Ruben Young Shares Thoughts On His New Single “TNT” Featuring Compton Rapper Buddy

Kat Harlton

Canadian singer-songwriter Ruben Young has joined forces with Compton rapper Buddy on his new single ‘TNT’, out via all streaming services.

A sunkissed modern soul-pop jam, ‘TNT’ is an infectious summer anthem that combines Ruben’s smooth vocals with a typically slick verse from Buddy and fresh, funk-laden production.

Hailing from Calgary, Alberta, Ruben Young burst onto the scene with acclaimed debut EP ‘Dreamstate’, which included online hit ‘Rachel Green’ featuring Hodgy from Odd Future. He has since amassed millions of streams, been named ‘New Artist of the Week in Canada’ by Apple Music and toured alongside Kiesza, Akon, The Chainsmokers, Nelly and more.

Thrust into hip-hop’s fast lane from an early age, Buddy was discovered by Scott Vener, signed by Pharrell, and tapped for collaborations with Chance the Rapper and Kendrick Lamar – amassing hundreds of millions of streams in the process. More recently he linked up with Tinashe on single ‘Pasadena’.

We had the opportunity to chat with Ruben about the single, working with Buddy and what’s next.

Kat: Can you talk about the inspiration behind your latest single TNT?

Ruben: It’s James Brown, Quincy Jones, Earth Wind & Fire – all of the live, real, soul lifting music that my mom played around the house when I was growing up. Shout out to my producer, Yash, Terrell Morris and Nick, Scott and Chris from Busty and The Bass for bringing their talent to this song, and to my OG mentor, David Cox, for pushing me to create a sound that is 100% me.

Kat: What do you hope fans take from the track? 

Ruben: I hope “TNT” can be a part of everyone’s soundtrack to a summer of bouncing back from the toughest year imaginable – into living real life. I hope it helps you get lifted from the stresses and the problems like when I turn on “I’ll Be Around” by the Spinners.

Kat: How was working with Hip Hop Star Buddy?

Ruben: It was fun man – cool to watch his process and understand how talented the dude is in person. It was mostly just so dope to lookback on my journey as an artist – from starting out, feeling totally out of place trying to make R&B in a country and indie music city like Calgary; dreaming about moments like this as “making it”, to being in LA working with one of my favorite artists in the game right now. Being independent, it takes a crazy amount of work and perseverance to get to this point, and I’m really proud of it all. I still have a long way to go in my vision for my career, but this chapter really filled the tank to continue on the journey.

Kat: What do you find is the most challenging part of your creative process?

Ruben: For me, it’s just getting out of my head, eliminating the pressure I create for myself, and just being present. You have to be in the moment to write your best work, and sometimes that’s tough for me – I think a lot. 

Kat: What has been a career highlight for you so far? What have you learned along the way?

Ruben: Right now, it’s “TNT”. Before the pandemic, I was in LA talking to my old manager about my vision for creating music that’s inspired by the Soul greats and era that made me fall in love with it in the first place. To have a song that feels so inline with that vision, and to have Buddy a part of it – it’s really fulfilling to know that my brain isn’t all that crazy – the dreams are just some hard ass work away. 

Kat: What’s next?

Ruben: The last, crazy year gave me a ton of perspective, growth and music that I think will show people who I am, a sound that I’m really proud of, and that no matter where you’re from, you can do special things if you go hard for them. 

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