Catching Elin Ruth’s Bang featured video on a site out of the corner of my eye a few weeks ago, I couldn’t look away. There was immediate charisma and magnetism that swiftly held my attention. Fierce, feisty, raspy, tatted pin-up style, there’s an instant authenticity felt when listening to her music, often missing from those in the pop arena. Channeling the spirit of rock ‘n rolling females (Wanda Jackson and Sheryl Crow to name a few) of those who came before, this Swedish born and raised songstress’ been turning heads and garnering attention recently in her new adopted homeland for her latest self-titled album, Elin Ruth, released on her own label, Divers Avenue Music, which she founded in 2009.
I caught up with Elin right before she shot her next video to ask about her style, tattoos, latest album and more! Check out her answers below and follow Elin on Twitter and Facebook for more info on upcoming tour dates!
What would someone be surprised to know about you?
I can eat fire!
Name four things you couldn’t live without.
Family. Voice. Nature. Beer.
Can you remember your first musical memory?
My father had a recording studio in the garage when I grew up. He would record his own music there, but local bands and artists would also come in to lay down their tracks. I used to love sneaking out there, silently listening, and watching my dad work the reel-to-reel tape recorder. I remember thinking there was something magical about music studios, and I can still get that feeling when I walk into one.
When did you first start writing?
I had played the piano since I was four, but it was more classical stuff, and it didn’t really inspire me to write songs. In my teens though, I picked up a guitar for the first time and started fiddle around with it. It opened up a whole new world to me. The guitar inspired me to write songs and the songwriting inspired me to become a better guitarist. It instantly got addictive and I spent most of my time up in my room with my red guitar as my only company.
When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
I’ve always been involved with music in one way way or another. I played piano and flute and was constantly singing as a child. But I didn’t know what I wanted to “do” or “be” even by the time I graduated from high school. I remember feeling very lost and overwhelmed, not understanding how all my classmates instantly knew what path they wanted to take, which college they wanted to go to and what not. But I did know I wanted to get out of my hometown. So I moved to Stockholm when I was 19, and started to play shows and giving my music a whirl. The more I did it, the clearer it became to me – I knew what I wanted to do, and I kept doing it.
Your self-titled album came out on January 29th here in the U.S. What is the concept behind the album?
Exploration. I didn’t worry so much about a red line in the lyrics or a particular sound that links all the songs together – I experimented more on this album. I was more interested in letting each song take off in its own direction. I’m played most of the instruments myself when I recorded it, which I think gives it a special sound. Some instruments I’m good at, others not – but I didn’t care. I was after a feeling, not perfection.
Who are your musical heroes?
Bob Dylan for his songwriting and poetry. Wanda Jackson for her voice and her built-in rock ‘n roll.
You have some ink, quite a few tattoos. Which one is your favorite?
My tattoos are all little memories from trips or from certain periods of my life. My favorites right now are the big red roses on my feet. I had them done back in Sweden, right before I left for New York.
You took a break from music for a while. Why did you do this?
I got burnt out, from working too hard, from pressure and performance anxiety, and from trying to control everything around me. I had to take a step back from the whole music industry and focus on something else for a while.
You have very cool fashion sense. How would you describe your style?
Oh thanks! As well as I’m into picking up influences from old music, I’m also very into fashion from the mid-century. 1920´s-1950’s fashion and hairstyles inspire me a lot. I’m not afraid of wearing colors, patterns and crazy up-do’s. I’m a tall lady so I tend to draw attention anyways, so there´s no point in even trying to hide.
What do you have planned for the rest of 2013?
I’m going to Sweden to do some shows this summer, and then I’m hoping to be able to put a little tour together in the US as well. I’m also planning on starting to work on my next album towards the end of the year.