Interview: Ruby Joy

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Ruby Joy is a singer and songwriter from Yorkshire. She is currently living in Leeds, studying music. I was lucky enough to interview Ruby about her music and career plans.

Hello! Thank you so much for letting me interview you. How are you?

Hi, I’m great thank you! Thank you for asking me to do the interview, I’m very excited.

Tell us a little bit about your background.

I’m a 16-year-old singer/songwriter from Yorkshire, and have been performing my own songs since I was 12. I’ve recently moved to Leeds to study music.

I adore your music. What inspired you to get into music?

Thank you! As a child, I was a big fan of Disney movies, my favourites were The Lion King and Mulan, in fact, they still are! I watched the music channel on TV from a young age. I used to really enjoy singing along, and found it very easy to remember lyrics and melodies.

This led me to enter the school talent show when I was in Year 6. I got through to the final which was against other primary schools. I didn’t win, but it was then I realised, I could sing. I attended a summer school as a reward for doing so well. From then, I went to a Saturday school where I picked up tips an advice from professional musicians.

What was the first tune(s) you learned?

The first song I ever learnt and performed properly was Beautiful by Christina Aguilera. And then when I learnt guitar, the first song I played and sung was Read All About It by Emeli Sandé.

What instruments can you play?

Acoustic guitar and vocals are my main instruments. I first started guitar when I was 12, but before that I started off with bass. I can still play a bit of bass now and again. And a bit of piano too!

Who inspires your work?

When I was younger, Beyoncé and Lily Allen were my biggest inspirations. I idolised them. But as I’ve grown older, Ed Sheeran has been a huge inspiration, I think he’s amazing. I admire his song writing skills, guitar playing and vocals. And the best bit is, I’ve got tickets to go and see him next year, AND I CANNOT WAIT!

How would you describe your style?

I would say my style is acoustic pop/folk. This is reflected in my original songs, which so far have all been slightly on the darker side! I think this must be a reflection of the anxieties that growing up brings...That and the fact that I’ve always been a bit different, and never quite fit in.

My tastes are now becoming more mixed. I’ve recently got got into country and western after watching the TV series Nashville. I went to see the stars perform live, and managed to high five Deacon Claybourne! Towards the end of the show, my mum got me right to the front and managed to get me one of the set lists and Deacon’s plectrum (I have the coolest mum!). 

What do you enjoy most about your music?

At the moment, I’m really enjoying HAIM. I love the fact they’re an all girl group who write their own material, and are starting to be recognised for their musical achievements. Hopefully they’re paving the way for more women in the music industry - like me! I’ve just bought tickets to go and see Sigrid and Lord Huron, who I listen to a lot. These are just a few of favourites, but I think I should stop before I get carried away!

Why has social media been an important platform for you to use?

Social media is an important platform for me and my music as I can promote myself to new people, and build by fan base. I have built up my Facebook page over the years using social media. I think it can be great! People have booked me for weddings, gigs, festivals. I have followers in the USA, Canada, Asia. These are opportunities that I don’t think I would have experienced yet without social media.

What's been key to achieving your goals?

I’m still on the way to achieving my long term goals, which includes being signed. But what has kept me going up to now is the amazing support I’ve received from those around me. As a family we’ve faced some challenging times, and moved away from the city where I grew up. This meant going to three different high schools, which was tough. However, songwriting has always been an escape for these hurdles, that at the time seemed to big to beat. But I’ve just had my amazing GCSE results which has taught me that hard work pays off. Looking back, I’m so pleased that I kept going, and didn’t give up. It’s empowered me to have resilience and self belief, which I know I’ll need plenty of in the future.

Were you influenced by old records or tapes?

Growing up, the only tapes around the house were my mum’s favourites from the 80’s, and Take That! I can’t say these greatly influenced me at the time, but I have to admit Gary Barlow is a talented songwriter. More recently I’ve started my own vinyl collection, and this year queued for 3 hours on Record Store Day to get the Bastille’s special edition single.

Do you have any career plans for your music?

At the minute I’m studying music at Leeds College of Music. I aim to keep performing and gaining more experience. I definitely plan to have a career in music, it’s my dream to be signed and make a living out of what makes me the happiest. But I know whatever I do will be centered around my music and my love of song writing.

What do we hope to see this up and coming year for your Facebook page and music?

At the moment I’m currently recording my first EP, so that should be released early next year. Moving on from that, I would really like to form a band and work collaboratively with other musicians. I feel this would give me the opportunity to experiment and develop my musical style.

Do you have any advice for anyone going into music?

Do it! If there’s any part of you that thinks music is something you would like to try, go for it. My advice is start off by finding what you enjoy. Then learn some songs, get down to Open Mics. They’re especially great for anyone just starting out. You can perform to others, get feedback and gain fans. You have to keep going, try new venues. Find your own unique style that suits you.

How do you balance your music with other obligations?

It was hard when I was doing my GCSEs, because they had to take priority during Year 11. But I couldn’t wait for them to be over so I could start work on being the musician I want to be. I’m studying music at Leeds College of Music, which allows me just to focus on what I love.

How do you handle mistakes during a performance?

Everyone makes mistakes, you just have to learn from them and carry on. If I make a mistake during a performance, I acknowledge it, smile, and keep going. You can’t stop, it’s part of the experience. But the more you do something, the less mistakes you make.

Do you get nervous before a performance or a competition?

I’m the opposite of some people, sometimes I get a bit nervous before a performance, but I’m mainly excited. When I’m on stage I relax into it and enjoy what I’m doing. The nerves seem to go away, because I’m doing something I love. I don’t do competitions anymore, because I didn’t enjoy the pressure they brought. I found I was too tense to perform well, which isn’t ideal!

Do you have any advice for anyone learning to play an instrument?

If you’ve just started learning an instrument, keep going. There are going to be things you find hard, but practicing is very important if you want to get better. Most importantly, you’ve got to love what you’re doing, and enjoy it! Just don’t give up.

What's the best piece of creative advice you've ever been given?

Be original, don’t be afraid to be different and and never try to sound like anyone else. But of course you have to be choosy about which advice you take. Particularly as lots of people advised me to go on X-Factor, which is great that they think I’m good enough, but it’s a no from me!

You can follow this lovely lady on her Instagram and Facebook page ‘Ruby Joy’. She is constantly updating her pages with music and inspiration. Photography by Louisa Hall. 

Rhiannon BrittenComment