photo by Eric Richards

The Musician Spotlight Series shines a light on up-and-coming bands and solo acts creating heartfelt and original work across genres, giving them an opportunity to talk about their music, their collaborators, and why they do what they do.

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Ruben Young

“Having made his mark over the past two years through a string of successful independent singles that have racked up over five million streams, Canadian R&B artist Ruben Young released his debut EP, Dreamstate, on Sept. 27 via all streaming platforms. The seven-track collection provides an introduction to the Calgary-born singer/songwriter, and showcases the many creative partnerships he has forged with the likes of Lord Quest (Schoolboy Q), Lost Boys, Losh (Tobi, Allan Rayman) Kuya Productions (Alessia Cara, JRDN), Classified, Slakah The Beatchild and others”.

When did you know you wanted to be a musician?
Right after University I realized that I wanted to take my love for music to the next level and pursue it as a career. I worked in finance, and actually had really great bosses who heard me sing one day and told me that “I am a much better singer than I am an intern” and that I had to go chase my dreams, but could always come back if I ever needed a job. I started travelling and writing music and found a deeper love for it. I realized that I have a chance to do something special in the world by just being myself.

Are you a trained musician? How did you develop your skills?
I’ve taken vocal classes since I was 15 years old, and I taught myself how to play keys. I learned how to play my favourite songs as covers, and slowly started writing my own music, and that’s essentially how I got to where I am. I really invested into myself as a songwriter as well, and you can only train yourself by being in sessions. Last year I travelled to Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, London, Los Angeles, and Nashville doing co-writing sessions, which taught me everything and open my eyes as a writer. That’s really how I found my sound.

Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake, Pharell and Kanye West.

How would you describe your sound?
I make music for the hopeless romantics to bounce to. My new EP Dreamstate really embodies a lot of vulnerable feelings and concepts, and I did my best to marry that with sounds that  inspire me and make me feel good – from soul to hip hop.

What’s your favourite tune in your repertoire and why?
That’s really hard to say. I like them all for different reasons. For now I’ll choose “Vienna” because it’s so genuine and simple. I wrote it at 4 AM when I was deep in my feelings, and it kind of just came out without much effort. That also kind of validated my growth as a songwriter to me because I had learned to just trust myself and let the music flow

What can audiences expect from one of your live shows?
Let loose, bounce with me and be ready to think about our ex’s and our dreams.

Where can we find your music?
You can find me on Spotify, Apple Music and every other streaming platform by Ruben Young, and you can find me on Instagram @therubs.