If you're even a casual radio listener, it's been pretty hard to avoid Ruth B.
Her song "Lost Boy" was all over the dial this year, reaching #24 in the Billboard Hot 100, #17 in the U.S. Mainstream Top 40, and #14 in the Canadian Top 100.
What listeners might not know: Ruth Berhe is an unassuming 21-year-old Canadian from Edmonton, who started her career by crooning six-second clips on Vine. She sat down to chat about the thrill ride of going from relative anonymity, to being signed by Columbia Records and having one of the hottest songs on the charts.
Chris Taylor: I'm hearing "Lost Boy" all over American radio ... what has this experience been like for you?
Ruth B: It's been really surreal. It's so humbling to know that people are enjoying my song, as simple as it is. I don't think I'll ever get used to it.
CT: Tell me about how you got started, by loading clips on Vine?
RB: Vine came around at a really convenient time in my life. At first I only used it for fun, but eventually I started singing on it. As bizarre as it was, I stared enjoying the whole six-second singing thing.
CT: With "Lost Boy," how did it gain so much traction?
RB: "Lost Boy" initially started off as a Vine. It wasn't a song, just a thought that I had. People really enjoyed that little snippet, and started sharing it around. Eventually it became this big thing where all I would see in my comments was "more Lost Boy!" That was the start of it.
CT: What musicians do you look to for inspiration?
RB: I like a lot of different types of music. I love Lauryn Hill, Ed Sheeran, the Beatles. I'm a big fan of stories. Songs with messages.
CT: When things really took off and labels began calling you, what was that experience like?
RB: It was really cool to start getting feed back from "the music industry." For a student from Edmonton, it was pretty insane. I'd write an exam and then check my emails to find another label reaching out. More than anything it was validating.
CT: What has it been like transitioning to live audiences and shows?
RB: This has been a really cool transition. At first I didn't like it. I had become very comfortable performing for my phone screen but eventually I started to fall in love. There's a certain thrill that comes with watching someone sing back words that you wrote.
CT: How has your heritage influenced you?
RB: I am Ethiopian, and it's a big part of who I am. I love my culture and all its history. My parents did an incredible job of making sure my brother and I grew up understanding where we came from.
CT: When you are away from Canada, what do you miss most about it?
RB: I miss the feeling of home. It's tough being away from friends and family all the time but it's also really nice to always know that they're just a phone call away. I don't think my mom has ever missed any of my calls.
CT: Any other messages for your fans?
RB: Be true to you -- and always be kind.
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