- Words Cal McIntyre
- Photography Jess Farran
- Fashion & Interview Haile Lidow @ Lidow Archive
We get the lowdown from Ruby Amadelle - New York's latest starlet on the rise who is anything but a 'Brat'!
There’s something distinctly unique about Ruby Amadelle – looking at her face feels like looking at someone you’ve always known before. A warmth and timelessness exude from her crystal eyes.
When you hear her dreamy and poetic voice, however, is when you know that she’s the real deal. After the release of her latest track ‘Brat’, we thought it would be best to get fashion expert Haile Lidow to have a chat with the girl who is just about to break through into her own destiny. If you feel like you’re new to Ruby Amadelle, then you’re probably not. Ruby has been touring with her big bro, Gus Dapperton, since his meteoric rise from bedroom Lo-Fi star to pop wunderkid. The talent that runs in the family definitely doesn’t skip any genes that’s for sure.
Ready to step into her own stoplight, be prepared to be seeing a lot more Ruby from now on.
HAILE: Okay, so you’re in Europe right now. I just woke up in New York and you had almost a full day. Tell me a little bit about your tour… how’s it going?
AMADELLE: It’s going really well, this tour that we’re doing right now is mostly a European summer festival run, but we have a headline show today, and those are nice because we can load in late, chill all day, and get some good sleep. So it’s been a nice relaxing day.
HAILE: What do you do in downtime when you’re in a new country?
AMADELLE: We do a lot of stuff, sometimes we’ll all hang out together and just play pool all day. A lot of times I just like to take walks and not look at where I’m going. Just explore the streets. I love to see all the architecture, the churches, the streets, and little cafes. A lot of the smaller cities are just so beautiful, and they’re just so old, so it’s really different than America.
HAILE: Yeah, so you like to explore without a plan. Do you apply that philosophy to your music and your performance, where it evolves from just starting and then seeing where it’s going, instead of having a plan?
AMADELLE: Yes, definitely. I mean a lot of the times it translates directly over. Tour is when I really get in tune with my myself, because I do have that downtime in new, beautiful places where I just take time to breathe, soak it in, and reflect. I often just write for so long, I mean I write every single day in my journal. When I come home I look back on all that and kind of form it into my music.
HAILE: Whoa that’s cool. So the lyrics are not necessarily like you’re writing lyrics in your journal, you’re just writing in your journal and then the lyrics come from processing them… or is it both?
AMADELLE: Well me and my brother do it a couple of different ways together, so sometimes he’ll show me a beat that he really likes and be like, “would you like to sing over this?” and of course I’m like “yes.” I then hear the mood and hear where I want to go with it, but other times I’m just composing myself and sitting down at the piano. I’ll just go back through my journal, and I mostly write in letter form or poem form and then take pieces of what I was feeling at that moment and try to fully grasp that feeling in the song.
HAILE: So tell me about your name, Ruby Amadelle.
AMADELLE: It’s actually my great grandmother’s name. When I was younger I was always obsessed with the idea of changing my name. I heard my great grandmother’s name and I started putting it as my middle name. I always would sign my name like that because I loved it so much. Then as I was evolving with music I knew that I wanted a different stage name. My brother and I just, kind of with each other, unspokenly knew that was it. I’ve always just resonated with it.
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HAILE: That’s so sweet, you’re carrying on the spirit. Where does Megan Rice end and Ruby Armadale begin? Do you believe you have to “kill” Megan in order to fully become Ruby or can you be both?
AMADELLE: People often ask me that because sometimes I introduce myself as Ruby, and sometimes as Amadelle, and sometimes I just introduce myself as Megan but for me I kind of just think that I embody both. I think Ruby Amadelle is who I am as an artist and that’s who I want to represent me and Megan is who I grew up as. Hearing “Megan” or “Meg” reminds me of home and my close family and friends. I introduce myself as that to people when I know that they’re going to be in my life for a while. Whereas if I’m meeting a group of people or fans I’ll introduce myself as Ruby Amadelle because that’s who I am as an artist, and that’s who I’ve grown into now.
HAILE: I love that. How much of Megan do you put in your music? When you’re writing in your journal do you write as Megan or do you write as Ruby?
AMADELLE: I guess I would say it’s a mixture of both. I mean I see them as synchronized humans, synchronized people, working together and they experience the same things but process and express them in different ways. Megan is like my close inner self that is way more vulnerable whereas Ruby is the harder shell on the outside.
