Edmonton singer Ruth B on life after Vine: ‘I write full songs now, not just 6 seconds’
Striking viral gold on Vine was one thing, but Ruth B says she’s after more than just six seconds of fame.
The silky-voiced Edmonton singer was working part-time at her local Marshalls clothing store when she started building a fanbase singing pop tracks online. Within a few years, she had built up more than two million followers.
But it was a string of Vine clips inspired by the TV series “Once Upon a Time” that eventually formed her full-length song “Lost Boy,” which peaked at No. 24 in the U.S. and No. 14 in Canada on the Billboard Hot 100 earlier this year.
“I definitely want to be more than just a Viner,” said the 21-year-old songstress, born Ruth Berhe, who was signed by Columbia Records and toured with fellow Canadian pop performer Alessia Cara.
“I write full songs now, not just six seconds, but I’ll always have a lot of respect for Vine and what it’s done for me.”
Ruth B, who recently released her second major label single “In My Dreams,” spoke with The Canadian Press about growing up in Edmonton, working with Lorde’s producer, and what’s next.
CP: You’ve travelled the world over the past year, but you still seem a bit shy. Were you like that growing up in Edmonton?
Ruth B: Yeah, I was an introvert. I love to be on my own and I can handle that, but I also love hanging out with my friends. I was never the big party chick, but I was never the one always by myself at home.
CP: Shooting clips for Vine was a good outlet for you then. Why did you prioritize making short clips over longer videos for YouTube?
Ruth B: It was really fun and it didn’t take too much effort. YouTube would take a lot more time … but with Vine any time of day I could just do it. And then the connection that I was forming with people and watching people react. Every day there’d be more and more.
WATCH BELOW: Edmonton singer Ruth B’s single “Lost Boy” started as a viral sensation. Now the singer is being sought out by major music labels. Shallima Maharaj reports. (Filed in February 2016).
CP: What was it like when “Lost Boy” started to spread on Vine? Did your life change instantly?
Ruth B: I kind of became the Vine girl. I’d be walking at school and they’d be like, “Oh, she’s the Vine chick.” It was cool to finally have something that I felt was mine.
CP: Do you think Vine influenced your creativity?
Ruth B: It has played a big role because on Vine you only have six seconds to make content that’s going to capture someone. So now I try to infuse that into my songwriting and make sure every line … is filled with the best message and melody it possibly can have.
CP: You’re releasing your debut full-length album early next year. How did that come together?
Ruth B: I wrote it not knowing that I was writing an album. Over the past year I’d write songs and eventually I was told I had to make an album, so I kind of had (all of) these songs to pick from. It’s pretty similar to (my EP) in the sense that it’s all really honest, all written by me. But it’s different production-wise. It sounds a lot bigger and cooler.
CP: You worked with Joel Little, a New Zealand producer who helped Lorde craft the sound of her debut album, “Pure Heroine.” What was it like in the studio?
Ruth B: (Joel is) really good at taking a new artist and helping them establish their sound. This was the first time I was exposing my songs to someone else and saying, “I want you to be a part of this.” Usually I would just play my songs for friends and family. But now it was like, “Hey, take this and do something with it.” So I was scared, especially because I didn’t know the right terminology. I knew how I wanted the songs to sound, I just didn’t know how to convey that. Eventually it got easier. It’s become one of my favourite things to do, just hang out in the studio and making music.