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A Girl Called Ruth

ArtForm: CityShowcase Act/Composer

A Girl Called Ruth from Conwy, Wales is the singer-songwriter next door, refreshingly uncontrived and emotionally honest, she is the antithesis to the world of manufactured pop. With Ellie Goulding's acoustic pop sheen and the lyrical nous of Lily Allen she has been writing and playing her way from her bedroom to sharing stages with N*E*R*D and Scouting For Girls.

Her love affair with writing diary-like songs began as a playground pastime, influenced by listening to artists as diverse as Avril Lavigne and Ryan Adams, soon turned into something more serious, and eventually to her first live performance, aged just 14.

"It was at a school concert one evening," she says now. "I was so shy I'd never been able to sing in front of anyone before, not even my family. Tell a lie, I had sung for them, but they were in the living room and I was on the other side of the door. I was so scared of performing in front of anyone."

As it happens, that live debut couldn't have gone any better, and while Ruth took the audience's silence for disapproval and ran from the stage in tears, the gathered crowd had actually been knocked speechless by what they'd seen and heard.

This was back in Conwy. Despite being born in a rural New Zealand town, it's the place Ruth called home until making the leap to London two years ago. After leaving school, all the while writing songs and honing her craft, she landed a string of ill-suited jobs, not realising a career in music was well within her grasp

"I was frantically looking for something to do, or a way out of what I was doing. I felt like I was going nowhere. I looked around at my friends and they were all going off to university or seemed to have direction. I had no idea what I wanted to do, apart from writing songs."

What was initially a curse has shown itself to be a blessing, those dormant days in North Wales providing the material for a raft of confessional songs such as ‘Stuck On You’ and ‘You I See’. Informed by falling in love too fast and the inevitable break-up, frustration, longing and dreams for the future, these future anthems are both personal to Ruth, yet universal in appeal, destined to be taken to heart by anyone in the same situation.

"Songs can become cringe-worthy if they're too personal," she explains. "Subtlety is definitely a good thing, but it's about finding the perfect amount. I never used to be able to say what I was thinking about anything, so I would write it down. I write when I'm most vulnerable or most upset but then feel immediately better about the world afterward. There's something really uplifting and positive about that."

"I feel more comfortable than ever being myself. I spent years worrying I should be this or that, or thinking I should try to be someone else, but I was over-thinking. As I've written more and more, and started to love performing, I've come to realise being yourself is most important. What's the point of writing candid songs like diary entries if you're going to pretend to be different?

"I did my first radio session a couple of months ago and a friend sent me a text afterward saying I just sounded like me. That's the biggest compliment she could've paid me. It's why I'm simply A Girl Called Ruth – it's exactly who I am."

As provided for Soho Flea Market 2013

Featuring In:

Soho Flea Market 2013
Sunday 02.06.2013
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