Her name may not be one that rings a bell just yet but 21-year-old Canadian singer-songwriter Ruth B is on our radar as one to watch. Her rise to fame is ironically fairy tale-esque – given that her breakout song ‘Lost Boy’, which was inspired by Peter Pan, landed her a record deal with Columbia Records after uploading the song to Vine. The song came about after watching an episode of US fairy tale TV series Once Upon A Time. Fans of the hit show should keep an ear out as her latest single ‘ In Her Dreams’ will be featured in an upcoming episode. We caught up with her over the summer whilst she was in the UK, to talk about her newfound fame, Ed Shereen and Mount Everest…
WTYB: The success of Lost Boy has been immense. What’s been the most eye opening aspect of the whole experience so far?
Ruth B: The most eye-opening part has just been watching people receive my music so well and the reactions to a song that I wrote with really no intention of it ever being anything big. It’s been really cool and validating to see that.
WTYB: You were studying when it all kicked off. Prior to that did you have any aspirations to do music professionally or was it just a hobby?
RB: It was just a hobby yeah – I think at the back of my head I knew that it was something that I was meant to do, but I was just, ‘if it happens it happens’ kind of thing. I was as content doing it as a hobby.
WTYB: The music industry is obsessed with labelling things – if someone hadn’t heard your music – is there anyone you would say you’re similar to?
RB: (Pause) I would say – if I had to describe it I would say lyrical because a lot of my songs are solely based around the lyrics and that’s the most important part to me – making sure that the words have impact.
WTYB: There’s an ongoing debate about women in music and the hyper sexualised image they portray – do you ever feel a pressure to wear anything revealing or skimpy?
RB: No I don’t because I have a really good understanding of who I am as a person. I have my beliefs and what I like and so I wouldn’t let anything or any pressure get to me but to me; it’s there! But I’ve always been the same person and just because my life is changing doesn’t mean I have to change
WTYB: What’s your stance on it? Do you think it is an issue or do you think it gets blown out of proportion?
RB: I think it is an issue – it’s there. I’ve seen people try to tell people how to live and what to wear but I think it can be chopped out by the women being told what to do…
WTYB: You wrote ‘Lost Boy’ after watching an episode Once Upon a Time – what’s your favourite fairytale?
RB: My favourite fairytale? I mean I love Peter Pan. As cheesy as that is. I really do love the idea of never growing up….especially nowadays I feel that everyone wants to grow up [too fast] – kids are on Instagram and I’m like ‘why?!’ Just be young. I like Peter Pan.
WTYB: I watched a video of you out and about in London on your Vevo. If you could write a song about any landmark in the UK which would it be?
RB: Well I’m actually staying right by Kensington Gardens…and it’s funny because that’s where Peter Pan was written. So I think if I could write a song in a UK place I’d love to write it there.
WTYB: Your heritage is Ethiopian. Will this influence your music in terms of the collaborations or the style of music?
RB: Yes. I’ve been working on my album and the last song that I wrote for it I actually wrote in Ethiopia – I was there a month ago. I think that one is heavily influenced by the Ethiopian culture and you can kind of hear it in the production of it.
WTYB: One of the perks of being a successful musician is the access to high fashion – if you could have any designer dress you who would it be?
RB: Wow. I know that she’s not a designer – she’s a model – Tyra Banks I love her – I like her style and even as a person; she’s so inspirational and I would love to raid her closet.
WTYB: You’ve got to create a super group – you can have five members including yourself – who would be in the group?
RB: Myself, Lauryn Hill on vocals – she’s spit some bars, Stevie Wonder on piano, Paul McCartney so he can write and Oprah Winfrey because she’s so inspirational (laughs).
WTYB: You can have her on backing vocals o dancing (laughs).
RB: Right (laughs).
WTYB: Your performance style-wise is very intimate – just you and a piano. If you could perform for a small private audience who would be in the crowd?
RB: My mum would be there, for sure. Lauryn Hill; I’d love to perform for her…
WTYB: Have you met her yet?
RB: No. She’s my idol. I’d have all The Beatles because I love them so much and then Ed Sheeran.
WTYB: 24 hours left on the earth – what would be on your to-do list that day?
RB: Eat my favourite meal which is my mum’s fettucine and then I’d probably just spend it with my best friends and my family.
WTYB: Would you go anywhere special?
RB: The top of Everest – that would be cool (laughs)…
WTYB: On the top of Everest freezing (laughs)…
RB: (Laughs) Why not