Only twenty years old and already a rising star, Edmonton native Ruth B wowed the Internet with one line about Peter Pan on Vine which ended up becoming her hit single, “Lost Boy.” Now, signed with Columbia records and just released her first EP, The Intro, the tracks on which she wrote herself.
We got a chance to talk to the rising star about her burst into stardom, some of her musical idols and her plans for the future.
ANDPOP: Congrats on the well-earned success (Ruth’s EP was dropped this past Friday)! How do you feel? Are you overwhelmed, beyond belief happy, a little bit of both?
RUTH B: I think just a little bit of both. There [are] some days when I’m super overwhelmed, but for the most part I’m,just like so excited that I’m kinda able to make music and do that all the time now. It’s a really exciting time.
The hit TV show Once Upon A Time inspired you to make your first Vine, so tell us a little about about how that came about.
So, I guess at the time that that happened I had already built a little bit of a following, but I was watching the show and it was all about Peter Pan so I went down to my keyboard, like I usually do, and I randomly sang the line “I’m a lost boy from Neverland/used to hang out with Peter Pan” — and didn’t think much of it. Then, once I posted it, it got like a crazy reaction. I think it was like 84,000 likes in the first week, which was super unusual at the time for me. And originally the comments were, “Hey you should turn this into a full song, we really like it,” so I kinda did just that. I sat down and I wrote a song.
I think the most important thing about that is that when I made the original Vine it was just about a TV show; it was just a couple words with a catchy melody, but when I sat down to write the song I really wanted to make a point, to give the song a message and like, you know, make it important and give something that people … that they could understand and relate with. I didn’t want it just to be about Peter Pan, so I tried to just make it about, you know, everyone gets lonely sometimes, everyone needs a friend and that feeling anyone can understand. And I think that’s why people connected with the song the way that they did.
And that turned into your first full-length single, “Lost Boy”?
There must have been more that inspired the single than just comments on your vine, correct?
I think for the most part it was really just because every Tweet that I got, every Instagram comment, every email was about “Lost Boy,” like nothing else. People were just so stuck on that one Vine. What ended up happening, like, for a week I would post like the next line to the song—which was before it was ever really a song—but I would just … like a day after I posted that Vine it was “And when we’re bored we play in the woods/always on the run from Captain Hook” and eventually I kinda wrote the hook on Vine. So, once I had the chorus, I though it won’t be that hard to write the song. So, that really is what inspired it.
So, have you always been a musician at heart?
I’ve always been singing. I’ve always been completely obsessed with music and the ability to use your voice and make melodies and stuff. Yeah, singing has always been a part of [me]. I don’t remember a time—honestly—when it wasn’t. Writing—I was always really into writing poetry and short stories, but I had never really taken the time to sit down and write a song. But once the whole “Lost Boy” thing came about it just made sense to finally take the time and actually write a legit song — but music has always been my number one passion.
And so, do you have a process or a method that you use or do you just let inspiration take you where it will?
Yeah, inspiration really. I don’t really ever sit down to write a song, it’s kinda always going on in my head. You know, either I’ll see something or hear something or go through something and it’s almost therapeutic now to write about it and turn it into a song.
Awesome. What was your first thought when you were signed with Columbia?
I was so excited. It was like … it was unbelievable. It was just the craziest time, that whole … January, once I put out the video on YouTube, it was left and right a bunch of labels emailing me and trying to get in contact. So, once I finally settled down and said Columbia’s the one it was like thoe best feeling ever. I just felt super fulfilled — almost.
When I made the original Vine it was just about a TV show; it was just a couple words with a catchy melody, but when I sat down to write the song I really wanted to make a point .
And what made you choose Columbia?
I think Columbia was the most understanding of me as an artist and just as a person and they were really like, “You can do what you wanna do and make the music you wanna make. We’re here to support you.” And I think that was like the number one thing that I was looking for the whole time and they got that right away. It was awesome.
Cool! So, who are some of your musical idols, living or dead?
I love Lauryn Hill, she’s one of my favourite artists. And then I really like The Beatles, Ed Sheeran right now, Taylor Swift, Carole King. Just a bunch of storytellers I think, which is something that I try to do now — try to tell stories with my music.
Is that why, because they’re storytellers? Or is there more to it than just that?
I think that’s something that I’ve always liked to do, storytelling. But I think the music that I listen to is also a lot like that so it does help me … I learn from the songs that I listen to, of course. So, it definitely plays a part.
And who are some musicians you’d love to collaborate with, either performing, writing or both?
I think maybe Ed Sheeran, right now, for the artist. I think for the writing part, right now writing for me is a very intimate process and it’s something I think I do best when I’m on my own, so for now I think I just want to keep it that way. But definitely in the future I think it’d be super cool to collaborate with someone like Ed Sheeran because I respect his writing so much and obviously he’s incredibly gifted, so I think that would be good.
All right, now describe your music style in five words or less.
Honest, relatable, real … I mean, it’s just the three: honest, relatable, real.
So, you just began performing your music in front of live audiences recently. What’s that like for you?
I was actually super nervous in the beginning because I don’t do that kind of thing often, And for the past two years my audience has really been my phone screen. But of course, there’s one million people who can see me on the other side, but I became super comfortable with just me and my phone and keyboard. So, that was kinda really hard to break out of, but once I did the first four little shows it actually was … it’s now become one of my favourite parts because it’s such a different feeling to perform your own songs in front of people and watch them kind of understand your lyrics and connect with the songs; it’s the best feeling ever. So, it was hard at first — but I’m definitely getting there.
Have you any words of wisdom for aspiring musicians?
I think just go and follow your heart and make music that you wanna make and are proud of and don’t … there’s a lot of people and things that are going to come along and try to change you, but make sure that you stay true to you and I think you should be okay.
What can we expect from you in the near future?
I [had] my EP [The Intro] [come out on November 27], which is super exciting. That’s four songs that I wrote. And then, for the future, I’m doing a bunch of live shows and potentially an album in 2016.
Awesome. Well, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us today and best of luck!
Thank you and you’re welcome!
Disclaimer: This interview was edited and condensed for clarity and length