HAILE: So when you’re kind of transforming into Ruby from Megan, how do you get into character?
AMADELLE: I would say I’m pretty much that person all the time. I’m confident with or without makeup, but makeup to me is like an outlet of peace. I use it as if I were painting. So if I’m going to put on makeup I take a lot of time, simply because I want to. Every night before a show, I put on makeup and I’ll do something different every single time. And that’s just me taking a few moments for myself to find peace before the commotion starts.
HAILE: Speaking of makeup, the first time I met you, you were doing hair and makeup on a shoot I was styling and I had no idea that you were a musician or anything, I thought that you were a makeup artist because you were so good at it. So what are your other hidden talents?
AMADELLE: That’s so funny because I never really saw myself as being good at makeup, I never did it the proper way, I always just liked experimenting with colours even if they didn’t match. So Jess started asking me to help her do the makeup on shoots and I loved it, I do love it, I think it’s so fun. But I actually grew up doing a lot of different things. I definitely wouldn’t say I’m a dancer but I love to dance. I’ll go anywhere just so that I can dance.
HAILE: Do you think you’ll stay Ruby forever? Or do you think she’ll become part of a transformative crew of alter egos?
AMADELLE: That could definitely be possible, I haven’t even thought of that but I am very aware that I’m young and the experiences that I’ve had so far I’ve put into Ruby Amadelle but as I progress, as I get older, as I learn more, and evolve maybe that will shape into a whole different persona.
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HAILE: Who are some non-musical artists who inspire your sound?
AMADELLE: Well, I am most affected by the people that I love around me. My brother, my boyfriend, and Jess are all amazing artists that inspire me most every day. Jess is a huge one, as soon as I met Jess I learned so much, in all aspects of life. I thought about a lot of things but she opened my eyes to teach me about them. She was the first woman mentor that I’ve ever had. She’s extremely hardworking and just truly so authentic, so I really look up to her. She helps me a lot with understanding the visual aspect of it too. She just helps me a lot with everything.
HAILE: That’s so sweet I’m gonna cry. So you just had your new single, “Brat,” come out. What’s the brattiest thing about Ruby?
AMADELLE: Haha! The funny thing is when my brother was mixing the song he surprised me and put in a sample of Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka screaming, who’s considered a brat. My first lead in drama club when I was little was Veruca. It was the most fun character for me to play. I do really try to be kind to people, but in times that people are being mistreated and I see it I definitely am really outspoken.
HAILE: Do you think that helped how you write your songs and express yourself as well as how you perform them?
AMADELLE: Yes. I learned to perform live songs that were really hard for me. I didn’t learn by going into the studio first, I was used to it being one chance, one take that had to be perfect. So I think now I actually tend to write songs that are really hard for me to sing. I like to try to push my limits every time. When my brother and I go into the studio together, I’ll often just sing the entire song through and those usually end up being the best takes because I have the time to use dynamics to portray emotion and fully get into whatever character I’m playing.
HAILE: So we took these photos on a whim eight months ago just for fun, and they wound up being your single art… What said “Brat” about these photos?
AMADELLE: The funny thing is when we took them we didn’t really think much of it. I remember just being so happy that day because we all got to express ourselves. We all had so much freedom to do whatever we wanted. You got to dress me in all of the things you wanted to dress me in and Jess got to shoot the photos how she wanted with the art direction she wanted, and I was in clothes and makeup, in an environment that I felt so good in. We had these photos for a while, but never forgot about them and when I made this song, Jess was just like “that’s it.” They’re just bold and vibrant in a lot of ways, which fits perfectly with Brat.
HAILE: So what, if anything, has changed about Ruby since we took those photos?
AMADELLE: That’s a good question. That shoot changed a lot for me because I had never really been in that environment before. I had these two talented, strong women supporting me, empowering me. That was such an amazing experience. I was already confident and knew what I wanted to be and who I wanted to be, but that just solidified it for me because I was really being Ruby Amadelle during that shoot.
HAILE: So you just turned 19 which is really crazy to me because you just really have your shit together, are you the type of person who can’t wait to get older or do you really kind of bask in your youth?
AMADELLE: A lot of basking. I try to live in the present and enjoy each moment and embrace every feeling; bad or good. I never think about my age because I am surrounded by a lot of people who are older than me, and no one usually asks me my age. Sometimes when people do ask me my age I stumble on my words because I just don’t think about it that much. I don’t believe that age brings maturity. It’s all about experiences and learning from them. So hopefully this new age brings more new experiences.