Ruel Talks Finding His Sound with His Brand New EP

Ruel Talks Finding His Sound with His Brand New EP

The Australian sensation gives V the details on his new EP, Free Time.

The Australian sensation gives V the details on his new EP, Free Time.

Text: Fred Sahai

Since releasing his debut EP Ready in June 2018, 16-year-old Australian singer Ruel has had quite the exponential rise to fame. He’s the youngest performer to sell-out the Sydney Opera House—a big deal in and of itself—which makes the fact that he did it twice, even more astonishing. His songs have garnered upwards of 300 million plays on streaming platforms and he’s even received praise from Sir Elton John.

After joining the likes of Shawn Mendes and Khalid as supporting act on their respective tours, Ruel is getting ready to hit the road on his nearly sold-out headlining North American tour to promote his brand new EP, Free Time, which is out today. We caught up with the young singer to discuss how this new release is a jump from his last EP, his songwriting process and how his family has played an important role in his success.

 

When did you really start getting into music?

I’m not really a musical family, like none of my sisters or my parents sing or play anything, but they’re all very creative and love the arts. My dad’s a huge music nerd and he put me onto a lot of music when I was very young, like Stevie Wonder, Bill Withers, Amy Winehouse, Aretha Franklin… And I just fell in love with that stuff really.

 

When did it become clear that this was something you wanted to pursue a career in?

Probably when I was like eleven or twelve, is when I realized that this is what I can actually do, something that is a job and I might have a shot at. Because that’s when I met my manager, Nate. A cover that I did got to him and he said that M-Phazes, who’s a producer in Australia, wanted to work with me. So I was like, “Oh, this could actually be fun.”

 

Were your parents always supportive of your musical aspirations?

Yeah, always really, really supportive. My parents are definitely a huge part of my career, they always make sure that I’ve got good people around me and that no one is trying to screw me over. So, yeah, they’ve been really, really good for me.

 

What does the songwriting process look like for you usually?

A lot of voice memos. A lot of different chord progressions. Really how I start is by picking up a guitar or piano and just finding a chord progression. Then I do some melodies over it – some sketch melodies and try to figure out what would be good for a verse. I find the piece of the puzzle and then put the lyrics in last.

 

Your first EP took three years to complete. Did you spend most of your time writing or finding your sound?

Probably finding my sound. Well, writing whilst finding my sound. I feel like what I was writing when I was twelve was insanely different to what I’m writing now. I had a whole other EP ready to go with completely different songs that I would’ve released a year before but then, I felt like I wasn’t ready and wasn’t really sure if it was who I wanted to be like to be. And I feel like I  found more of my sound with the songs I wrote on Ready.

 

How would you describe your sound?

It’s kind of R&B, soul, alternative. But I feel like it’s going to just keep changing as I grow older. I don’t feel like I’ll be listening to the same music for as long as I live. I like a lot of different genres, I love to listen to rap, straight pop, some alternative stuff and EDM. I think whatever I’m really feeling in that particular writing space, I’ll write about.

 

 

How does the sound from your upcoming EP, Free Time, differ from Ready?

I feel like I’ve matured musically since then. When I was writing for Ready I was still finding my feet in the writing world and I didn’t really know what I wanted. I had a sound but I didn’t feel like I was reaching the full potential of what I could really make. For Free Time, I had a lot more creative direction and I knew what I wanted to do because I had already put out something before. I know what people liked, I know what I liked and still like about that EP, as well as the stuff that I don’t. I found a better mesh and it’s definitely a little cooler.

 

Do you have a favorite track on the new EP?

I do. I do. I think it’s going to keep changing because it’s just different moods but there’s one called “Don’t Cry” that I really love and it’s just super true, I feel like it’s like the realest thing that I’ve ever written because it’s so specific to what was happening at the time.

 

What can we expect from you in the next year?

I feel like just more music. I’m really excited for this EP and a freak ton more touring.

 

Is there anything else you want to put out there?

Other than to plug my EP coming out September 13th, it’s called Free Time. There we go.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Free Time is available on all streaming platforms starting September 13th. You can follow Ruel on Instagram here, and check out dates for his upcoming US tour here.

 

 

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