With over 1.5bn combined streams, countless awards and a string of hit records with names like Britney Spears, Niall Horan and Martin Garrix, RuthAnne was already responsible for some of the best pop bangers of the decade before releasing a single track of her own.
But after working behind the scenes as a songwriter for some of the biggest names in pop music, the Dublin-born songsmith has at last decided to keep a few tunes back for herself and strike out as an artist in her own right.
Planting her stake firmly in the ground with debut releases The Vow and Take My Place in early 2018, RuthAnne made a bold statement of intent with two gorgeously soulful pop tunes that caught the eye of some big names, including Billboard, Clash and Wonderland Magazine.
August saw the release of latest single Liquid, with production credits given to by MJ&iRoK (Snoop Dog, Ice Cube) and Cadenza (Jorja Smith, M.I.A, Rag n Bone Man), Liquid exhibits the sheer extent of the talent on offer from RuthAnne, exploring some more retro elements of R&B with brooding guitar hooks, relentless percussion and a particularly exceptional vocal performance, drenched in layers of harmonies.
In May 2018 she received two BMI awards for her work with afore mentioned One Direction heart-throb Niall Horan and EDM legend Martin Garrix, before heading out on the road with the almighty Alanis Morrissette on her tour of the UK and Ireland.
We managed to catch up with her upon her return to talk about making the move from songwriter to artist, what her aspirations are for the new track and what she has coming up next…
When did you first start writing?
I started writing when I was 7 years old, I would use a mic and record onto a two-track tape recorder and just sing melodies and lyrics. My first song was called ‘he lied to me’ and I wrote it about some storyline I saw in EastEnders!
What gave you that original motivation to begin a career in music?
I just always remember being obsessed with music, I was always singing and dancing, I would study singers like Mariah and Whitney and Celine and I just always knew it was what I wanted to do.
Which artists have you most enjoyed working with in the past?
I love working with Niall and John legend – they’ve probably been my favourites.
How difficult is it to make the move from songwriter to solo artist?
It’s harder than people think. The industry sees it as if you are competing against the hits you’ve already written for other people and when you have a song with a famous artist like Martin Garrix that has 700m streams, what I do as a new artist couldn’t ever beat that when I’m starting out, eventually, hopefully yes, but being an artist these days is really a building process and it takes time.
Sometimes the expectation of a songwriter being an artist is that it’s not possible, but I’m not doing this for fame or money – I’m doing it because I love to sing. I wrote an album so authentically and organically, and I want to be a new Irish female voice out there releasing my artistry and connecting with people.
Do you feel more of an attachment to the songs you’ve written for yourself?
I have a special attachment to every song I write for different reasons, the songs on my album are definitely a bit more personal, but they all hold special meanings to me
Does your approach to writing a song change at all, depending on whether you’re writing something for yourself or someone else?
Yes, just slightly though. If I’m writing for someone else I’m there to help get there vision out, help tell their story, so I become more like a therapist asking them about their life and guiding the song that way.
For myself I have to be my own therapist and steer the ship and lead the session, but both ways are just as enjoyable.
What’s your main source of inspiration?
Living, conversations, friend’s dramas, my own dramas and human nature. quotes, poems and the complexities of love.
Who do you think are some of the best songwriters in the industry right now?
Oh, there’s so many good ones, including some of my friends and co-writers. Ali Tamposi, John Ryan, Julian Bunetta, Ed Drewett, Ilsey Juber, Sam Fischer, Ollie Marland, Futurecut, Sonny Mason, Sarah Aaron’s, Emily Warren, Kamille. Too many to name such talent out there.
Can you tell us a little bit about your latest song, Liquid?
It’s really my response to haters, trolls and people who just aren’t negative and trying to portray these perfect lives and tear everyone else down.
It’s about me understanding that all this social media stuff isn’t real, and to not let anything get to me and to live my life, remembering that words are powerful, and everyone should be a lot more responsible with what they say, one thing you say to someone can change their life, for good or bad.
Talk us through the recording process for the track!
Honestly the song almost didn’t happen! I was having a really bad anxiety-filled day, a lot was going on, and when I was listening through beats and chords nothing was inspiring me – my head was just too distracted.
So I told the producers (Mark Jackson, Ian Scott) how I was feeling and I said I’d just go to the bathroom take a breath and then see how I feel, I wanted to leave because I didn’t want to waste anyone’s time, but as I came back in one of the guys was playing the guitar riff that would become Liquid.
I said ‘wait, what’s that’ he said, ‘I’m just messing around’ so I said ‘keep doing that’. I immediately ran to my phone and scrolled to a lyric I had called Liquid a few months before.
I knew what he was playing would fit with it and I immediately sang a melody with lyrics to his guitar and 30 minutes later we had Liquid. The vocals I kept from the original sessions on that first day and then to finish the production I went in with Cadenza and added some more elements, and that was it.
What are your aspirations for the song?
I hope it reminds people to be more careful with their words and to just be nicer and more positive. Also, I hope it helps anyone who is being bullied, or trolled, or hated on, to not let it affect their day or bring them down.
What does the rest of 2018 have in store for you?
Performing, writing, finishing my album, releasing more singles, I have a show on September 12th for Gold Dust at Hoxton Bar in London. I’m also supporting Alanis Morrissette again in the USA end of September and have more shows to be announced.