We had the pleasure to interview Ruby Confue, a versatile vocalist, writer, and performer from London. She began her musical journey in 2015, when she recorded her debut single “Baby 126”. In 2019, she released her debut album “Psychedelic Urban Circus” and now she is rediscovering her music style. Ruby's sound combines Jazz and Urban tunes with Hip-Hop, Soul, R’n’B, Grime, Garage, D’n’B and so much more! She is very creative and she believes “songs are little stories or poems with characters in them – almost like mini plays”.
Hello Ruby, tell us a little bit about yourself… What is your background?
I have a background in dance, performance art and acting. Music came to me later after my collaboration and subsequent development with Stu Rowe of Lightertheif – a longtime family friend and my musical mentor.
How and when did you start to be passionate about music? Do you have any anecdotes?
The radio was always on at our house growing up, people playing records and loudly! Imagine my mum playing pirate radio of the early 90’s along with the more conventional stations whilst my brother and I are chilling in our cots (or raving). I think that’s probably why we have such eclectic tastes: we absorbed all of that mad early 90’s music from our cots.
How would you define your music and your style? Who are the artists that inspire you?
My musical influences have been from genres such as Hip-Hop, Soul, Jazz, R’n’B, Grime, Garage, D’n’B… Can you see a theme here? I used to refer to my sound as Urban-Jazz but I’m not quite sure about that and I’m not sure if it's appropriate to call myself ‘Urban’ anymore. I am in a process of rediscovering this and re-educating myself on my musical influences and how I communicate that with authenticity whilst remaining humble… My album and the work I’ve released were influenced by artists such as Hiatus Kaiyote, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Lauryn Hill, and Róisín Murphy.
What do you want to transmit to your audience with your music?
That all depends on the song, right? I feel like songs are little stories or poems with characters in them – almost like mini plays. These characters are expressing something deeply emotional within them and whatever that is within the song is what I want to transmit to my audience. Not just one thing, but many, many things.
Why did you choose the title “Psychedelic Urban Circus” for your debut album? Where do you get your inspiration from? Is there any of your songs that is particularly significant to you? Why?
I was chatting with a photographer and former colleague, Pete Tweedie. We were organizing a shoot and he asked me what visual themes I had in mind that would best promote me and my sound. I settled on Psychedelic Urban Circus, which later became a reference point for the entirety of the project. We even thought of creating an event in a big top – maybe we will. Who knows?
I listened to your music on Spotify and I noticed that you mix jazz and R&B sonorities, what do you think about these two genres in today’s music? I mean, now that trap and reggae music are becoming more and more popular, how can a sophisticated genre like jazz emerge also in the world of young people?
Oof. I mean I agree that Trap is having its moment right now as a new genre but Reggae? Noooo. Reggae was gifted to the U.K way back in the 50’s. Jazz was modernized by Amy Winehouse. I mean she was the embodiment of Jazz and Hip-Hop. I feel like jazz has already emerged and so many current artists reference Jazz influences today.
On Instagram I saw that you wear a lot of colours and then listening to your music I noticed that there are many shades, too. In your opinion, what makes your music unique?
Colours can be perceived as representative of emotions. Red is the colour of love, for example. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I am an emotional person who feels things deeply and I hope that comes across in my music. I think it is the collaboration: my emotional side combined with the Lighterthief experimental approach makes my music unique.
How have Covid-19 and the lockdown affected your work as an artist? Tell us something about the Lockdown Breakdown Project.
It has had a devastating effect on the entire industry. It meant not being able to rehearse, meetups and writing sessions all cancelled, recording studios closed and obviously no live performances which for some people was their sole income. It's more than that, it's almost like losing your identity.
The Lockdown Breakdown project was created by Ella Simms – all proceeds going to the Bernie Grants Arts Centre, local to where we live in Tottenham. It was a real community project including 21 artists from our road, Fountayne Road in N15.
Do you have any upcoming projects? What are your plans for the future?
I will be releasing a brand-new music video very very soon. It's by far my best video yet and it's from a track from the album. Keep your eyes and ears peeled and primed for a release date! Very excited to share this.
I am aiming to complete what I’m calling the ‘Shakespeare Project’ inspired by AKALA in 2021. Also working with a couple of new producers on projects and experimenting with genres. These will be surfacing later this year.
DARE CLAN MAGAZINE is a space for creatives. DARE is an acronym that stands for DYNAMIC, ADVENTUROUS, RADICAL, ECCENTRIC, which are the very features that characterize our community, the stories we want to share and the value we aim to foster. What does “DARE” mean to you?
Every. Single. Word means so much to me and totally resonates with my philosophy, which is to be brave and bold in your choices, be unapologetically YOU. Be yourself because everybody else is already taken and variety is THE mother f**ckin spice o’ life.
Interview & Article by
Sofia Sangiorgi & Sara Orlandini