Straight out of Calgary, Alberta – comes rising soul-singer and songwriter, Ruben Young – who brings the savage out on his latest single release ‘Subtle Savage’ featuring Terrell Morris. Since his 2017 debut, the Rachel Green singer has released five tracks through his own label ‘Young and Lucky’ which in total have amassed over 5 millions streams. Last year, Ruben was nominated for Urban Artist of The Year at the Western Canadian Music Awards for his track ‘Bad Habits,’ produced by Canadian renowned rapper and producer, Classified. With all this on his back, Ruben is ready to take on the rest of the year with his forthcoming EP.
Currently based in Toronto the modern soul singer gives us a preview of his upcoming project, ‘Dreamstate’ EP, through his new single. Inspired by personal events from last year, Ruben gets in his feels on ‘Subtle Savage’ with the assist of Terrell Morris. With lyrics like “Baby you screwed yourself, like you came straight from hell” on the hook, Ruben doesn’t hold back from any cold lines. With the first look of ‘Dreamstate’ EP giving us a catchy, mid-tempo dance tune, we’re pumped to see what the tri-cultural talent has in store for us.
XMPL got the chance to interview Ruben Young, which has been featured in our third digital issue for summer 2019. In our interview, Ruben talks about his influences, his new single ‘Subtle Savage,’ ‘Dreamstate’ EP and more.
Read the full exclusive interview with Ruben Young and listen to ‘Subtle Savage’ featuring Terrell Morris below:
XMPL: What inspired you to be a soul singer and how did you find yourself merging it with pop?
Ruben Young: I grew up on Motown, R&B and hip-hop thanks to my mom and brother. You couldn’t really catch us not listening to Marvin, Luther, Raphael Saadiq, etc. growing up. I was just inspired by what those guys could do with their voices and wanted to emulate them. But pop and R&B just fit so damn well together. Michael, Usher, Pharrell, Justin Timberlake, Amy Winehouse – they’re more or less where my sound came from. I really wrote pop music first, and over the past few years I’ve returned to the soul roots that made me a music fan in the first place.
How do your influences inspire your music today?
It never stops. You hear records that make you stop what you’re doing and say “damn”. The older I get, the more I’m influenced by a combination of hip-hop lyricism, and that feeling that classic soul gives you. It’s genuine and literal, yet clever story telling, combined with sounds that just feel good and nostalgic. That’s why I love Anderson .Paak and Frank Ocean so much right now. I’m also starting to dig into my Trini roots and I’m finding a lot of inspiration in Soca. Like I said, it never stops.
Besides being a singer and entertainer, you’re also a very talented songwriter. What kind of perspective or mindset do you have when you’re writing for other artists?
Yo I appreciate that. I’ve worked really hard to grow as a writer over the past year so that compliment means a lot. Writing for other artists is a crazy process because it still requires me to bring myself and my own unique perspective and style into the song, but I just have to do it from the passenger seat. The song has to be the artist’s story, and if I’m in the room, it’s because they want my help telling it, not because they want me to tell it for them. I try to keep that perspective in the session, because I’ve been in many rooms where the co-writer is more focused on themselves, their ego, or one of many other natural inhibitors that keep the song from reaching its potential.
How did you come to co-write “Psycho” and how was it working with Delaney Jane?
D is amazing. The lyrics born in her brain are naturally so strong, writing with her feels easy. Psycho was a special session for me/my journey. It was our first one together and I’ll never forget how it happened. She told me she had one free week to write, and that she would be in LA. I’d wanted to work with her for so long, so when that window opened up, I told her I was also going to be in LA that week (I wasn’t, but I figured this was my shot, said fuck it and bought a flight later that night), got on a plane and went to her place to write. I sat at the piano, played some chords and literally the first words out of my mouth were “stuck in a cycle, psycho and I might go crazy”, and boom, haha. Her, Meron and I built it from there and finished the song that day. I’m also super proud to have Co-written another one from Delaney’s upcoming album.
You recently dropped “Subtle Savage” featuring Terrell Morris. Can you talk about the process that went behind this track?
Terrell changed the game for me. He’s probably one of my biggest influences of the last year because of his lyricism and approach. He always finds the freshest, most clever, yet most digestible way to say something. Plus straight up, he’s my brother – I swear if there was a past life, we were homies in it. We always seem to be on the same page, and I think we approach our business in a similar way. He’s my guy.
You will be releasing your new EP titled “Dreamstate,” what can listeners expect with this new project? Why did you choose name this EP “Dreamstate?”
This project is the result of my year last year – hopping on planes, writing as much music with as many incredible people as I could. It was also my first time really leaving Calgary for an extended period of time to work on music, so in a way, it was kind of the gateway era for me to grow as an artist, and to really start chasing my dream at a high-level. This EP is about exactly that – being in that middle ground between where you are and where you want to be in life. Though, this project is definitely more focused on love. It’s the exact same process of trying to find the one you’ve always dreamed about, and it’s also about the ones on the way that didn’t turn out to be her. I’d say listeners can expect a bouncy, modern, honest, clever and deep approach to the music my fans and I love – soul and pop with electro and hip hop influence.
Will there be any more features on this EP?
There are two features on Dreamstate – Terrell Morris and Hodgy Beats.
Are there any Canadian artists you’d like to collaborate with in the near future?
Yo, YES haha. That list is very long, but for now here’s a few: ToBi, Jessie Reyez, Lights, Drake obviously, and I would love to write with Justin Bieber. I love POMO, BADBADNOTGOOD and Busty and the Bass as well.