For Ruth-Ann Brown, making Reggae music was hardly a choice; it was something she could not run from. More commonly known as Ruth, the singer was born in the mid 1980’s in Jamaica, where she was surrounded by the influences of dancehall veterans such as King Yellowman, Josie Wales, and Jacob Miller. “Instead of going to sleep as soon as my mother put me to bed as a young child, I would listen to the sound system playing across the street from my house until I fell asleep. Reggae was like a drug. I couldn’t get enough,” Ruth recalls. As an adolescent, she enjoyed singing in the church choir and writing poems as a means of releasing her pent-up emotions. By the time she became a young adult, she began experimenting with writing songs to instrumentals made by friends. Her listeners have described her music as soul-touching, passionate, intense, deep, yet still as smooth, relaxing, tropical and warm. She credits Dennis Brown, The Cranberries and Sade as her greatest musical influences.
In late 2005, Ruth’s first song, ‘As It Is’ was released on the Di-Mon Cut label and this marked her entry into the music business. From then, she has honed her art. In relation to her craft, Ruth states, “I can’t imagine music without emotions. When I make music, I want people to feel it as much as I do, so I try to connect with my emotions and release them into my work. When I touch the lives of others, only then will I be successful as an artiste.” Renowned music critic and writer, Stan Smith, describes Ruth’s music as full of “thought-provoking lyrics, which are emotionally enraptured and sometimes easy going [and they] make her songs easy to digest”.
In 2007, Ruth-Ann Brown was introduced to Rhoan Bromfield, owner and CEO of Bran-Nu Entertainment and from then, a strong union was formed. “I have found something most artistes only dream of,” Ruth explains with a smile, “Working with a label that gives me my creative freedom and gives me much needed guidance in a cut-throat industry is a fairytale. Without them, I would be a headless chicken. Furthermore, they believe what I believe where making rich, cultural Reggae music is concerned – it is live music and we will not take the digital route.” Presently, Ruth-Ann Brown and Bran-Nu Entertainment are building a catalogue of songs so that her much-anticipated debut album will be ready when the time is right.
In the meantime, Bran-Nu Entertainment has released a five-song EP, entitled ‘Ruth’, which is available online for download. It consists of the smooth, yet intense flute-driven single, ‘Unfamiliar Feelings’ which has received tremendous airplay worldwide. The accompanying music video sat at the top position on several music charts in Jamaica. On the EP are also the more traditional drum and bass driven ‘Chillin’ with My Baby’ and ‘I Love You’, as well as the acoustic numbers ‘Here Come the Critics’ and ‘Jamdown’. In a review of Brown’s EP, entertainment writer, Joseph Tortelli says, “Ruth-Ann Brown’s five-song EP expands and enriches preconceived notions about reggae artists. The Jamaican singer-songwriter blends pop, soul, and acoustic stylings into her reggae-rooted compositions…Digging deeply into reggae’s emotional power, these tracks unveil an expressive singer-songwriter with distinctive blue-beat pipes.”
Since the release of the EP, Ruth has been interviewed by several radio stations across the world and has been featured in and on the cover of several print media worldwide. Roxroy McLean, says of Brown in The Sunday Gleaner, “What’s intriguing is that she approaches each topic with the same passion and zeal, which makes her stand out…” She has done several performances in and around Washington DC and has shared the stage with Reggae icons Freddie McGregor, Beres Hammond, and I-Wayne just to name a few. Her performance at The Mansion at Strathmore in Maryland was historic as she was the first Reggae artiste to be invited to the prestigious venue. Attendees described her performance as ‘moving’, ‘honest’, ‘refreshing’ and ‘heartfelt’. Ruth has also sung the American National Anthem at a basketball game in Virginia – an experience she describes as ‘an honor.’
With the moves made by her label, Bran-Nu Entertainment and her manager Ric Zheron, Ruth-Ann Brown’s future is looking bright. They have managed to secure licensing deals with several airlines including Air France, a Kenyan airline and an Austrian airline. “With the help of Bran-Nu Entertainment and with Ric Zheron as my greatest support, I am looking forward to a long-lasting, meaningful career,” says Ruth.