Machine Gun Kelly 'Made It' When He Got His Late Dad's Approval: 'That Was the Ultimate Success'

Kelly's upcoming studio album mainstream sellout is out Friday

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Machine Gun Kelly. Photo: AVIER TORRES/AFP/Getty

Machine Gun Kelly is opening up about the moment he felt like his work paid off.

During a cover story interview with Billboard on Wednesday, the "emo girl" singer opened up about various topics ahead of the release of his highly anticipated studio album mainstream sellout, set for release on Friday.

Among those topics was the moment Kelly (real name Colson Baker), 34, felt like he had made it in the music industry. And though he's had many pinch-me moments in his career, including working with rapper Lil Wayne, it wasn't until he got his father's approval in 2020 that he truly felt it.

"In that moment, when he acknowledged my music and we bonded over a song, it gave me the richest memory I'll ever have," he said of his dad, who helped him write his first song.

He continued, "To me, that was the ultimate success. And everything else that preceded that in our relationship didn't matter because we had finally made it."

His father died a few months later. At the time, Kelly shared on social media that he had died on the one-year anniversary of his emotional 2019 album Hotel Diablo.

"i had plans for the one year anniversary of Hotel Diablo today.‬ ‪that album was everything i wanted to say and i know it's close to my fans," he tweeted at the time. "but my father took his last breath this morning, and i've never felt a pain this deep in my life."

Speaking with British GQ in July 2019, Kelly told the magazine that if he was to apologize to any one person, it would be his dad. He also admitted that he was a bit of an unruly adolescent.

"I'd say sorry to my father," he said at the time. "I have such a rule-abiding, amazing daughter and I was such a rule-breaking, s—ty son. The legal fees, the tens of thousands of dollars from the times I got arrested, the finding out your son missed a whole semester of high school because he was waking up and pretending to go but never going."

He added: "I don't know how he did it, and I get why it took us 25 years to finally get along."

During the interview with Billboard, the pop-punk star also assured readers ahead of his album release that he's only human, and he's doing his best.

"My name is Colson Baker, and I have real feelings," he said. "I have real loss. I have real vulnerability. I have real regrets. I just want to be given the same respect that you would give yourself to f--- up and bounce back."

mainstream sellout follows Kelly's 2020 album tickets to my downfall and is out Friday. The album will include previously released tracks such as "emo girl," "ay!," "maybe," and "papercuts."

"I've waited for this," he said of the album. "The confidence to hit 'play' and know that what's about to come out of the speakers is what I've wanted to say all along."

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