A relative newcomer on the London music scene, the wonderfully honest, introspective, and talented Talulah Ruby is back with the release of her second single, “I Don’t Feel Like Me.” Growing up on the small Spanish island of Lanzarote, her latest track tackles the internal pressures faced when making the move from a small island to the bustling city of London. “Lyrically, it resonated with where I was in my head at that time, which wasn’t so clear.” With its meditative and personal mood, “I Don’t Feel Like Me” draws upon feelings of isolation, dislocation and self-doubt, telling one individual’s story in a universal and relatable manner. Talulah Ruby’s voice holds an organic sound that beautifully captures the essence of her raw, honest, and narrative-driven lyrics.
The vulnerability we hear in her latest track contrast to what we have heard from Talulah before. Her previous release, “Hot Water,” tackles hugs topics and holds a large responsibility while covering globally recognised themes. It is a track with a complex fusion of genres and inventive constructions, commanded by controlled vocals and an important narrative message. Written in the third person, her debut single is essentially a conversation about Mother Nature. It is a combination of minimalism and traditional soul tones, paying homage to her hometown, Lanzarote, and the battles it faces from the effects of climate change.
With her varied musical influences, Talulah Ruby blends live instruments and analogue electronic equipment as a backdrop for her soulful vocals. Using her platform as a musician to discuss both personal and global themes, the future is bright for our new London-local. “London excites me. And I am excited to be a musician within London.” We got chatting to our new favourite musician to find out more about her current musical endeavours and her possible plans for the future.
How are you? Where does this interview find you? What have you got planned for the rest of the day?
“I’m well, thanks! I’m currently sitting at the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch, getting things done, then I’m going to visit my mate at Arcola Theatre and maybe watch a show later.”
I absolutely love “I Don’t Feel Like Me”! How was the writing and recording process for this track?
“Thank you! I wrote the track in my flat on Kingsland Road with my friend Julien. We created the soundbed using an Indonesian tongue drum then started recording interesting sounds of things I had lying around the flat. So, the basis was super organic and a really enjoyable one to write. Lyrically, it resonated with where I was in my head at that time, which wasn’t so clear. We recorded everything ourselves.”
It is more introspective and personal; is this the sort of music you want to continue making in the future?
“I think I’ll always change my perspective as a writer. There will be more personal tracks, but I work conceptually, so it depends on my position in the concept. At times, I am the main character and other times, they will have nothing to do with me.”
The track stemmed from a place of isolation after making the move to London. Could you talk a little bit more about this move and how you are enjoying London?
“It’s definitely a contrast to my beloved island, but I love London. London is such a unique place. Where else in the world can you go to an electronic rave at a modern museum, wind up at a blues jam, end the night with a patty, start the next day with a walk on the canal, a salt beef bagel and a free drink thanks to the ever trusty DUSK app?! London is madness.”
As a solo artist, how do you deal with internal pressures and self-criticism? What actions do you implement to stay positive and motivated daily?
“This is a hard one to answer as clearly, I’m still figuring it out. I would say staying busy is the best thing; ultimately you need to have no doubt in your mind that you are the right person to do your job. I think there are core doubts and surface doubts. If you’re doubting on a core level then I really don’t know what to suggest, but if it’s surface then it will pass (surely?).”
What do you make of the London music scene and where do you see yourself fitting into it?
“I think London has a LOT of different music scenes. I think there’s a very high standard of musicianship in certain pockets, but I feel, ultimately, people appreciate the real meaning of music and fully commit to it here. I don’t have that many other cities to compare it to, maybe that’s a universal thing. I hope so. But London excites me. And I am excited to be a musician within London. I want to work alongside as many music scenes as possible and work towards a genre-less career…”
How do you feel like the process of writing/recording “I Don’t Feel Like Me” differed from the making of your last track, “Hot Water”?
“It was written with the same person so on paper maybe it seems similar, but emotionally, they stem from different feelings. Hot Water came from a chord progression, whereas “I Don’t Feel Like Me” felt different, it came from the actual sounds we were using. The vocals had a lot of room to be melodic and due to the amount of percussion we were using – as opposed to note based instruments – I initiated the tone based on my vocal performance.”
What is the starting point for you when making a track? Do you start with a beat or with a lyric?
“I’ll generally start with a couple of chords then write lyrics as I go along. I like synchronicity. It always starts with a feeling.”
After your last headline show at Dalston’s Servant Jazz, are you excited for your next one? What are the crowds like here in London?
“Of course! This next one is going to be really special. Playing live is my favourite thing about what I do, so all shows excite me! The last show sold out and quite a lot of my friends couldn’t make it so I’m really looking forward to having all my mates down to this one to celebrate.”
What is next for you? How do you plan to continue to use your music to spread a message, and reach as many people as possible?
“I plan on releasing and making more music! I’m working on a few projects at the moment which I’m really excited about. But in the meantime, I’m expanding my conversations and making sure I’m actively learning more about anything and everything. I may be a creative but ultimately, it’s the intellectuals that drive me. We, as artists, are free to voice whatever we want. And as long as I’m able, I intend to explore as many angles as I can. Perspective is a wonderful thing. In terms of reach, I have no fear of the spotlight, so I hope to reach a wide audience, but my ultimate goal is musical expansion, so now is the time for collaboration.”
“I Don’t Feel Like Me” Is out now and tickets to Talulah’s headline show at the Waiting Room are available here.