Interview: RuthAnne

Irish singer-songwriter RuthAnne first made a name for herself writing hits such as ‘Too Little Too Late’ for Jojo, as well as hits by Britney Spears, One Direction, Niall Horan, Martin Garrix and Bebe Rexha, to name a few… Now, RuthAnne is focusing on her solo career, and we couldn’t be more excited about it! Her brand new single  “The Vow” was released last week and we can’t stop listening, so we caught up with the award-winning RuthAnne to discuss writing music, her favourite artists and what to expect for the rest of 2018… and Spoiler Alert… it’s a lot!

WTYB: How do you usually go about writing your music?

RuthAnne: Usually when I start I have a lot of titles written on my phone, I do lots of different ways but this has become my favourite way of doing it. So as I go through life if I’m having a conversation with someone during the day or the night before I write down titles and ideas all the time. If someone says something to me, I write it down. In the actual session when I first come in I usually start by having a conversation with the artist or the producers and something someone might say might be a great title – so I write it down! When we start going, I’ll have the producer perhaps going through chords – so we can say what type of vibe we want – so if the artist wants R’n’B, we’ll do R’n’B chords, if they want folk they’ll do folk chords. I’ll review all the conversations we’ve had then just pick a title, but sometimes I won’t always say to the artist what I’m thinking – I’ll just start singing stuff with words, and then I’ll say oh this is the title that I’m thinking.
With “In The Name of Love,” the Martin Garrix/Bebe Rexha song, I had written the song seven years before the “In The Name of Love” title! The day before the session I listened to the song and thought I don’t like the song but I love that title, so I put it in my phone, and then the next day when we started writing I said “we should write a song called ‘In The Name of Love’” and that’s how it started! So it kinda starts from the title and the story for me.

WTYB: When writing a song do you usually have an artist in mind for it?

RuthAnne: No. If I ever have plans it never usually ends up going to that artist anyway! So I try to just write the best song. I mean if the artist is in the room I know it’s going to be for them anyway.

WTYB: You’re now focusing on your solo career, is it different writing music for yourself?

RuthAnne: Oooh no. It’s the same process, but instead of me being the therapist in the room for the artist, I’m the therapist for for myself – so the conversation kind of shifts from me trying to pull from the artists’ stories to me kind of having to be really vulnerable and try to express my stories to the producers, so it kind of is a bit of a role change, but I’ve gotten used to doing that.

WTYB: What is one song you wish you had written?

RuthAnne: “Sorry” by Justin Bieber. And I’d just met Julia Michaels at the time and I was like “I wish I’d wrote ‘Sorry’!” I just love the song, and I think a great song was done in the way it was released with the follow up of it stripped back cos it sounded beautiful on guitar. And also, Coldplay – “Fix You”!

WTYB: If you could collaborate with one artist/ songwriter who would it be?

RuthAnne: Songwriter… I think Carole King. Artist… Bruno Mars or Stevie Wonder. Or Beyonce. Or Lauryn Hill!

WTYB: Having written so many incredible songs and working with so many artists, what piece are you most proud of?

RuthAnne: Probably “Too Little Too Late” by JoJo because it was my first one. I loved being involved in that because it’s so nostalgic for people. And I’m also really proud of “In The Name Of Love” – that song just had such global success and to hear it back in stadiums with everyone singing along.. I just love it, so I’m proud of that one.

WTYB: What inspired you to start writing music?

RuthAnne: The torture of being a teenager. And honestly, I feel like I came out of the womb writing songs.. it just was always in me to write. I think I love human relationships and I’m fascinated by the way we treat each other and the emotions that we all go through, and I think it’s just always been my way of therapy if I write about something. Sometimes I’ll be in a relationship with someone and I know it’s for a song, so even if it’s torture, I know there’s a good song in it. And then I get the song and I’m like “ok, we’re done now!” So yeah songs are just the way for me to express my emotions.

WTYB: And tell us a bit more about your new single “The Vow”

RuthAnne: “The Vow” is the last song I wrote for the album. It’s almost like a Celtic Hymn. I love soul and I love hip hop and I wanted to find a way to bring in my Irish roots into a song. I had a conversation with a best friend of mine I kind of had feelings for at the time. And I woke up at five in the morning and I wrote these songs down. The main lyric “you are my constant” came from just the consistency of having a man around in my life that wasn’t looking to just have sex with me. I thought about the journey of life that humans take together, and I just wanted a song that was a love song really – I didn’t have any. I was starting to find a lot of love in my life and it just seemed like the right time and the truth of what I was feeling. So I wrote a lot of the lyrics and then I brought it to my producers and then I really wanted to bring in the Celtic melodies in the verses whilst keeping it soulful. So then I called it “The Vow,” even though it’s not in the song anyway because when I was listening back to it I was like ‘You know what? This is something you’d say to someone on your wedding day or it’s like a prayer you would say to someone’. So I felt like “The Vow” was the perfect title.

WTYB: Who are some of your favourite artists at the moment?

RuthAnne: I really like Alessia Cara. I love Thirdstory – my boys! I think everyone needs to listen to their album called “Heart”, I wrote five of the songs, but they are amazing. I love SZA. I like Khalid. I like James Bay.

WTYB: You’ve written so many singles that have been number 1s and best sellers, how do you celebrate this kind of success?

RuthAnne: You keep working and writing the next song down! I try and definitely take a moment to go out for dinners to celebrate. But honestly, I take a moment where I’m listening to it on the radio or something, but I really am always thinking of the next thing. I think that I’m not as much about the charts and numbers, because when I’ve written the song, if I’m proud of it after I’ve written it it doesn’t really matter to me what it does. I just love the song and then with something like “In The Name of Love” for example, it doing well is just a bonus. I just try and keep working hard, and the celebration is just trying to do that again!

WTYB: What can we expect from you in 2018?

RuthAnne: My album is gonna come out which is exciting because it’ll be the first one I’ve ever released. I’ve obviously done features and I’ve done little looks but this is a big deal for me to take that transition from songwriter to artist, and it’s always been in me but it’s just that now is the right time. So you’ll be seeing a lot more of me singing live and releasing these heartbreak hopeful love stories!

Post Author: Lucy Young

Lucy Young
Music writer from London. Lover of all music genres, fashion, iced coffee and glitter. In between writing and watching gigs I'm probably Instagramming pictures of veggie burgers or looking up cocktail recipes.

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