RuthAnne has a rare quality that stands her out – even in a world that is over-saturated with musical talent. Growing up singing in church choirs in Ireland and listening to the classic soul of Whitney Houston, Alicia Keys and Lauryn Hill, she draws on the greats – but is never anything other than herself. Her single “Liquid” is an empowering, Nineties-influenced R&B banger that showcases RuthAnne’s ear for a great melody – not to mention her impressive vocal range. “Take My Place”, meanwhile, is pure soul: RuthAnne recalls Aretha Franklin or Ariana Grande as she sings, wistfully, of a former flame and his potential new lover; new single “Love Again” is a soaring, gospel-infused ballad backed by an ...
RuthAnne has a rare quality that stands her out – even in a world that is over-saturated with musical talent. Growing up singing in church choirs in Ireland and listening to the classic soul of Whitney Houston, Alicia Keys and Lauryn Hill, she draws on the greats – but is never anything other than herself. Her single “Liquid” is an empowering, Nineties-influenced R&B banger that showcases RuthAnne’s ear for a great melody – not to mention her impressive vocal range. “Take My Place”, meanwhile, is pure soul: RuthAnne recalls Aretha Franklin or Ariana Grande as she sings, wistfully, of a former flame and his potential new lover; new single “Love Again” is a soaring, gospel-infused ballad backed by an uplifting brass section.
Her forthcoming debut album takes you through RuthAnne’s story, chapter by chapter, with production by Fraser T Smith [Adele, Tom Grennan, Stormzy], Malay [Lorde, Frank Ocean, ZAYN], Future Cut [Little Mix, Shakira] and Sonny J Mason [Kimbra, The Wanted]. It melds the classic, authentic songwriting that she was raised on with the pop sensibilities of the artists she’s worked with, to her favourite Nineties R&B artists. “The main thing connecting all of this is lyrical honesty,” she states. “I don’t want to make the same song 12 times. I want songs you can move to but songs you can cry to, as well.”
RuthAnne is a force of nature. You’d have to be, to have got where she is today: boasting a string of writing credits for some of the biggest names in pop – from One Direction to Britney Spears. For years, this is how this multi-talented artist earned a living. Yet it is establishing herself as an artist in her own right that has always been the dream.
Unlike many young prodigies who break into the industry, RuthAnne wasn’t privy to piano or singing lessons. Raised by musical parents who sang in church and to terminally ill patients at local hospices, she learned by observing the TV performances of her heroes, and by forming a girlband who could sing the tracks she had begun writing since the age of seven.
By the time she was 17, RuthAnne had caught industry attention by winning a local songwriting competition, and found her own manager. He brought her to Los Angeles, where she played some of her early work for the legendary Billy Steinberg,whose songwriting credits include Madonna (“Like a Virgin”), Whitney Houston (“So Alone”), and Cyndi Lauper (“True Colors”). Together with Steinberg and Josh Alexander, RuthAnne wrote “Too Little Too Late”, which went onto become JoJo’s massive hit single in 2006.
“Thinking back on that time, there was a lot of pressure on me to recreate that success straight away,” RuthAnne recalls. “I’d been very sheltered as a young girl, so I wasn’t ready to be alone in LA with these industry people. I was very lonely, and I didn’t have any autonomy of my own, which I wasn’t used to. In Dublin, my parents let me go out with my friends, and in LA it was like being a child all over again.”
Despite these frustrations, RuthAnne says she learned “so much” during her time working with other singer-songwriters in LA. She has written for some of the biggest pop stars on the planet and helped them to rack up billions of streams with songs like “Work Bitch” (Spears), and “Slow Hands” (Niall Horan) and “In the Name of Love” (Martin Garrix ft Bebe Rexha) which have amassed two billion streams between them.
“I lost myself a bit as an artist, because when you’re going in writing for other people, you’re there for the artist’s needs,” RuthAnne admits. “But I still I call those years the ‘university years’ because I learned so much, I put in so many thousands of hours. And then I came to London and I started writing for Pixie Lott, and helping to develop other younger artists in the UK.”
But it didn’t take long before she began feeling restless. She got a visa, packed her backs and moved back to LA, where she was “very generous” with the money she’d been making as a songwriter. “I wasn’t very well managed back then,” she says. “Kind of neglected… I ended up singing with wedding bands for money.”
Yet this turned out to be just what RuthAnne needed to remind herself about exactly why she fell in love with songwriting. “I was getting to sing all these songs that have lasted for decades that people still adore, and it made me more determined to write those songs myself,” she says.
Once she was back living between London and Dublin, the songs “came pouring out”, after months and years of pent-up frustration over the twists and turns her career had taken, and everything she had been through to that point. “I was sick of fuckbois in LA, I’d gone through a lot of heartbreak dealing with the dating scene over there, celebrities, everything like that,” she says. “There’s a certain attitude towards Irish people, like you’re duty-bound to entertain people, and being in social situations there was like drawing blood from a stone. Back in Dublin, I felt like I got part of myself back, and I could let the music speak for itself.”
Authenticity is the most important thing for RuthAnne. “Working on my own album, seeing the reactions when I was myself and didn’t try to conform what was popular, was such a wonderful thing to happen. It’s never been about chart positions for me, it’s about being the everyday girl who struggles with matters of the heart. Throughout the whole process of this album, all I’ve wanted to do is what best represents me as an artist, as a songwriter and as a person.”