Music began as a story, a tale to a tune, if you will. It continued with legends and heroes from all cultures and all scrolls swirling amidst the melodies and harmonies that artists imagined. What once served as a sole purpose of memory has evolved into an art form limited by only the artists themselves. And now, music is as inserted into our culture as the necessity for clothing when in public. On the streets, in moving vehicles, during any and every activity, there is a soundtrack to match and an audience to play for. But whatever happened to that original purpose, the one with history at its core? Well, it seems they’ve all been forgotten for electric beats, love, and everything and anything to do with breakups.
Well, that is except for Ruby Rose Fox. An artist with a true fascination for history and documentaries, she’s revitalizing the core of music and there couldn’t be a better time for it. In a period when fear is the motivation for so many and misunderstanding is the fuel for so much, it’s important we remember, and it’s important we discuss. And what better round table than one made of music notes?
“I started singing as a kid,” Fox started, “But I mostly didn’t write at all. I was scared I couldn’t put ideas out there that mattered.” Fox refers to herself as a documentary junkie, reading and watching everything on anything that peeks her curiosity. When writing, “It’s usually just an interest or something that I feel is important to talk about and I’ll spend time with it. I usually know what the next thing is.”
I first discovered Ruby Rose Fox in concert with SoFar Sounds, an organization bringing back the underground music scene in a very contemporary and corporate fashion. Basically, to get that inside scoop on artists and locations, you just need to subscribe to their website and then cross your fingers, your heart, your hair, and any rabbit’s foot or four-leaf clover you can find to receive that email invitation to the event. They are currently set-up in cities worldwide and more are joining everyday.
To Fox, the SoFar concerts were reminiscent of her College days. “When I first started song writing, what was meant as a platform for friends and I to work on new work, eventually, it became this thing where seventy people showed up every time. But that’s where I started, in believing in the power of the living room, and that’s how it all came to be. It’s always so fun to be in an intimate setting, I believe in the power of the living room. I believe my music is meant for the living room, not a rock club.”
And, in someone’s living room, hosted by SoFar Sounds, is where I saw her. To say that when she first started left the room speechless, would be incredibly untrue. When she first started, you could hear the jaws dropping, the hoots of joy, and howls for that minor key. The audience wasn’t speechless, they were enamored with our headliner for the night.
Although Fox is no longer on tour, any fan would be excited to hear that Fox is back in the studio working on a new album. She plans to be done recording by October. Moving forward, “I think I definitely would like to be ‘well-known’ enough to be self-sustaining as an artist,” Fox explained. “I believe that is everyone’s goal. It’s definitely going to be a pop record, not to the extent the last one was. I’m just realizing more and more that I don’t necessarily want to make something everyone likes. I’d rather establish myself as a serious artist than a pop star. I think that’s where I’m going but who knows.”
Fox continued to explain, “As a writer, I think it can be dangerous to have an agenda with your music, because many times it turns into a protest song that’s not very good. Just from a writer’s perspective, it’s good to not have an agenda. As a human being in the world though, and how I can see music affects people, I know it has the effect of empowerment, healing, and open up emotional intimacy that it was perhaps closed for. So. I think as a writer, you have to be zen about it and have an agenda-less agenda.”
Following the agenda-less agenda, Fox has transformed complex stories and ideas into simple and memorable lyrics. Who else could tie together suffragettes and rainbows into a melody that haunts you from your mind to your fingertips? There is something eerie and transporting to Fox’s music, from the lyrics turn reenactments, the emotional tug of the vocals, and the all-together nostalgic feeling of the performance, at first listen you’re immediately hooked. You fingers play with the melody hours after first listen and continue until next. Although Fox may not come into her creative process with much of an agenda, her music speaks volumes for many.
There is one project, however, that Fox has a clear and vocal agenda with: Gifted. “It’s a voice lesson program for kids that can’t afford lessons,” Fox shares. “I’ve had a couple of grants out and just waiting to see. And with all the nazis and politicalness, I decided to just do something. So it works that people can donate one hundred dollars and I will either teach someone who can’t afford a lesson or if they are not into a type of music that I feel I can be their mentor, I will connect them to someone who can. We’ve only funded eleven so far. But it’s pretty exciting. I’m just excited to take action to remedy the inequality in the Boston Schools systems. Not that the music teachers aren’t working hard, but with lost funding, children are loosing their chance.” If you’re interested in donating to Gifted, you can find the page on Rube Rose Fox’s website.
To all her existing fans, Fox wanted to share, “I love them. I have a subscription service, basically for our biggest super fans, and I send them little vlogs every time I make some progress on this record. I made a vlog for everyday on this tour. I think they know how much I am just completely appreciative and overwhelmed for what they do. I think it’s just incredible how much they’ve done.”
As Fox continues to tell the stories from one to hundreds, I find myself to be more and more interested in her own. What tales will the oral historian uncover and is it possible to be more excited for the art to come?