The UK’s leading Soul Singer, Ruby Turner tells singers to take control.
If you’ve been lucky enough to witness Ruby Turner live in concert, you’ve noticed that her band is right behind her vocal drive. What do singers need to do to improve their performance relationship with their backing band? VoiceCouncil pursues Ruby on this essential question.
Do you expect your band to be as passionate as you are?
People have to be themselves, but you hope that you have like-minded players behind you. I do demand a lot from my unit. I drive really hard. There’s no going through the motions here. Feel it, believe it, deliver it.
So your band has no choice?
Of course they have the choice stay or to go if it’s not for them. The realities are that musicians do a lot of traveling and when we get to our gigs we’re usually exhausted. At the same time, I will not compromise: people have paid to see us so we had better find that little extra and when I shift into 5th gear on stage, the band had better be shifting with me. I’m not talking about ruthlessness; I’m talking about staying with me in the heat, in the passion. This is what I am and this is what I do.
Have you always been able to be up-front with what you need from those around you or did this develop over time?
This ability to take a stand has always been there but it took time,years and confidence for it to come to the forefront. I spent a long time listening and learning—a very important part of this business. After nearly 30 years I’ve gained a lot of experience; and I’ve watched a lot of other artists and I know what is and what’s not for me. “It” may be selling millions, but if it doesn’t light my fire, I won’t be going down that route. It has to be real and it has to feel right. When I walk out onto that stage, I make no apologies for who I am or what I’m about to do.
What advice would you give to vocalists who may need to be more assertive?
In this business you get so many advisors it’s hard to know who, or what is right. There are times when you have to say: “Thank you but I go alone on this!”. You have to seize the reins and be fully responsible for your work. There were times when I listened to everybody—this is right because you need to hear things—but there comes a point when you have to follow your own path.
Is your new Gospel album “I’m Travelling On” an example of this?
Yes. It’s a departure from other albums. I’m co-producing it and I did all the vocals. I just took complete control—not because I am a control freak but because I’m passionate about this project and I felt that I had to shape every aspect of it. Remember, some people will want to find fault, that’s just how things are. Some will like it, some will not, but you will know that you’ve been true to yourself.
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