Ruth B — short for Berhe — is a shining example of a Canadian music success story that any Searchlight hopeful can aspire to. That's why she's a natural fit to be one of our celebrity judges this year.
The 21 year old has an exciting few months coming up, including the release of her reworked single "Superficial Love," a performance at the Juno Awards and a seat on our jury for the Searchlight finale on CBC TV. When asked how she would describe the whirlwind of the last few months, she says "intense, in the best way."
She is currently working on her first full length album, which is set to be released in spring/summer of this year. The reworked version of "Superficial Love," a song she released acoustically as part of her EP in 2015, is a hint of what's to come. "Half of the album is going to be just me and the piano and half of the album will be a more produced sound. I always want to stay true to my roots but I definitely want to leave room to grow and evolve my sound," she says.
The newly released lyric video matches the song's bubbly and colourful makeover. "I wanted to give it a new life and have people hear it the way I envisioned it."
The Edmonton singer's rise to popularity all started on the video-sharing platform Vine. She garnered thousands (later millions) of fans by posting six-second videos singing covers of her favorite songs as well as originals. There was one clip that got far more attention than any other, as she sang a verse inspired by ABC's fantasy series, Once Upon a Time. There was something about that combination of words (referring to Peter Pan) and her keyboard that got 84,000 likes within a week.
She turned that verse into her first single "Lost Boy," which would change everything for the songstress in 2015. The independently recorded single shot up the charts and recorded millions of views on YouTube. The official video for "Lost Boy" currently has over 46,000,000 views and landed her in the Top 100 on iTunes.
As her popularity continues to rise, she says she still loves being in her room and playing her keyboard. "I don't think I'm ever going to lose that. It's really important to remain in tact with where you started regardless of where you're going," she says.
Ruth B says she is inspired by her Edmonton-upbringing and if you look hard enough, you can hear that come through in her music. "The fact that I grew up in Edmonton has influenced the way that I write and the people that I've met are a huge part of my songs and my writing. As a kid from Canada, any time you get to rep your country, it's always a good feeling."
She can really relate to the thousands of artists that are hoping to stand out and take their music to the next level through Searchlight. That's one of the reasons she's looking forward to being involved as a judge in the finale.
"I'm most excited to be immersed in talent and be surrounded by really creative people. I think I'm going to learn and take away from it as much as any contestant will."
While she feels like she was just in their shoes not too long along, Ruth B passed along some advice for those competing in Searchlight. "The best songs come from people that are really honest when they sing," she says. "You can feel their emotion as they tell you a story and picture it in your head."
To see more from this year's Searchlight artists, go to cbcmusic.ca/searchlight.
Follow Monika Platek on Twitter: @MonikaPlatek