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Post Malone chases happiness, chicken nuggets and love in new album 'Austin'

Post Malone
Alfred Marroquin
The Lede Company
Post Malone

It's hard to describe Post Malone as anything other than a rockstar. He's lived like it: jewelry, face tattoos and his ever present cans of Bud Light.

But Post Malone's new album makes it sound like that rockstar lifestyle is losing its luster. It's titled Austin — after his real name, Austin Post.

Morning Edition co-host A Martinez spoke with Post Malone shortly before the album's release. The following has been edited for length and clarity.

A Martinez: Let's just start off with the name of the album. You named it after yourself: Austin. So what about what you were writing and recording made you think, Yeah, this is Austin.

Post Malone: We were about to go on tour and we initially wanted to record an acoustic record. We ended up making half the record in that week. And towards the end, you know, the development of it, we were like, 'Well, let's add some drums. Let's do some fun stuff to it.' So it just kind of became its own record and not strictly an acoustic record.

But I guess... That's my name! So we figured, you know, this is a record done by me. And also we couldn't think of another name.

A Martinez: So that's the ultimate reason? "I just couldn't think of anything."

I want to give you guys a smarter answer, but that's about it. We had a lot of options: "Don't Eat the Chicken Nuggets, There's Plastic in It." But see, that's, like, way too long.

A Martinez: It also sounds way more intensely personal. The very first song — "I Don't Understand" — you sing, "I don't understand how you like me so much because I don't like myself." Millions of people feel the same way. It's like that Groucho Marx line, "I don't want to be part of a club that would have someone like me as a member."

To be honest, I have a lot of self-confidence issues, and they came around kind of late. As I got older, I started looking at things differently, trying to take my time. And then you start thinking, "You have so much riding on everything!" You don't want to be disrespectful and super crazy because you have so many people that work with you and people that you love. So, you just try to take time to really think through things. It's a lot of anxiety, and a lot of different emotions come with that.

A Martinez: I think a lot of people couldn't possibly understand that someone like you, that has millions of fans — that does a job that people dream of doing — they think, 'Well, how could you possibly not like yourself when we like you so much?'

Sure. That not only has to do with relationships, but also performing and being in the public light. It's super introspective. I always questioned things, and now I have a tendency to second-guess myself. And I know I shouldn't. I love the music that I make. I love making music. I guess that's the takeaway from that song just try your best. I mean, my dad told me when I was a kid, "Not everybody's going to like you." And that stuck with me. I do the best for the people that do.

A Martinez: I think dads tend to say that more than moms. My mom says, "Everyone loves you." My dad's like, "Maybe people don't like you so much.

That's all right.

A Martinez: Being a father changes things, doesn't it?

Post Malone: Very much so. Very much so. It put everything into perspective.

She is about 14 months now, and she just started running around and walking. I used to not really care about a lot of stuff, but that really turns it around super quick, man. I don't leave the house anymore. I don't really want to do anything. I want to hang out with the baby and play video games when she goes to bed.

I want to work my ass off, you know, and it's such a hard thing to do, especially going on tour. Going on tour is really hard because she just did ten steps the other day, and her mom sent me a video. I really, really, really wish that I could have seen that.

But I hope one day, she understands that, you know, me and my super bust ass just try to give her the best life that we can.

A Martinez: So she knows your voice? She knows that's daddy singing?

Post Malone: She knows and it's so cute because her mom has all the songs. I sent her all the songs. And whenever she hears, she does this kind-of shoulder dance.

She loves "Chemical." She gets so pumped. It's so funny to watch her. And that makes me, like, the proudest man in the world.

You got someone that loves you unconditionally, and then you have someone you love unconditionally as well. And for the longest time, we had a hard time. "We," as in me I don't know why I'm doing that but we had a hard time where we lost a lot of focus and were super sad and down in the dumps. And this baby... It's the most amazing thing to happen to me in a long time.

A Martinez: How did it make you want to change your life, or change how you lived your life?

Post Malone: I used to drink a whole lot, now I drink to celebrate, to have a good time. And now I don't smoke inside anymore. I save my money and take care of stuff that I need to do. And get everything prepared and just make sure that she has the coolest life that she can. I guess that's what all dads want to do is just make it beautiful for their baby.

And yeah, it's changed a lot. Making those changes has made me the happiest I've ever been. So it's pretty amazing.

A Martinez: You've described yourself at certain points "not feeling like Austin." Now with this album, where you live... are you back to being Austin?

Post Malone: I think so. Yes, sir. I'm in the best spot that I have been in ten years, if not my whole entire life mentally. It takes a lot of work. And it takes a lot of getting your ass kicked to say, "This is not even what I wanted in the first place."

And the cool thing is that now, I know what I want. I have a purpose. I spent so long looking for a purpose. Like, Who am I? What do I want to do? What is this?

Now I feel like Austin. Yeah, I feel like Austin. I think the goal of every person is to be as happy as a kid and just be like, eat those chicken nuggets! You know what I'm talking about? I think at the end of the day, my goal is to just be happy and be able to run around with my daughter and just be a kid and have fun.

Copyright 2024 NPR

Ziad Buchh
Ziad Buchh is a producer for NPR's Morning Edition and Up First. In addition to producing and directing the broadcast, he has also contributed to the show's sports, tech and video game coverage. He's produced and reported from all over the country, including a Trump rally, and from the temporary home of Ukrainian refugees.
A Martínez
A Martínez is one of the hosts of Morning Edition and Up First. He came to NPR in 2021 and is based out of NPR West.