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Gavin Rossdale Praises 17-Year-Old Son Kingston’s Songwriting: He’s Making Some ‘Justin Bieber Quality’ Music (Exclusive)

Gavin Rossdale Praises 17-Year-Old Son Kingston's Songwriting: He's Making Some 'Justin Bieber Quality' Music
Gavin Rossdale Morgan Lieberman/Getty Images

Being the child of Gavin Rossdale and Gwen Stefani, it makes sense that Kingston Rossdale would have a gift for music, but even his father is amazed at what his teenage son is making.

“I got him a Logic studio for Christmas,” Rossdale, 57, tells Us Weekly when discussing Bush’s upcoming collection – Loaded: The Greatest Hits 1994-2023 – and subsequent North American tour. “He’s got my whole [guitar] pedal rig, a bunch of vintage guitars, all this stuff. I’ve helped him out to have a nice setup, but that is it. As opposed to really recording so much for himself, he’s begun to work with other people and he’s written some way legit, Justin Bieber-quality singles. I’m like, ‘Oh god, it’s really good. I can’t believe it.’ He has such a great ear for melody.”

The “Comedown” singer – who shares Kingston, Zuma, and Apollo with his ex-wife, Stefani, 53 – said that while his eldest could make some A-level pop music, Kingston’s interests have skewed towards the rock world. “Now, he really loves the Deftones and The Smashing Pumpkins, which is fun.”

“It’s so close to [my music] – I wish he were really deeply into me,” says Rossdale with a laugh, “but he’s not. He’s into the Pumpkins, which is great. They’re an incredible band. We love Billy [Corgan], we love the Deftones, and it’s so fun – walking past his room, and he’s playing a Deftones riff. But, what’s so strange, anthropologically, is that he does not quiz me about stuff. It’s all independent of me, and intentionally so.”

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Rossdale – who first rose to fame in the 1990s alongside the Pumpkins, Deftones and Stefani’s band, No Doubt – said he avoids pushing his music onto his kids and would instead have them find what they like organically. “Kids have to become independent. [Kingston] has to break away from me and discover things — almost distance himself from me, which is painful because” — he says, with a bit of sarcasm amongst the sincere —  “I’m the most important person in his life, along with his mom.”

Rossdale did admit to Us that the only time he feels disconnected from music, from the passion that has been the base of his life and career for three decades, is when he experiences the modern music that’s “not meant for me. It’s meant for young kids. My boys like that. My kids like that sound more than I do because it’s not built for me.”

Gavin Rossdale Praises 17-Year-Old Son Kingston's Songwriting: He's Making Some 'Justin Bieber Quality' Music
Courtesy of Gavin Rossdale/Instagram

“I’m dying to be, ‘Please listen to the Rezillos, here’s X-Ray Spex. You’re going to love all these bands,'” he says with charm. “My son’s listening to a band, an amazing band. Can’t remember what they’re called. But it’s like Sparklehorse. I’m like, “Look, these guys are great, but you got to check out Sparklehorse because there’s the blueprint. Of course, Picasso said, whatever, ‘good artists borrow, great artists steal.'”

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But, in his efforts to be a good, even great, father, Rossdale realizes that Kingston, who just turned 17, needs to be left alone to find his own musical tastes.

“He needs to be in his room. He needs to be discovering things in his room, not sitting down with me and asking me how to do it. It’s just how it goes. And it’s better, because I want [the discovery] to be independent. And what I’m saying is, what kind of thrills me about it is that independently, he likes the same things I do. So, it’s beautiful.”

“Because my younger son [Zuma, 15] is having a relationship with country music. That is a worry,” Rossdale tells Us, half-jokingly.

“I have gallows’ humor because I’m English,” he says, adding how he flew to New York City while listening to Patsy Cline. “So, when you get Tammy Wynette, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash – of course – Merle Haggard, it’s a whole different thing. It’s when you get the [country] on the radio. Nowadays, it’s much more homogenized, that country sound. So, I was worried, but [Zuma] loves Zach Bryan.”

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“It’s really good, so I’ve been listening to it,” says Rossdale. Zuma’s growing interest in the genre is likely due to spending time with his stepfather, Blake Shelton, whom Stefani married in 2021 (she and Rossdale divorced in 2016 after 14 years of marriage).

While Rossdale admits to not having a taste for modern country, he tells Us that he wants to support Zuma’s interests, especially because his son has “really been connecting to [ZachBryan] lyrics.”

“I promised to learn a couple of songs, so we can play them because he’s also learning guitar,” says Rossdale. “He now wants to play acoustic. So I said, ‘Let’s play a couple of songs together.’ So I’m learning a couple of Zac Bryan songs this week. I’ll sit with him and just play them. I just want to do that, to get in his head – not so much in Zach Bryann’s head, but inadvertently, why not? It’s really about getting into my 15-year-old’s head, because that’s what he likes.”

“And the nine-year-old?” Rossdale says of his and Stefani’s youngest, Apollo. “He just wants to play Fortnite.”

Correction: An earlier version of the article listed Zac Brown instead of Zach Bryan. The piece has been amended to accurately reflect Zuma Rossdale’s musical tastes. 

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