Nathaniel Joseph “Nate” Ruess (born February 26, 1982) is an American singer and songwriter. He is the lead vocalist of indie pop band Fun. and previously of the Format. As of 2015, he also performs as a solo musician.
Ruess was born on February 26, 1982, in Iowa City, Iowa to Larry Ruess and Bess Zinger. He is the younger of two children, having one sister named Elizabeth. His uncle, John Ruess, was a performer on Broadway and served as an influence for Ruess’ musical ventures.
In 1986, his family moved to a farm in Glendale, Arizona, due to repeated bouts of pneumonia Ruess faced as a child. Ruess remained in Arizona throughout his childhood and attended Deer Valley High School, graduating in 2000. During his time in school, Ruess played in punk bands and upon graduation chose to pursue music professionally. In an interview with American Songwriter Ruess states, “I’m not one to take lessons, so I decided that the only way I was going to learn how to sing, if what they were saying was true, was to go in my car and put on any sort of music from a vocalist that might be really hard to mimic, turn it on as loud as possible and try to hit all those notes”. He took a job in a law firm as a way to support himself while he pursued his musical ambitions.