In this exclusive interview, afro-soul singer, Ruby Gyang, whose hits included Down and Good Man, talks about her inspiration, why she is not bothered about being mainstream and her relationship with the Abaga boys, MI and Jesse Jagz.
Tell us about yourself
I am Ruby Gyang, a soul R n B artiste. I am signed to Chocolate City, from Benue State, Tiv by tribe but I grew up in Jos; I am a J-town girl. I have been doing music for a long time. I moved to Lagos in 2010 to pursue music full time.
How has it been so far?
It has been wonderful and tough at the same time. I do what people call alternative music and when I first started, lots of people told me, it can't work. But I stood my ground and I was like, "we will make it work." Much respect to the music they do now but this is my own thing. There are other people who love this kind of music. I have been pushing it for the past five years.
Who/what inspired your kind of music?
I am inspired by lots of things; y experiences, experiences of others, especially relationship issues, struggle and triumphing over obstacles , dealing with tough times and coming out strong and better . I'm inspired by other artistes I love too - Mary J Blige and Miriam Makeba who is my greatest inspiration not only music wise but because she is the first African to have won a Grammy in 1969. I have always wanted to be like her.
Why so much love songs?
Love is close to a woman’s heart. Relationships are important to use. I am interested in love, the way a man and a woman relate.
Are you in a relationship?
No, I am not. I am single, open and searching.
You were friends with MI and Jesse Jagz long before Chocolate City, how did you all meet?
It was 2002; I was attending a church in which I was a chorister. Jesse Jagz was in the choir. I, Jesse Jags and a couple of our friends formed a dance group and Jesse was like the main dancer, we were just backing him up. MI came back a year later from school in the states.
MI suggested we form a crew and we started performing and recording, making music. Eventually MI got signed but he was like, "let me make something for myself first and come back for everybody else." Jesse got signed after Ice Prince. When I was done with school years later, I moved to Lagos to continue music.
Do you sometimes get "upset" that you are not as mainstream as Yemi Alade or Tiwa Savage?
Not at all. I feel blessed because I feel what I am doing; no one else is doing it. I am on my own lane creating my own fan base , growing my audience and for me , what I am doing will open a whole new market . Asa did it to a point, Bez has done it, TY Bello did for a while, and they are gradually building this market.
What would your dream award be?
Grammy’s Song of the Year award and Grammy stage will be my dream stage to perform on.
Define your sense of style
It is classic with a touch of modern. It is based on fashion that does not go out of style. But then I pick a little from what is going on and I rock it. It is timeless fashion.
How old is Ruby Gyang?
I like to call it ’’double sweet sixteen‘’. Ruby Gyang is 32.
Who’s your favorite Nigerian Artiste?
2face and Tiwa. Tiwa Savage has turned the market around. She did it so well and till date, she is unchallenged.
What are you career plans?
I have some songs cooking. They are all on iTunes and I have an EP, six tracked main album called This Is Love. It talks about love, the different sides of love, heartbreaks infatuation falling in love, loving yourself. Naeto C, Nneka, Bez , Ajebutter 22 are all on the project . It would be coming out this quarter and I’m excited about it. I want people to be on the lookout. I am on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Google+, YouTube.