "being now":
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