Ruth-Anne: The songwriter stepping into her own spotlight
Ruth-Anne is one of those people that you don’t realize that you know until you actually realize that you know her. If you have heard the songs Too Little Too Late by JoJo, Work Bitch by the Britney Spears, In the Name of Love by Martin Garrix and Bebe Rexha and more recently a good chunk of songs by Niall Horan then you subconsciously know of Ruth-Anne.
As a songwriter who has been in the industry since she was 17 years old, she has written for some big names and has built up an impressive catalogue of songs she has written under her belt.
And now in a time where creativity and speaking your truth is what we are seeing more songwriters doing for the likes of Sevyn Streeter, Julia Michaels, Emily Warren, Bonnie McKee Ruth-Anne is joining the company of these incredible songwriters who also want to be able to step up to the mic and share their own stories.
Over a conversation which took an hour, Ruth-Anne shares her experiences as a songwriter, talking about when it all began for her, her earliest experience of music and what has gone to become a successful song writing career for her. As well as, her experience of transitioning into a new artist having just released 2 singles with more to come and everything that we can get excited for.
She has since gone on to write for some well-known artists including the likes of Niall Horan, Britney Spears and Martin Garrix to name a few. As a young girl she had no idea that either of her biggest songs ‘Too Little Too Late’ would go on to become the anthem it was (and is still is to be honest.) “Too Little Too Late is about love that went wrong, and it actually wasn’t my story it was my co-writer Josh’s story that we were writing about he has a girl that had broken up with him and then had tried to get back with him. I was thinking of it because I had gotten cheated on, so that was my way of relating to his story. For that to become this anthem was really cool to have a part of peoples teenage years.
The journey as a writer which has spanned over a decade and is still one that continues for Ruth-Anne is one that is bound to teach you a fair share of life lessons and for her, one of the biggest lessons that she has learnt is all about trusting the process.
“I put a lot of pressure on myself because I had a hit so young with JoJo. I definitely put a lot of pressure on myself to keep repeating that, and I think what I learnt is not let the business side get to you too much. Don’t let the charts and positions and all that stuff get to you. Think about the music, think about what you like and what you’d want to listen to and make the best art that you can. Also, to just trust the process because everybody’s journey is different so sometimes you can compare yourself to other people but really, it’s like everybody’s journey is different is different, I’ve definitely learnt to relax and trust the process because otherwise what’s meant for you for you are going to pass you by.”
Kicking things off we had to get a feel for Ruth-Anne and go back to where it all started, and for her, it was in her childhood as a young girl in Ireland. Having been fully inspired and surrounded by music in her household. “My parents are really musical, they both played the guitar and they sang in church and so I was always around music the minute I was born. I always remember it being a very musical household."
Her journey in music started around the age of 7 when she wrote her first song ‘He Lied To Me’. Which I’m sure you would ask yourself a lot of questions about and rightly so at the age of 7. “I wrote my first song when I was 7 and it was called He Lied To Me. it was just 3 sentences that I sang over and over again and got louder. I had a tape recorder that my parents had given me, and when I played it back to them it was like 3 minutes of the same lines. They were so cute because they listened to the whole thing and after that, my mum said “it’s great but who lied to you” I wrote it about some show I watched, I used to get my inspiration from shows like Coronation Street, EastEnders and Melrose Place. I had two older sisters who would sneak me into their bedrooms to watch Melrose Place and Beverly Hill 90210. I literally watched the Tina Turner Movie way too young and wrote a song about domestic abuse and my parents were like who is this about? So yeah before I had my own stories I had other people’s stories and then as I got older then all my own drama gave me inspiration for music."
It was a mixture of drama-filled American TV, English soap operas and a love and obsessing over music which led her to want to be a songwriter. At the age of 13, she was in a girl band performing the songs that she had written and just having a good time. Luck would have it when her dad entered one of her songs that she had written for the group into a song writing competition which she took home the prize for. That led to a manager who just so happened to manage a little Irish band called ‘The Script’ at the time to fly her out to LA for the first where her career took off. After 3 days of being in LA in one of her first co-writing session she and her writing partner Josh penned JoJo’s Too Little Too Late and the rest you could say is history.
As we enter this new phase of her journey where she is not just Ruth-Anne the songwriter but now also Ruth-Anne the artist that is a transition that most people without having any sort prior industry experience would-be be nervous to make. The same, however does apply for Ruth-Anne and in terms of knowing when she knew that she wanted to take the mic for herself and become an artist in her own right that moment like most life-changing moments happened completely by accident.
