Why I won’t be like Tiwa Savage, others – Afro soul singer, Ruby

Ruby recently released her latest single, Goodman.

Ruby Gyang is an Afro soul singer who started out in the industry four years ago. Now based in Lagos, Ruby grew up in Jos, Plateau State, where she honed her singing talent by joining the choir.

She has collaborated with Jesse Jagz and MI and is currently signed on to MI’s Loopy Music. Known for her ethereal voice and her hit single, Down, which was accompanied by an amusing video, Ruby released her latest single, Goodman, about two weeks ago.

She is currently working on her debut album and plans to release her EP, This Is Love, later this year.

PT: Your singles, Goodman and Down, both celebrate men; are about a woman appreciating and doing her best for her man. These seem to go against the norm in today’s pop songs written for and by women. Those songs are either lamenting the cruelty of a male lover or celebrating the woman’s hotness. Why are you taking the not so popular route?

Ruby: I’ve been blessed to know a lot of good men – my dad, brothers, male cousins, male friends and pastors. I’ve seen these men do their best to be and to do well by the people in their lives. Are they perfect? No. But they are great guys.

PT: Do you have a man in your life? He must be really good to you to inspire such songs. Tell us about him.

Ruby: (Laughs) I’m single presently. Being a fulltime artist leaves little room for relationships. It’s difficult to balance the two honestly. I’m open to one though. We’ll see how that goes, fingers crossed.

PT: What do you look out for in a man?

Ruby: Someone with a sense of who he is and where he’s going with his life; confidence, a sense of humor, kindness to the “little people,” high regard for women and most importantly a man who fears God.

PT: What do you think is that one thing a man should do to his woman that would make her feel truly loved and inspires loyalty?

Ruby: He should be truthful and faithful. Sorry, I mentioned two.

PT: Since you started, unlike female pop stars like, Tiwa Savage or Yemi Alade for instance, your climb seems rather slow, what do you attribute to that?

Ruby: There are a couple things. First, my genre of music is still in the process of being accepted by the industry so it’s taking a while to catch on. Second, I’ve had long breaks between singles and when that happens, it slows things down. However, I plan to put out music and visuals more often from here on out.

PT: How comfortable are you with the seemingly slow pace at which you seem to be coming into the mainstream?

Ruby: It can be frustrating at times. Though in retrospect, I’m grateful for the seeming delay. This is because I’ve had time to study the mainstream market and develop strategies that would enable me succeed there without me losing my identity.

PT: This insistence to do your own thing and stick to afro-soul instead of going pop, do you feel it would pay off later?

Ruby: AfroSoul is what I love to do and know how to do best. It’s timeless music. It’s the kind of music that would enable me have a career as a singer 50 years from now. It will definitely pay off down the line.

PT: You have also eschewed going the whole “sexy” route in your personal style; is it because of self-consciousness or a moral/religious point of view?

Ruby: In my view, being sexy isn’t about letting it all hang out. I believe less is more so I dress accordingly. I also have a 10-year old daughter. I want to set the right example for her.

PT: In my opinion, you have one of the best/professional voices in the industry. Have you had any voice training and how do you keep your voice so clear and sharp?

Ruby: Awwww, thank you. Yes I’ve been training for 15 years now. I have a voice coach, Franklin Chude, who is a wizard with voices. He’s the one who’s turned me into a professional singer. I do my vocal exercises daily. I meet with my coach once a week.

PT: Apart from afrosoul, what other genre of contemporary music do you enjoy?

Ruby: I enjoy listening to music across almost all genres; ranging from gospel to alternative rock, R&B, hiphop, contemporary country and world music.

PT: Who are your inspirations?

Ruby: Musically: Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Mary J Blige, John Legend, Beyonce and Asa. Personally, my mother. She’s Phenomenal. My daughter is my pride and joy.

PT: When do we expect to see your album?

Ruby: My album will drop in 2015. Before then though, I will put out the This Is Love EP later this year. I have fused different genres with core soul sound from trap to afrobeat to reggae and to R&B. I’m featuring Naeto C, Becca, Ajebutter22 and production would be by MI, L37, ChopStix, CharlieX, Kahli Abdu and Sizzle Pro.

PT: Are you part of COSON, PMAN or any other industry union? Why would it be or not be great for an artiste to be part of them and what advantages or not have you gained from them?

Ruby: I’m part of COSON. It’s important to be under a union. That collective voice is more effective in protecting and fighting for the rights of artists. It’s unwise for artists to go solo in this regard.

PT:  You are signed on to Loopy, what are the terms of your contract? Are you satisfied with it? Would you be one of those artistes that would unceremoniously quit before the end of the contract and why do you think some artistes do that?

Ruby: It’s a fair contract. They handle product development, promotions, publicity and distribution. I believe that if an artist signs a contract, they should see it through. No deal is perfect. You leave only when it’s glaring that the label hasn’t lived up to its part of the deal. A lot of artists think signing a deal means automatic success. It’s just a step up. The truth is an artist’s success is 90 per cent dependent on the artist.

PT: Finally, why should one become a singer in Nigeria?

Ruby: Become a singer if that is what you love to do; not for fame or money. Do it for the love of it.


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