.

Breaking Artist: Jose Gonzalez

September 19, 2007 4:22 PM ET

Who: A microbiologist turned rocker from Sweden who was planning a career in academics or pharmaceuticals until he released his first album, 2005's Veneer, and found fame with a cover of the Knife's "Heartbeats" on a TV commercial and The O.C.

Sounds Like: Jose Gonzalez's music instantly recalls other mellow introspective folk-rockers like Elliott Smith and Nick Drake, but the singer's significant South American influence sets him apart.

Three Things You Should Know:
1. Gonzalez, who considers himself an atheist, titled his new album In Our Nature in reference to the debate over whether human behavior is biologically dictated. Science, philosophy and religion are major lyrical themes for him. "I don't want to be too harsh, but there's very little evidence for 'intelligent design' or any sort of creator," he explains.
2. Before high school, Gonzalez spent a summer taking classical guitar lessons while also playing in a punk band. "I wore dreadlocks and rode a skateboard," the singer remembers. "The rest of the guys in the band were really bad at school -- I was the one who did the homework."
3. Gonzalez's parents are from Argentina, but they moved to Gothenburg, Sweden, for political reasons in 1976. The singer's two primary languages are Swedish and Spanish.

Get It: Jose Gonzalez's In Our Nature comes out September 25th.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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Song Stories

“Long Walk Home”

Bruce Springsteen | 2007

When the subject of this mournful song returns home, he hardly recognizes his town. Springsteen told Rolling Stone the alienation the man feels is a metaphor for life in a politically altered post-9/11 America. “Who would have ever thought we’d live in a country without habeas corpus?” he said. “That’s Orwellian. That’s what political hysteria is about and how effective it is. I felt it in myself. You get frightened for your family, for your home. And you realize how countries can move way off course, very far from democratic ideals.”

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