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A born entertainer, singer-songwriter Ruti discovered her voice at the age of eleven during a talent competition, which she naturally won. Since then, she has never looked back, diving straight into music school and now releasing her heartbreakingly beautiful 4-track EP, Lungs. Five years in the making, the single for Lungs is hair-raisingly, tear-jerkingly good. Emotive and atmospheric, Lungs resonates with anyone who has placed high expectations on a loved one, only to be let down. The video, set in a beautiful church in London's Shepherds Bush, symbolises a sanctuary. Accidentally styled in a wedding dress, Ruti's look perfectly encapsulates the sentiments of being left high and dry at the altar.

When watching Ruti perform, it's clear she has a dedicated fan base. It's no surprise people feel connected to her- she exudes warmth, her songs make you feel safe, and she actively builds a sense of community with her supporters, making sure to meet them after her shows. With the sun shining and spirits high before her impactful performance at London's The Victoria, F Word had the chance to chat with this rising star. We delved deep, discussing her journey so far, along with why she's looking forward to performing Lungs the most, and, as expected, there wasn't a dry eye in sight.

Maisie Daniels: Hey Ruti, welcome to F Word! Thanks for talking to us before you head on stage at The Victoria - we can’t wait to see you perform live. Your new EP ‘Lungs’ drops today! And tonight we will get to see you perform it! How does that feel to get it out there?

Ruti: Yeah, it feels really good to get it out there! I’ve had the song [Lungs] for five years because I wrote it (I was about 19) and it was just a random songwriting session with some people that I felt quite close with at the time, who I’m still writing with now. And that’s Emily Phillips and Wayne Wilkins, and yeah, it feels good to get it out there! I feel like the situation that it stemmed from has long gone, and we’ve had Covid and other things since then. At first, I didn’t want to release the song because I felt quite embarrassed…

MD: You shouldn’t be embarrassed, it’s such a beautiful track and I’m sure so many people will resonate with it!

Ruti: Yeah! And it’s so funny because it’s just about some random dude from five years ago, and it wasn’t really a situation, but I was really insecure at the time, so anxious, and I was suffering from panic attacks more frequently. I was so worked up about not knowing what was happening and being left in the dark and putting someone on a pedestal who hadn’t given me any time of day.

MD: So this is a reflective track for you; how do you feel you have grown since writing this?

Ruti: I know that my mental health is in a much better place. It has been up and down for the past five years, but now I’m so much more secure in myself. I know what I’m worth and how I want people to treat me, and what I expect from any sort of relationship, so that’s definitely different from that [smiles].

MD: That’s really lovely to hear, and I know people close to me who have had similar relationships, and I’m sure this will help a lot of people, so I’m glad you brought it out.

MD: You’ve dropped some pretty epic teasers on social media behind the music video for Lungs. I’ve seen it’s you in a church… tell me more, please!

Ruti: Yeah! So we had a bit of back and forth with how the song was going to sound because it was just piano, and then we added strings, and then we were unsure what to do there, so we added MORE production, and I was like, “That’s way too much” [laughs]. “We need to go back to just strings and piano.” And so it felt quite regency era vibes [laughs]. I wanted at first to be running through fields in a big dress and end up in a church, but we found this church in Shepherd's Bush. They allowed us to film in it for the whole day, and it was a BEAUTIFUL church. It was so big as well! The church was so accommodating. I just wanted it to feel like a sanctuary; I’m opening up so much in this song, it’s very raw emotions, and the church for some people is like a sanctuary.

For some reason, I ended up wearing a dress (it’s not even a dress, it’s a skirt that we got from Portobello Road and something I got from Vinted) and then it looks like a wedding dress accidentally [laughs], but then that made so much sense. The song is about putting my expectations way too high and then being left high and dry, and that image of being left at the altar just made sense.

MD: There are 4 tracks on this EP; how long has that been in the making?

Ruti: I think I started in the summer last year. We knew that Lungs was going to come out at some point, and then I wrote Bubblehouse Bounce and Don’t Make a Sound in the summer of last year. They were all three tracks that I was so, so proud of and just really wanted to get them out there, and then there’s a cover of Everybody Wants to Rule the World.

MD: Yes, it’s beautiful. What made you want to do a cover of this Tears For Fears song?

