Canada never ceases to amaze us as new talent consistently emerges before our eyes. 25-year-old singer and songwriter Ruben Young is among the talent-filled country. Born in Calgary, Ruben has a unique, seductive voice that is mesmerizing. After placing top 50 in Canadian Idol at 16-years-old, being a finalist in VSE Hleda Talent (Prague Czech Republic), and performing over a hundred shows in Canada, the singer is now ready to release his debut project “The Bad Habits EP” which depicts a story of lust and struggle to free oneself from a toxic relationship.
Check out Ruben’s interview with RnB magazine below.
Let’s talk about your debut project “The Bad Habits EP.” What’s the concept behind the title and your favorite song?
I can’t say too much about the EP since it’s not out yet, but at its core… I think everyone has experienced the wrong type of love. The toxic kind. The kind that you latch onto despite knowing that it’s just bad for you. Love is supposed to bring out the best in you, so once you’ve reached the point that it’s doing the opposite to you, it needs to end. If it doesn’t – it’s become an addiction – a bad habit. I had one for a very long time, and this EP is a peek into that experience.
The project tells a unique story about love and lust. Can you go deeper into the concept and how does this relate to your own life?
The EP is about the most dangerous girl I’ve ever met. She was my bad habit, and she knew it.
At what moment did you realize music was something you wanted to pursue?
I can’t credit it to one moment. I’ve loved music since I was a kid, and as I’ve grown up, it’s grown to become a part of me – my identity, my routine, my therapy. In 2014, once I graduated university, I created a “50 Days of Summer” experiment – where I would perform live, or online for 50 straight days. The experiment actually paid off. It earned me some national media buzz, a Top 40 radio endorsement and I even got free beer for the summer, so by the end I figured I better keep rolling with this thing. Honestly, I hadn’t taken my career seriously until 2015 when I really dove into co-writing and creating – that’s when it all changed – that’s when I really became crazy about it.
You appeared on Canadian idol. Can you tell me about your decision to audition and what that experience was like?
I had just turned 16, which was the minimum age. My mom took me to audition and I had super low expectations. The next thing I knew, I was in Toronto surrounded by all of these insanely talented singers, up until 5:00am trying to learn a CCR song like it was life or death. I was eventually cut somewhere around the top 50, which was a crazy experience as one of the youngest singers there. My
mom ended up getting more TV time than I did, but as soon as I came home, I started my first band – so the experience definitely had an impact on me.
A lot of artists are going back to school. You earned your Bcomm finance degree from the University of Calgary. How did you balance school and music?
My time at The University of Calgary was definitely a grind. For the most part, that period of my life meant long days, and random naps whenever I could fit them in. I was a full-time student bartending 4 nights a week, and played in 2 bands. I don’t think there’s a right answer for how to balance it all – but I think that’s what University is really for – it forces you to figure it out for yourself. But I wanted to understand the world of finance so that I can apply it to my day to day, and to my businesses in the
future. I’m lucky that it all worked out.
You founded 50 Days of Summer. Can you tell me more about the process of starting your own festival? How stressful was it?
The festival is called 50 Days YYC.
50 Days was a huge undertaking. I obviously knew I would have my hands full going into a project this big, but projects like that come with more than their fair share of curve balls. Yes, some days were absolute nightmares, but it was the learning experience of a lifetime, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. At the end of the day, I am proud that I turned a dream – something that really kept me up at night, into a reality. I’m excited to build more projects like 50 Days YYC throughout my career.
Who are some artists you’re currently listening to?
Jon Bellion, Raphael Saadiq, Mura Masa, Kanye West, Gallant.
What’s the best advice you’ve received and given someone?
Get to know yourself. Find what makes you tick – what makes you – you, and then pursue that. Spend your time trying to become the best YOU possible. Put in the work, sacrifice some things, go through the ups and the down.
What’s next for you? Any touring coming up or upcoming collaborations we can look forward to?
Work. Work. Work. I have a lot of work to do. For now, I am dedicated to releasing “The Bad Habits EP”. I have put 2 years into creating this record, so I want to make sure it reaches as many new ears as possible. We’ll see where things end up from there.
Is there anything else you would like to say/add?
My debut single “Take Her Down” is available for download and stream everywhere now (iTunes, Spotify, etc…). It reached #29 on iTunes Canada’s Pop Chart and has been shared by publications like Dancing Astronaut. It blends influence from Adele to RL Grime – combining a James Bond, cinematic feel with future synths and trap elements. It is also a part of an international remix competition with
Interviewed by: Simone Grant