There aren’t many things better than discovering a new artist whose music you instantly connect with. Whether they’re touring the nation making their name or supporting big acts globally, we’re here to put a spotlight on the musically-gifted people with a bright future ahead of them. This week, we’re introducing you to the soulful Australian pop singer, Ruel
For Fans Of: Alec Benjamin, James Bay, Zak Abel
Essential Listening: ‘Real Thing’, ‘Dazed & Confused’, ‘Painkiller’
Most people when they’re 17 are focused on exams, trying to decide on which University to go to and generally trying to form some plan for their future, but for Ruel Vincent van Dijk - a.k.a Ruel - things have already fallen into place. The young singer, born in London but raised in Sydney, spent most of his teenage years writing songs, rather than essays and after a disagreement with his family about him being too young to understand love, he penned ‘Don’t Tell Me’ and the rest, as they say, is history. ‘Don’t Tell Me’ offered an early taste of Ruel’s capabilities as an artist, his soulful voice dazzling above the gentle piano melody and showcasing the maturity in his writing.
Inspired by the artists that soundtracked his youth, including Amy Winehouse and Stevie Wonder, as well as pop superstars such as Ed Sheeran and Frank Ocean, Ruel quickly made music his passion. Picking up the guitar and perfecting his rich, vocal tones, he carved out a sound rarely heard from artists his age and it wasn’t long before notable people came knocking on his door. After a demo of his landed in the hands of GRAMMY Award-winning producer, M-Phazes, he was teamed up with some of Australia’s finest songwriters, including Julia Stone of brother-sister folk duo, Angus & Julia Stone. Not long after the release of 'Golden Years', his collaboration with M-Phazes, Ruel found himself being interviewed by Elton John for his Beats 1 show and named as the support for Khalid’s Australian headline tour. Not bad for someone who was yet to turn 15.
Ruel’s debut EP, Ready, arrived in the summer of 2018 via RCA Records and featured ‘Don’t Tell Me’ alongside other standout singles, ‘Dazed & Confused’ and ‘Younger’. The EP then preceded a year of phenomenal achievements for the star, becoming the youngest male ever to sell out the Sydney Opera House (twice) and the youngest recipient in history to win the prestigious Breakthrough Artist Of The Year gong at the ARIA Awards.
It wasn’t long before the rest of the world caught on with Ruel’s extraordinary talent either, with Time Magazine, NYLON and Paper Magazine all exclaiming their praise for Ready. The EP’s R&B grooves are interlaced with subtle guitar melodies to create soaring pop ballads that resonate with just about anybody who’ll listen. Above it all, though, is his voice. Ruel’s vocal capacity is quite frankly astonishing, flipping between deep, soulful growls and dreamy falsetto with ease, it’s the standout component of each and every song.
Whilst Ready continues to rack up millions of streams globally, Ruel is firing ahead with its follow-up, Free Time, which landed in September following a year of sold out shows on all corners of the earth. Building upon what he started with his debut, Ruel approached the new songs with a clearer creative mind, leaning on his fresh life experience to guide him in the studio. Teaming up again with M-Phazes, the result is seven stunning songs that see Ruel open up his soul to the world. From the funk-infused lead single, ‘Painkiller’ to the beautiful melancholy of ‘Unsaid’, this EP shows every side of his emotions and he’s poured everything into creating an honest, relatable piece of art.
Currently taking in all the world has to offer amid Free Time’s supporting world tour, Ruel is taking in venues that many artists could only dream of playing in their lifetime and it’s quite incredible to see the impact his music is having on the live circuit. Returning to the UK this month, he’ll be stopping by O2 Institute Birmingham, where he’s had to upgrade to the venue’s main room due to overwhelming demand. So, if all of this has you intrigued about Australia’s hottest viral export, then make sure you grab your tickets quick and revel in the fact that you get to experience Ruel before he takes 2020 by the horns and makes it his own.
O2 Institute Birmingham: Tuesday 26 November Buy Tickets
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