It was a Sunday, she sang at the side of the road nearby Mauerpark in Berlin, we noticed her immediately as she seemed so vivid and open-minded. – Just as her music.
We asked her spontaneously if she would be interested in a photo-shoot. She was happy and agreed. And we are happy too that we could met Ruby Jean Rose.
Ruby Jean is a singer and songwriter and has recently released her latest album which is called “Shiver”. Ruby is a very friendly person, she is talkative and we had fun working together.
We met you at Mauerpark Berlin a few weeks ago and asked you spontaneously if you are interested in a photo-shoot and we were happy that you showed interest, however we don’t know much about you yet and it would be interesting to know how you found your way – we mean how has your interest in making music developed?
I started playing cello when I was 8 years old and performing with my school orchestra back in LA. Even though I started playing guitar and writing little bits when I was about 11, it was when I moved to the UK at the age of 12 where I really started song writing and performing live. I instantly became obsessed with the idea of becoming a musician and would play anywhere I could. After I left school I started doing live sound for local concerts, travelled around South East Asia performing and even started running my own events. Through all that I realised my place was on the stage making the noise. I wrote a song called “I Don’t Give A $h*t About Money” when I was 21 and signed a publishing deal with my step-dad (Not Them Again Music). I’ve spent the last 3 years in the studio developing my sound and style and have now taken it to the streets and local venues of Berlin.
You were born in Los Angeles, then you moved to Lewes in England at the age of 12 and now you are living in Berlin. Why have you decided to move to Berlin? Was it a more spontaneous decision or did you always dream about moving to this city?
Kind of both, haha! My father is a film director and I came to visit him while he was shooting a film down in Munich 4 years ago. I stopped in Berlin along the way and instantly fell in love with the city. I moved here about a year later after rent in Brighton got too much for my poor wallet to bear.
What do you like the most about Berlin and what are your favourite places and ‘hoods here?
I love the vibe of this city! But most of all I love the live music scene. It’s smaller than in England but everyone supports each other and you feel so free to experiment. I feel Germans definitely have more of an open mind to new sounds and alternative music than most places. And you actually get paid! I love hanging out in Friedrichschain, Neukolln and anywhere there’s a concert going on.
How would you describe the style of your music and do you have any idols/ artists that have influenced you?
Ah, now this question is hard. As I said earlier I’ve spent the last 3 years finding my sound so I’ve covered a lot of different genres. I’m now leaning more towards blues/country/rock vibe, sort of going back to my roots as it were. But I’ve had 2 descriptions I really liked which are girl music and rebel folk, haha! I have a lot of different influences and they change constantly, but I’ve always loved artists like Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash etc. Janis Joplin and PJ Harvey are also huge idols of mine. As I got a little older I started getting into hip-hop and electronica so I guess some of that has crept its way into my style. I would say I’ve gone back to that more “old school’’ sound but I’d love to combine the two.
On Saturday, October 8th, you have released your album ‘Shiver’. Could you please tell us more about it?
Shiver is the journey that I’ve taken over the last 3 years to figure out my sound and become who I am today. Some of the tracks on there I recorded when I was 21 and then others are from like the other month, haha! It’s really special to me cause it’s shown how much I’ve grown over the years and tells the story of how a musician can reach their sound. I don’t think you get to hear that very often. I also recorded the whole thing with my friends Simon Rompani and Keith Clarke back in Brighton so the entire record was made across two countries! You can find it on Amazon and Spotify.
The songs you are writing have a more political meaning. What inspires you while writing a song and what are the main subjects you want to approach?
I have always had a deep interest in politics. Growing up in post-9/11 America and watching a country go mad while starting two wars, killing millions of innocent people, will give you a distaste for government. I studied politics A Level in the UK and had always tried to be as politically active as I could. In 2013 I found myself getting caught up in the Gezi Park riots of Istanbul. Although they were unsuccessful and Turkey is going through a lot right now, being there totally blew my mind. Seeing that many people stand together peacefully gave me a real taste for how strong the power of the people can be. I’m an anarchist so I guess the main point I’d like to hit is moving away from government all together. I do write songs about specific things sometimes, but my general theme is usually pointing out how deeply entrenched in capitalism we are to the point where we feel quite lost, myself included. I also like to touch on emotional problems like overcoming depression and personal struggles. I basically just want to start talking about the things we don’t want to talk about.
You often play on streets in Berlin. What feeling is it to perform live while people go by, then stand still, impressed by your voice and sound, and listen to your songs?
Yes, being able to draw a crowd on the street is an amazing feeling. When you play a concert it’s organised and people are expecting you. On the street it’s spontaneous and when you find out you can make people stop what they were doing to just stand and listen it’s wonderful. You get a really honest idea of what actually works. In a way it feels like you have more of a connection with people cause you’re standing right in front of them. Don’t get me wrong I love being on stage and busking can be difficult sometimes, but there’s definitely something special about playing on the street.
Where do you wish to perform in the future?
Everywhere all over the world, haha! My favourite part of music is performing live so I’d love to play on bigger stages. I’ve always loved festivals; headlining a big one like Glastonbury would be a total dream come true. As for the immediate future, I’m actually travelling to LA to carry on street performing and will hopefully get some concerts out there too! I also played in Liverpool last year supporting a great band called Dodgy and had so much fun that I really want to perform there again as well.
How does a usual weekday in your daily life look like?
I wake up in the morning go and perform for about two hours then I come home, maybe do some song writing or ‘admin’ then usually try and go out at night to perform again if I don’t already have a concert or open mic to go to.
Can you please name the places where you are performing regularly so the readers can get to know where they can listen to your songs?
Sure, come say hi! I’m usually at East Side Gallery in the morning from 11 – 13:00 then at night I move around. I go to Schlesisches Tor, Warschauer Str. and Alexanderplatz so it varies by the day…or night, haha. And of course where we met, Mauerpark, on Sundays whenever I can.