Bryson Runge is a fourth-year student at Wartburg College, but as a musical artist he is known as Bryson the Illest.

Runge fell in love with music around 2008 and started his artistic career by writing poetry and participating in other forms of creative writing. As an artist, he said he was attracted to the wordplay that is oftentimes used in lyrical poetry, and it inevitably became a central piece in his writing.

“I feel like I have a gift to make words flow,” Runge said.

Recently, Bryson the Illest was placed on a ghostwriting team for Universal, writing lyrics for big-name artists under that label. While Runge is not able to disclose any information about who he writes for, he hopes that this will be a way to get his foot in the door of the music industry.

“My life has turned up a lot in the past three or four weeks,” Runge said. “Everything’s changed. I’m getting more into the behind-the-scenes. … I’ve just realized how much more of a collective this industry is.”

Runge now wants to make more connections, which he hopes will lead to more exposure as a stand-alone artist. Using the money gained from royalty checks, he plans on financing his musical career and using his connections to his advantage.

While he doesn’t have any collective releases out yet, Runge has been writing his first full-length album, which he plans on calling “Diaries of a Knucklehead.”

“I like writing about all the down spots I’ve been in, all the downfalls I’ve had,” Runge said. “I feel like even if I don’t make it big, I already have a crazy story to tell, so that’s what I’ve been taking the most time on love songs, breakup songs, [party] songs – all that comes to me easy, but when I’m trying to put a complete image together about my life, that is hard for me. Whenever a song gets personal, it’s always harder.”

This album will be centered around Runge’s life story and his experiences. It is unknown when the album will be released, but until then, his singles can be streamed on SoundCloud and Spotify.



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