Mike Ruby’s road has been far from ordinary. Born in Toronto, he moved to New York at 19 to pursue a career as a jazz musician, and then signed to a subsidiary record label of Universal Music. While in college, he began playing sax with Brooklyn based synth-pop band St. Lucia, and after opening for Ellie Goulding realized he had a lot to say as an artist that was being left unsaid. He picked up a guitar for the first time and fell in love with songwriting, moved back to Toronto to hone his skills, and soon after moved to Los Angeles. His first release as a pop artist last summer broke top 40 radio in Canada and on the Billboard Charts, and he recently released his debut EP You Wrote These Songs.
We had the opportunity to chat with Mike about his debut EP, progressing as an artist, and how he’s staying connected.
Kat: Can you talk about the inspiration behind your debut EP “You Wrote These Songs”?
Mike: This EP is a journey about moving forward with your life. The first two songs on the record, “Close” and “Burn Again,” are about exes that you thought could have maybe been the endgames. The album then transitions into “Don’t Want You Back (wtf)” which is also about an ex, but with a whole new perspective. This one is about realizing that ex didn’t deserve you and it’s time to forget about her. “Unapologetic” is about meeting someone new who you wouldn’t have expected to go for and isn’t your type at all, but because you’re starting to move forward, you start opening up. “Not Your Fault” is the fifth song and it’s about fully getting over something in your past that has been holding you back. Finally, “Story Never Ends” is about actually being able to move onwards, meet someone new and more permanent, and maybe making it last. I feel like so many of us go through this journey because we’ve all had so many exes … but I got very personal with each song and I hope the listener has a similar experience.
Kat: What was the songwriting process like for the album? Did you come with a certain sound or story you wanted to express, or was it more organic?
Mike: I usually don’t have a “process” when I write because I think that can eliminate creativity in the early stages of the music. Sometimes I write starting from a lyric, idea, a hook, a beat, it varies. My “process” for the EP was writing hundreds of songs and picking the ones that screamed my name – the ones that meant so much to me, I had to release them.
Kat: How do you feel the songs on this EP compare to some of your previous singles or work?
Mike: It’s more intimate. The previous singles touch on that intimacy, but “Don’t Want You Back (wtf)” and “Not Your Fault” really dive deep. “Don’t Want You Back (wtf)” tells a story of how much someone gave to their partner but clearly from the lyrics none of it was reciprocated, which leads to the hook of the song that I may not be able to say because we’re keeping it PG. “Not Your Fault” is the most personal piece of music I’ve ever written and is about the loss of my father in high school, so it doesn’t get much more real than that. It’s written from a perspective that it could be anybody loved, an ex, parent, friend, but in my case, it came from a very real place.
Kat: What do you hope fans take away from the EP?
Mike: I want them to get hit with the feels, and to have fun with it. This EP is meant to get under your skin in a good way, to pull some emotions out of you that have always been there, but it’s also pretty upbeat and fun. I guess you can just be sad and dance around about it!
Kat: How are you staying connected during Covid-19, and what’s next?
Mike: Online! Everything online. I am probably spending 4-6 hours a day on my social apps, and if you’re reading this, feel free to shoot me a message on your socials @mikerubymusic.
After the EP I’m going to press the reset button, disconnect, and get back into create mode. I’ve been in promote mode and social mode for a while now, and busy with music videos, so I want to get back to the music. Hopefully I can start gearing up for shows/tours, but we won’t know how long that will take, so creating album 2 will be taking up my time for now!
For more on Mike Ruby visit: https://mikeruby.com