“I’d always kind of been dipping in and out of being an artist throughout my song writing years but honestly it came by accident. I’ve always loved singing and I’ve always loved writing, but it was trying to fuse the two and find my own lane was the challenge. I went through a lot living in LA as an Irish girl. I got fucked over by a lot of fuck boys and I had a lot talk about, and I was finding it difficult to write about it in LA. I left LA and came back to London and Ireland where I'm from, and I reconnected with myself and all this music just started coming. So, with it being unplanned, I came back with a bunch of material that’s ended it up being most of my album and I played it to my publisher and she said to me ‘you know you’ve just made the bones of your album’. It really felt authentically me, it didn’t feel like I was trying to sound like any other artist it was just the honest truth of what I had been through and honestly was just like my diary. I also felt like there was a voice missing in the female side of the music industry. I grew up in a time of Lauryn Hill, Amy Winehouse Alanis Morrissette and I missed that type of honest and raw storytelling, so I felt like I could bring that back and be an Irish female who is representing Ireland also."
With all this, we bring on phase two of Ruth-Anne the artist and introduce everybody to this other side of her. That included the release of her debut single The Vow which came out in April of this year and has a good amount of attention has been received positive feedbacks amongst the fans and people that have heard the song. Talking as to why she chooses this particular track at the FIRST track Ruth-Anne spoke about wanting to “bring back big vocals. Keeping it about the vocal the voices and the lyrics”
“The Vow was actually the last song I wrote for the album. I had written a lot about heartbreak in my life and then I had written about a lot of hope for love. Then, I looked around one day and I really want to write a love song, a really true one for my album but I wasn’t with anyone at the time. I had a male best friend who was a consistent person in my life, who would also be there and would call me and talk to me all the way across the world and we would have these conversations about what our lives would be like when we are older, and talk about how we’d sing together when we are 80 in pubs, and I was thinking about my parents being married for 43 years. And I woke up just thinking about unconditional love at 5 am, so I wrote most of the lyrics of The Vow down and the next day I went to my producer and I showed them my cheesy lyrics and they thought they were really beautiful and were something you would hear at a wedding and so we named it The Vow. It kind of became this prayer for somebody, but it could really be for anybody for your child your parents. It’s that unconditional love that you have for anyone. I was also trying to incorporate more of my Irish roots and I felt like I was able to bring in a bit of the Celtic soul vibes in there which I was really happy about.”
Following this up was her second single Take My Place which was released a week before this interview took place in early May. This track different from The Vow told a completely opposite story from the Vow but still has a similarity in which you can relate to the song and its meaning.
“The Vow was the last song written for the album and Take My Place was the first song I wrote for the album, which was over a year and a half ago. I was in a really bad place and my ex at the time, I found out through deep stalking on Instagram that he had been banging a playmate. I saw this picture of the two of them online and I just lost it. I wrote this song about all those questions in that circle moment that you’re having the meltdown, comparing myself to the girl and wondering why he was with her and not me, and then all the assumptions that I had made from a picture. I didn’t know anything about them other than the picture I saw of them smiling and I thought they were in love. It was really that moment of feeling replaced and feeling like shit I’ve lost my place in his life and he’s replaced me with a playboy bunny, so I wrote the song and I feel like a lot of people could relate to that feeling of being replaced.”
With the release of these tracks and this being the start of what is the next phase of Ruth-Anne as an artist, I had to ask what was a hard question to answer which was what had been a highlight of her journey so far? As a songwriter considering she has had so many with her song writing success including multiple song writing awards including BMIs and all that jazz, a standout moment for her included performing with fellow Irishman Niall Horan at his sold-out Dublin Performance on his tour earlier this year where she was able to share a performance of the song Seeing Blind with him the song that they had written together for his debut album.
“As a songwriter, it was performing the Niall Horan duet that I wrote with him in my hometown in the arena in front of like 20,000 fans with them all singing it back to me. The fact that it was in Dublin in that arena that I'd always wanted to play, and we are both Irish and played in Dublin where we are both from was really special to me"
And a second standout moment was the release of her first single, completely understandably so. "All the build-up to just being an artist and the nerves and then have my first single received so well and get such a great reaction. It was another great moment”
As somebody who has successfully had a career as a songwriter and is now transitioning to be an artist, I wanted to find out more about the creative process in terms of finding out what makes her such a great storyteller and inspires her creativity. The answer is really simple LIVING
You have to live to write.
“If I’m ever in the studio for too long I’m like I’m running out of things to say I need a weekend and just time away to live for a bit. I used to feel guilty when I’d take a day off but then songs would come out because I’d write stuff down from a conversation I had or like walking in a park or experience something. Experiences are the most inspiring things.”
You can follow RuthAnne on Instagram and all other social media channels @thisisruthanne. The Vow and Take My Place are out now and you can stream them on Spotify. Her next single is out on June 22nd. You can also catch her opening for Alanis Morisette and get your tickets here.
Words: Seneo Mwamba
Images: Edge Publicity, RuthAnne Instagram