Focus: Ruth Patterson | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Last week, BBC Music Introducing In The North East announced their top tips for 2021, so we fired across some questions this year’s picks to find out more about them. First up is Newcastle-based singer-songwriter and composer Ruth Patterson.

Who are you?
Ruth Patterson. I grew up on the North Yorkshire moors and moved to Newcastle to study Fashion Design in 2010 and have been involved in the music scene here since.

What is it you do?
I’m a singer, songwriter, musician and composer – I play piano, violin and clarinet. As a wheelchair user, I’m also a passionate activist and ambassador for Attitude Is Everything, a charity who campaigns to improve deaf and disabled people’s access to live music. I’ve also recently been announced as an ambassador for the Feature Artist Coalition, the UK trade body who represent the specific rights of music artists within the industry.

How long have you been doing it?
In 2019 I launched myself as a solo artist and over the last 12 months I’ve been exploring, experimenting and developing who I am and what I want to say. It’s been super interesting, especially within the context and limitations of the pandemic. I was shielding for the most part of 2020 and I really had to look inside myself to work out what I want to make, rather than look to other people and other places for influence. It was a weird and difficult year (I guess it was for everyone) but rewarding, I think!

Before that I was the lead singer for folk-rock band ‘Holy Moly & The Crackers’, touring pretty much non-stop since 2015.  We’ve played gigs and festivals all over the UK and Europe and had music in TV and film. A particular highlight was when our song Cold Comfort Lane, which I co-wrote with Rosie (sax and accordion), was used in the Oceans 8 film. We got to go to the red-carpet premiere and drank champagne on the front row five seats along from Helena Bonham Carter. That was pretty cool – Ha! 

What inspires you?
Ooof, tough question. I think anything can be an inspiration and I just try and look at things in the right way, from the right angle. And when I find that inspiration I write in my most honest voice and dig out the truth of the subject, whatever I perceive that truth to be. I find that so much of life is about pretending or portraying an elevated version and songwriting is like the antidote to that.

Tell us about your music.
My first three singles (I’d Give It All, Sink Or Swim, Somebody Else) have been centred around emotive piano and strings instrumentation. It’s where I naturally go when I’m writing and arranging. Someone described the songs as ‘baroque-pop’ which I thought was a pretty cool description. Recently I’ve been working with beats and synths to open up different vibes and emotions in my work – a little more grit and edge. I’m collaborating with lots of new musicians and producers so it’s pretty exciting. Because of the pandemic me and my partner had to build a little home studio and a lot of the collabs have been remote. Obviously, that throws up a lot of limitations but in a way it’s cool to make music in different ways and it’s taken me out of my comfort zone.

What have you got coming up in the future?
I am writing and producing my debut EP at the moment and I’m planning to release the first single in the next couple of months. It’s really hard to know when gigs will be back but I’m hoping to tour the EP in the autumn. I’m also working on an exciting collaboration project at Sage Gateshead in February which should be announced really soon, so keep an eye out for that. 

Where can people find out more about you?
I got all the usuals:


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