Exclusive: An Interview With Ruben Young

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By: Kat Harlton

Calgary based, electro, R&B/pop artist – Ruben Young released his debut single “Bad Habits” today. Produced by Nova Scotia’s JUNO Award winning hip-hop legend Classified, “Bad Habits” showcases the Calgary native’s soulful vibe and unique raspy vocals, with a hint of R&B.

With a sensual swaying entrance, “Bad Habits” tells the story of nostalgic, dangerous, and intoxicating relationship. This track is the perfect summer jam for a wide demographic; from driving the kids to school, to hanging out with friends, or work-out playlists, “Bad Habits” is timeless.

Listen To “Bad Habits” :

Over the past few years, Young has been recognized as a young innovator in the Canadian arts. Having been the founder of Calgary’s “50 Days YYC” music festival – supporting emerging artists, and the community, to earning a University Bachelor of Commerce degree along the way, Young has proven to be a powerhouse. On the live performance side Young has also had the opportunity to open for industry icons including Akon, Classified, and most recently The Chainsmokers.

We caught up with Ruben to discuss musical influences, 50 Days YYC and what’s on his playlist. Read our interview below:

Kat: Can you speak about the inspiration behind your single “Bad Habits”?

RY: Bad Habits is about the vices, the lust and the love games we can’t shake, even when we know they’re no good for us. The song is about a girl that I snuck around with for the better part of my adult. She became my dangerous affair – my bad habit.

Kat: What was it like working with Classified and having him produce your single?

RY: I always envisioned a hip hop/soul influence on Bad Habits when I wrote it on my piano. Class’s style is literally perfect – its exactly what I heard in my head. Working with him was a surreal and inspiring experience, but he was also incredibly down to earth. I was nervous because he has a legacy – JUNOS, platinum records etc. But he is the most low-key, humble dude in person.  He genuinely worked with me in the studio to bring the song to life, which says a lot about his character.

RubenYoungJonathanJacobs
Photo Credit: Jonathan Jacobs

Kat: Who are some of your musical influences or icons?

RY: Justin Timberlake, The Fugees, Marvin Gaye, Amy Winehouse, Odesza, RL Grime, Miguel

Kat: Could you speak about the “50 Days YYC” music festival and what it means to you?

RY: 50 Days was so much more than a music festival for me. Yeah, I saw some amazing talent, met a ton of people and achieved some cool things. But that festival, and that summer taught me as much as any bachelor’s degree. It gave me invaluable lessons in people, management and most of all myself. I found a ton of strengths and weaknesses in myself throughout the process. The most important take away was to trust myself, my ideas, and my ability to create my own future.

Kat: Do you have any advice for aspiring artists?

RY: Hustle + Sacrifice. If you really want to build a career in music, you have to be ready to miss out on the regular-life simplicity’s , fun and milestones that your friends will experience. You have to be ready to work twice as hard as anyone thinks is necessary, and most of all, you have to trust in a long-term process. Your accomplishments, credit, gains, wins and even financial pay off are down the road, and that road is long.

Kat: Considering all you’ve accomplished so far, what are some future goals you’ve set out for yourself?

RY: Make music with my idols. Tour across the world with my idols. And… Make as much money as my idols, haha (seriously tho). Naw, I have tons of goals in and outside of music – one day at a time. Hopefully you’ll see soon enough.

Kat: What’s on your playlist right now?

RY:

  • Guillotine – Jon Bellion
  • No Future – Shaun Frank
  • Japanese Denim – Daniel Caesar
  • Because of U – RL Grime
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