19-year-old recording artist Reuby makes music to fix you

19-year-old recording artist Reuby makes music to fix you

New singing sensation talks about his music dreams, and how helping out a friend opened the door to his own success


Reuby was at crossroads two years ago but he's moving in the right direction now.
Reuby was at crossroads two years ago but he's moving in the right direction now.
Photo: Warner Music

Reuby may well be the Singaporean version of George Ezra. Like the Budapest singer, he's got a handsome face, plays the guitar and sings with a deep voice that sounds older than he really is.

"Oh, only one person has ever compared me to George Ezra ... actually I only found out about [him] through that one person," he says, slightly guiltily.

Having grown up being mostly home-schooled and taught by his mother to play classical piano, the 19-year-old singer told Young Post how surreal it is to be a pop artist signed to a major music label. He could hardly believe it when he got to step into a recording studio and hold his first physical album.

Released late last year, Reuby's self-titled debut contains tracks such as My Sunshine, Free, and the Christian hymn As the Deer.

Two years ago, Reuby had finished his education, and was at a crossroads. He was an aspiring musician, but music school was so expensive (he had his sights on Berklee, a school in Boston, USA) that he thought about just giving up and going to Bible college instead.

But then one day he got a text from a friend that changed everything.

The kids want to rock out at Lion Rock

"She said, 'Hey can you help me do a duet and play the guitar for this audition video?'

I said OK," recalls Reuby. They covered Pixie Lott's Mama Do; when Warner Music saw the video, they decided to sign Reuby right away. His friend was left out in the cold, but she wasn't mad. "We're still friends," laughs Reuby. "She's happy for me."

With his new record deal, he enrolled in a music school in Singapore for vocal training. "My teacher was like, you sing OK, you sing in tune," he says. "But I was using the wrong technique, which could damage my voice."

As a songwriter, Reuby is inspired by other people's experiences. His first song, Man in the Mirror, was written during a jam session with some school friends when he was 15. "The song is about being confident in yourself, rising above that self-insecurity," he explains. "My friends felt insecure about themselves, and the song is to uplift them."

The song has a similar message to Coldplay's Fix You, Reuby's favourite track ever. "Whenever I'm sad, when I fight with a friend or if I'm heartbroken, I listen to the song. I'm looking for someone to fix me," he says. "There's just something about the combination of the melody and the words that gets to me."

Reuby's never had a girlfriend, but his crush on a girl he met at a coffee shop inspired The Key to Her Heart, a rare song he wrote based on his own feelings. "She was quite reserved. So I asked my mum, how do I get to know a girl?"

The answer? Be genuine. "Don't let her catch you being someone else / Make sure she knows you're the guy you seem to sell," go the lyrics.

Being genuine is also the best way to deal with mistakes, says Reuby. At one gig, fans requested a song he wasn't familiar with. He got on stage, and began singing in the wrong key. He panicked and forgot the lyrics, and just stood there for at least 30 seconds. Talk about an awkward silence! "But then I said sorry and started again. It was OK," says Reuby. "I take my mistakes with a pinch of humour. Everybody's human after all."

Reuby's dream is to one day perform in London's Wembley Stadium. He's got a long way to go, but he's definitely moving in the right direction.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Making music to fix you


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