After winning several BBMAs and topping the charts, Machine Gun Kelly has finally bagged a Billboard magazine cover! MGK spoke to Meaghan Garvey about everything from his new album, mainstream sellout, to his love of coffee. And it just so happened that certain moments of their conversation showcase some of the biggest aspects of his career so far, from his commitment to pushing his limits and his lane changes when it comes to what genre he’s focusing on. Here are four standout moments that really shined in our eyes!
“You think Prince liked playing in high heels?”
While discussing the difference between trendy musicians and artists whose legacies prevail because of their focus on being an entertainer, MGK noted acts like Prince and Daft Punk, who used fashion and accessories as a way to bring their art to the next level. “The task as an entertainer is to entertain, and that means giving a part of yourself, including your comfort, away,” he shared.
It’s not uncommon for Kells’ own performances to include running through a crowd, rapping on top of a giant skull prop, or even climbing up a rafter to keep the audience on their toes. His aspiration seems to be keeping the “Wild Boy” spirit he broke out with a decade ago alive, maintaining that passion in himself and longtime fans alike.
Musing on the “Rockstar” Life
One of the most introspective moments of the interview was when Colson opened up about how famous people aren’t always seen as human. He touched on the hate he’s gotten while reflecting on his past and how he’s felt like a misfit over the years:
I felt from the beginning, even in my household, like the kid who was just outcasted from birth. I was always too tall for the kids at my school, or I didn’t have enough money to buy the outfits the other kids had — it was just always something. But the world isn’t looking at me like that. They’re like, ‘F–k you, dude, you’re a rich rock star. How hard could it be?’Machine Gun Kelly to Billboard
Kells has been relentlessly vulnerable about his struggles with mental health over the years, along with mentioning suicide attempts on songs like 2019’s “Glass House” and even the mainstream sellout track “god save me.” Whether it’s out of sheer ignorance for what he’s gone through or being aware and not caring about the impact of their words, people online still throw countless rocks his way.
Reflecting on His Genre Journey
A common criticism Kells has faced since focusing on pop-punk is that he “switched genres,” something he speaks out against on songs like “papercuts” and his 2020 freestyle over Jack Harlow’s “WHATS POPPIN.” But longtime fans – and simply those who take time to learn about his career – will know that he’s been loud and proud about his love of rock. From collabing with members of Avenged Sevenfold to touring with Fall Out Boy, he’s more than paid his dues to the genre.
I know it kills certain bands in that community that I got the success that I got. But I earned that s–t. Dude, I was f–king loading up the van with our drums and amps in 2010, driving to Indiana and Chicago, playing Warped Tour. I can tell you the f–king Wi-Fi codes to venues in Blackfoot, Idaho. Can you say that s–t as a band?Machine Gun Kelly to Billboard
Garvey pointed out that at the 2012 Warped Tour, MGK covered Limp Bizkit’s “Break Stuff,” combining his bullet-speed rapping with high-octane guitars and heavy drums. At some shows, he even jumped into the pit with fans in the ultimate display of rockstardom, flaunting a mohawk and his signature black bandana on his head.
Any Moment With Whiskey
Yes, there were some drinks involved in the interview, but we’re talking about Kells’ adorable kitten named after one of his favorites! When you dive into a feature about someone named after a gangster, you don’t expect it to open with a scene about them spending time with their pets… but this one does. We love that it showed his soft side and personality beyond the cameras and his public image.
You can find Machine Gun Kelly’s cover of Billboard on newsstands now, and read the interview on Billboard’s website here! What was your favorite part of the interview? Let us know in the comments below or link up with us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!