Monday, July 14, 2014

A R T I S T   S P O T L I G H T 

c i n e m a g r a p h s    b y    b e c k e r

Yesterday afternoon, I met up with singer-songwriter, Ruby Kendrick, to snap a few accompanying shots for her interview with Pastel, and we managed to slip into conversation relatively seamlessly. Kendrick ambled along the pathways of North Campus in quiet certitude, and (as is my nature upon first meeting someone) I bombarded her with an onslaught of questions about her life in Athens. As we searched for a suitable location to make her portrait, Kendrick recounted her ventures into various fields of study (which she ultimately abandoned in pursuit of her music), occasionally breaking character to giggle softly at the jokes she whispered about herself. With a presence that teetered somewhere between timid playfulness and cool serenity, I immediately recognized the voice behind each of Kendrick's lyrically driven ballads. For those of you who enjoy looking beyond the first impressions of a song, you'll find that Kendrick's new album, New as Dew, is comprised of deceptively upbeat tunes filled with incisive lyrics about "Love, Bravery, Hope, [and] the Moon". Below, I talked to Ruby about the process of recording her second album, her favorite musicians, and her upcoming plans to travel!   

Official Website

PASTEL: First off, introduce yourself!
RTR: My name is Ruby. I'm from the Georgia coast. I'm an Aries with a moon in Scorpio. 

PASTEL: For those who aren't aware, will you talk about where your stage name, Ruby The Rabbitfoot, came from and what it means to you?
RTR: Well, I'm pretty superstitious. Growing up, I learned all the tricks: throw salt over your shoulder if it spills . . . Make an X on the windshield if a black cat crosses . . . My mom would keep a pencil in the car at all times so that if she had to knock on wood, it was readily available. Some of my family likes to gamble . . . We all believe in luck. I figured that the name couldn't hurt, and that maybe it would attract something positive. 

PASTEL: How did you first become interested in making music? Do you come from a musically inclined family? 
RTR: I was pretty young . . . Maybe eight or nine when I started playing piano. My family didn't have instruments in the house yet, but we would visit my Aunt and Granny on the weekends. They each had a piano. I was playing nonsense then, but I felt like I was good at it . . . or, at least, I wanted to be good at it. My dad eventually bought me a little keyboard and then a guitar. My Granddad was a singer. His stage name was Buddy Davis . . . He had a strong set of pipes. 

PASTEL: Where there any artists that you listened to growing up that helped shape or inspire your sound? What about now?
RTR: I grew up with Mariah Carey, Fiona Apple—all the female hit machines. I still listen to pop music for the most part. I joke that I have the musical tastes of a 10-year-old girl . . . But I think they know what's up. 

"Sharing the music with people is incredible. It can cure loneliness."

PASTEL: You've been performing and developing an audience for a while now, but can you remember back to your first show and what it was like to perform your songs in front of a crowd for the first time? Has your relationship with audiences changed at all with time?
RTR: You can ask my friend, Chelsie. I was a nervous wreck. I didn't eat for a week leading up to the show, so I looked like Gumby. I chewed a whole pack of trident within 15 minutes in the car after load in. I loved it though . . . There isn't a drug on earth that can compare to the feeling. It was an awesome night. 

My relationship with an audience has definitely changed. I actually want to talk to them . . . instead of keeping my eyes closed the whole time. 

PASTEL: Now that you've been through the routine of recording two albums, what would you consider your favorite part about the process?
RTR: Recording an album is so magical. I think the best part is that you are still in love with your songs . . . I guess it's like the "honey moon phase". You always love your songs, but it's the same feeling as a new romance. It's exciting and it feels like it could be the one. 

PASTEL: Your music has been described by Flagpole magazine as "beautifully acerbic," and I particularly liked their description "sunnily depressive". How would you describe your music, and how do you think it's evolved since the recording of your first album,  No Weight, No Chain ?
RTR: I just try to keep it honest. It's a bit self-obsessed . . . But they [the songs] are all chapters. I think there has definitely been some refining since NWNC, and I want every album to feel more and more like an improvement . . . Like I'm cracking away to find that pearl or something—the truthiest, truest, truth. 

PASTEL: Do you have a favorite song off of your newest record,  New as Dew ,  and why? 
RTR: That's tough. That's like saying: which child is your favorite? It's f*cked up. However, I feel like "Ring Around" never gets any attention. [She's] the runt of the litter, but she's a jewel. That song is how I want to be . . . I feel like it knows something that I don't (and the tambourine mix ain't shabby). 

PASTEL: Are there any themes that you find yourself continually addressing in your songs?
RTR: Love, Bravery, Hope, the Moon . . .

PASTEL: What is the greatest challenge that you face as a musician?
RTR: Money 

p h o t o   b y    b e c k e r

PASTEL: And what is the best part about being a musician?
RTR: The music is the best part for sure . . . and writing the songs. Sharing the music with people is incredible. It can cure loneliness. 

PASTEL: What are some of your other hobbies outside of music?
RTR: I'm dipping my toe in music video production at the moment.

PASTEL: What was your childhood, dream job? If you could pick any career outside of music, right now, what would it be?
RTR: My childhood dream job was to be a singer. There's never been anything else. I think some people assume that you can't have your childhood dream job otherwise everyone would be an astronaut . . . but screw that . . . There's enough outer space for everybody. If I couldn't play music—like if music didn't exist, and I physically could not do it—I suppose I would be a visual artist. 

PASTEL: Are there any local bands that you would recommend to the readers?
RTR: Um, all of them. Seriously. Just graze the Flagpole and visit everyone's Bandcamp. It's crazy how much talent lives in this town. We are sitting on a gold mine. I'm currently obsessed with Grand Vapids. Rock and Roll for days. 

PASTEL: Can you talk a bit about your writing process? What environment promotes your best creative workflow?
RTR: I wish I knew what environment evoked songs. Days off help. Traveling is really the best way for me to get something new. It snaps you out of that rut.

PASTEL: If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be and why?
RTR: That's hard . . . I'd like to work with Frank Ocean, Mariah Carey, or someone from that realm. I'm looking for an RnB aficionado at the moment. I just think something creative might bloom from that collaboration. 

PASTEL: Do you travel a lot for your music? What's the most interesting / fun place you've visited, and where do you hope to visit in the future?
RTR: I do get to travel a lot, and I love it. Anytime I'm home, I'm scheming a new trip. I really love the Pacific Northwest and hope to go back. I would love to visit Hawaii and Tokyo. It's a blessing to get to travel. Every place I go is interesting.

PASTEL: I was so excited to see you perform at Athfest this year! How was that experience?
RTR: Athfest is always amazing. You can feel everyone beaming. It's a time in Athens when you know that everyone is having a great show. That's beautiful.

PASTEL: What's next for you and your music? Do you have any upcoming plans that you're excited about? 
RTR: I'm about to go back to LA for a week. This fall we will be looping down to Texas, back up to Chicago, and hopefully to New York in October. I also heard through the grapevine that we might demo some new songs this winter. I'm excited about everything.

PASTEL: What do you want people to take away from your music?
RTR: I listen to music when I'm walking to work or doing things that I don't necessarily want to do. It's helped me through depression and loss. I use it to daydream and get motivated . . . If anyone used my music like that, I would feel accomplished and fulfilled. I want them to find a place in their day for my music. 


Here are a couple of Ruby's songs: "Ways", the aforementioned "Ring Around", and one of my personal favorites, "Misery":