Ruthie Foster’s new album, Let it Burn, is out! We’re all excited and decided to post this interview with Ruthie to give you a taste of what she’s about. LA Times wrote a blog about her upcoming album, here’s the link: Let it Burn
What’s playing in your iPod right now?
I have Sheryl Crow, Billie Holiday, Eminem and Annie Lennox in rotation right now on my iPod. It changes, depends on whether I’m working out or just chillin.
One of my favorite albums of yours is Crossover. I like it because it seemed like you wanted to do something different with your music. It’s more acoustic and seems to delve into the Indie realm. What brought about that album and the change in sound?
My Crossover CD really was about getting the songs that didn’t belong to any particular genre out and I wanted them to be heard; so because of economic reasons I did it at my home studio. “To The Fallen” was written in memory of the 12 Texas A & M students who were killed while building the homecoming bonfire when it fell. On a lighter note if you listen to it with headphones on you may also hear my cats on the other side of the door protesting my locking them out of the room so I could put down my vocal tracks!
I noticed that in the press you’re often compared to Ella Fitzgerald and Aretha Franklin. What do you say to that?
I do admire both Ella Fitzgerald (saw her perform at Radio City Music hall once, I used the money I’d saved to get my apartment electricity turned on…money well spent I’d say and I was happy to sit in the dark after seeing Ella live!). I also grew up listening to a lot of Aretha so maybe in some way I might be channeling these particular women through my own voice. It’s nice to be recognized in this way.
I read that your music started in the church but do you feel that there was a cultural influence to your music? Do you believe culture influences music?
I got my taste in music through blood and culture. I’m a child of the 70’s variety tv shows when a lot of artists did all kinds of music. When the lines between genres were blurred quite a bit. Variety shows and musicians would swing and twang all in one hour. My family were farmers who loved country music, one of my uncles was a trucker who loved soul and r&b who passed down records to me. My older cousins were always listening to funk music and my dad is a huge Howling Wolf and Lightnin’ Hopkins fan.
The message you convey through your music is “stay true to yourself” which I think really speaks to the college students here. What brought about that message?
The message about staying true to yourself is the lesson that I’ve learned and remind myself of in this industry. There is true joy and freedom in just being who you really are. I find that the people who pick up on this energy let their guards go down and they find themselves enjoying more of everyday life. If you neglect this part of yourself you’re not only denying your own happiness and the joy of discovering what you’re here on earth to do but you’re denying others who could truly benefit from it as well. We are all here to do phenomenal things.