Ruti: I’d been playing that song around quite a lot, maybe even a couple of years. Especially when I’m supporting and having that song that everyone knows, and I just really enjoy singing it. I think that obviously, lyrically, it feels like such a feel-good song and has a really good rhythm. I think the idea that it brings across is that everybody wants something in their life; power. And obviously, it talks about bigger power, and I think everyone is struggling with the bigger power in the world right now, but also having power over our own lives and the way that we present our lives. It was interesting, but I also love the melodies of it and the chords; I really love to play it, so I can’t help that as well. That was a big point for me. I play that, and people kept asking if I was going to release it, so I thought, okay!

MD: Give the people what they want! What track are you most looking forward to playing later, and why?

Ruti: I don’t know! I think I’m most excited about playing Lungs because I love the way that it feels to sing it. Also, I know that it affects people as well, so knowing that and that we’re all just going to be crying at the end.

MD: What do you hope that people take away from this EP?

Ruti: The bottom line is that I hope I’m making a statement that: I’m here now, I’m really, really here, and expect so much more from me (that was a pun!) [laughs], but also that I am this other performer and this is what I really love to do.

MD: Even from just watching your soundcheck earlier, you can really see and feel that.

Ruti: Yeah, and soundcheck I’m just trying to sing as well as I can and practice, but I know that on the night it becomes a whole other atmosphere.

MD: What does performing live mean to you?

Ruti: Oh, it’s what I’ve always done and always enjoyed. Since I was really, really young I was performing with my dance school that I used to go to. I started dancing at three. I just did loads of dance shows and I’d do a bit of musical theatre and went to school where they did musicals. I was also involved in the music department, so that’s where I started to sing properly.

MD: Your voice is so incredible and unique. When did you become aware of those lungs (there’s my pun!) and that voice of yours?

Ruti: Yeah, it was very specific actually! I went on holiday with my family when I was eleven and we went to one of those caravan parks and they had one of those talent shows. For some reason, I really wanted to do it, and I really wanted to sing. And for no reason - I’d never sung at a talent show really, except for like at primary school…

MD: What did you sing?!

Ruti: Rolling in the Deep! Because I just got an iPod touch for that birthday perhaps, and I’d asked for “21” the album and Pink Friday for some reason. I was listening to Adele a lot (obviously) and I just wanted to sing like her. So I sang Rolling in the Deep on that day.

MD: Did you win?!

Ruti: I did!

MD: Of course you did!

Ruti: But I didn’t know that I could sing in that kind of way. I think that part of me, at that age, was kind of copying a bit of Adele, but I guess not that well [laughs]. Then, from that point on - that was the summer before I went to secondary school - so I’d already got into the school but I was out of the catchment area, so I got in by doing a little dance [laughs]. Then I ended up becoming part of the music department and barely touching the dance department at all [laughs].

MD: Can you describe what we can expect from tonight’s performance in three words?

Ruti: Tears…

MD: For Fears?!

Both: [laughs]

Ruti: … because tears always happen

MD: Are these from yourself?

Ruti: No, the audience! But I will cry afterwards. I always get super overstimulated and then I cry [laughs].

Ruti: Dancing. Hopefully, people will be dancing. And Community.

MD: That’s a great word!

Ruti: Yeah, we have a little group chat that I created for some of my big fans. Not loads of them, but there’s a few in there. So we’re going to meet up after the gig, which will be cute. Also, I just find that the fans I’ve met are really lovely, so I think it’s going to be nice.

MD: Do you ever get nervous before you perform, and if so, how do you tackle those nerves?

Ruti: Every single time I perform I get nervous, but I’m not feeling too bad today! I feel a bit “wooooo”.

MD: I feel excitement and nerves are also similar!

Ruti: They are, they are! I don’t really get through it by doing anything specific, I just kind of allow it to happen. I always get half an hour before the show of complete silence [laughs]. I don’t really listen to music when I’m getting changed because it’s too much going on.

MD: I’m being very nosy here, but what do you ask for in your rider?

Ruti: This is the first time I’ve been very, very specific because usually they will say, “Do you want beers in there?” And I’ll just say yes, even though I never drink them! I’ll always take them home, which is nice, but I don’t like to drink before the gig. My stomach is already feeling funky [laughs], so I asked for Fanta orange.

MD: Anything coming up we should know about?

Ruti: There’s more music coming in the summer. A few festivals here and there, they’re always last minute. My first international performance as well at a festival called Live is Live in Antwerp.

MD: The world would be better with…

Ruti: Empathy. I think it’s a simple concept that we haven’t quite grasped.

MD: The world would be better without…

Ruti: There are so many things the world would be better without [laughs]. The Tory party.

MD: What’s your favourite F Word?

Ruti: Fanta.


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