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Legendary producer Rick Rubin announces first book

'The Creative Act: A Way of Being’ arrives in early 2023

By Joe Goggins

Rick Rubin in a still from 'McCartney 3,2,1', 2021
Rubin's first book will delve into his creative process. (Photo: Everett Colllection/Hulu)

Rick Rubin has announced plans for the publication of his first book.

The legendary producer and founder of Def Jam Records will release ‘The Creative Act: A Way of Being’ early next year, with Canongate publishing it in the UK. The non-fiction work will reflect on the nature of creativity, life, and the relationship between the two; in a statement, Rubin said, “I set out to write a book about what to do to make a great work of art. Instead, it revealed itself to be a book on how to be.”

Rubin rose to prominence in the 1980s as the head of Def Jam, which he founded during his senior year in high school. His work on the label with the likes of Run-DMC, LL Cool J and Beastie Boys made a name for him as the hottest producer in hip hop, but he’d go on to forge decades-long creative partnerships with the likes of metal titans Slayer and funk-rock icons Red Hot Chill Peppers.

More recently, Rubin has worked with Wu-Tang Clan, Lana Del Rey, Lady Gaga, James Blake and The Smashing Pumpkins, usually at his Shangri-La studio in Malibu. He has won nine Grammys, most recently last year for his work on The Strokes’ ‘The New Abnormal’, which clinched Best Rock Album. MTV called him “the most important producer of the last 20 years” in 2007, the same year he became head of Columbia Records and was named one of Time’s ‘100 Most Influential People in the World”. 

“The musicians [Rubin] has worked with describe his ability to develop a relationship of comfort and mutual trust that helps them access their deepest wellsprings of creativity and discover the music they wish to make, rather than manufacturing it,” said can official synopsis released by Canongate. “‘The Creative Act: A Way of Being’ is [Rubin’s] distillation – seven years in the making – of the principles of creativity for creators of all kinds, including people in their everyday lives. In our world where creativity and innovation are more important than ever, everyone is engaged in the creative.”

No specific release date for ‘The Creative Act’ has yet been announced. The news coincides with Rubin’s return to Twitter for only his second-ever tweet, after his account had laid dormant for nearly eight years. He posted a graphic with a quote attributed to him: “We have a work principal in the studio: demonstrate it, don’t explain it.”