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Nate Ruess: a different kind of fun

Wynwood. South Beach. Downtown. But Doral isn’t necessarily the first place you’d think of when major talent comes to town.

But so it was. Fun frontman Nate Ruess took his act tot he Aloft Miami Doral and Element Miami hotels Friday night at a VIP private concert, part of Starwood Preferred Guest’s Hear the Music, See the World music series.

We caught up with the the Grammy-winning songwriter before he took the stage for an acoustic set of old and new — songs he’s written over the years (We Are Young, Some Nights, Carry On), plus tracks off his debut solo album Grand Romantic, which dropped last week.

Despite the stifling heat, Ruess was pumped to be in South Florida. The Iowa-born, Arizona-raised entertainer liked the area so much after he visited over the holidays with his girlfriend, fashion designer Charlotte Ronson, last year that he’s now daydreaming about moving from NYC.

“I actually really love it here. It took some time getting used to, but I find myself looking at houses in Coconut Grove on Trulia.com all the time,” he says of the real-estate site. “I like relaxing and playing golf, and I’d like to catch a Heat game at some point.”

But for the time being, life is more about work than play. As for Ruess’ creative process: “I hear songs in my head, at random times, and if I have the chance, I’ll sing it into my phone and then work on it until it’s a complete song in my head. From there, I’ll take it to a producer or a bandmate to bring to life.”

The 33-year-old credits Van Morrison for giving him his musical mojo.

“He is a major influence for me,” Ruess says of the famed Irish musician. “I don’t know if it shows, but whenever I listen to him, I feel compelled to write.”

SEEING DOUBLE

Well, we’ve got quite a few celebrity twins in the South Florida area. After putting out feelers trying to find locals who resemble a bold-faced name, we got some interesting responses. Here’s a start:

Plantation resident Ilene Swickle writes: “I’m not sure that I agree, but I have been told hundreds of times that I resemble Tyne Daly. When Cagney and Lacey was on the air, I heard it on a weekly basis. Even while vacationing in St. Thomas, I heard it on the streets. Two schoolgirls were whispering. One said to the other, “That girl looks just like Cagney.” I turned to her and said, “You mean Lacey…!” I was laughing, of course, but they were very embarrassed. Clearly, they did not intend for me to overhear the comment.”

Send your photos to mmarr@MiamiHerald with the hashtag #mycelebtwin.

WORK OF ART

As a former local, Marcus Lemonis wanted to leave a lasting impression after he worked with Miami’s Grafton Furniture on his CNBC show, The Profit. And he did. At the end of his show last Tuesday night, viewers were treated to a huge mural Lemonis had painted on the outside of the company’s showroom located on 3401 NW 71st St., outside Hialeah. You can see larger-than-life renderings of three generations of Graftons — founder Esteban (originally from Cuba), current owner Steve and his son Stevie. It’s by local artist Andrew Reid.

The family is proud, as well as appreciative, of the experience.

“Working with Marcus was an incredible opportunity and a dream come true,” said Steve Grafton. “It was not easy being filmed because Lord knows I’m camera-shy. I kind of froze and was really nervous to put myself and my life’s work out in the public eye.”

He’s an old pro now, though, even joking: “Move over, Kardashians. The Graftons are next!”

MADELEINE MARR

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