Five years before Tate McRae did it, soulful singer Ruth B.— born Berhe—burst out from her Alberta bedroom and onto the world stage with a song recorded at home and promoted through a video-based social channel.
While McRae used TikTok to break out, Berhe captivated the world with her hauntingly beautiful Lost Boys, teasing out snippets of the song on the now seemingly ancient social platform (the defunct Vine) before pumping the entire track out on YouTube.
“Yup, the OG,” she laughs as she checks in from her family’s place in Edmonton, up the highway from McRae’s Calgary HQ whose success she describes as “so cool.”
Weeks away from her 26th birthday, Berhe’s hardly an OG but she’s packed a lot into a career that went from hobby to “Hell yeah” in a matter of minutes in 2017. The Lost Boys singer became a “lost girl,” decamping to New York City in 2019 to write and grow until the pandemic drove her back to her Alberta family home.
She finished her powerful and personal new release, Moments in Between, in the same bedroom where it all began.
Social Media Upside
Social media is so wild and amazing that a kid from Edmonton—or a kid from Calgary—can get heard. It’s amazing how it can make such a big world feel so small and get you connected with all the right people.
Growing up my biggest fear was how are people going to hear about me, I’m from Edmonton, no one’s going to know me or hear my songs so, in that sense it completely changed my life.
Social Media Downside
It can be kind of hard because it speeds the process up so much and you sometimes aren’t as prepared for that life. I think that only happened to me a little bit.
Why So Long Between Records?
That first experience was so rushed and intense and crazy that I really wanted to soak this one in. I was going to do the complete opposite and take all the time in the world, and that was a big part of moving to New York. Ultimately, I really did it on my own time.
Manhattan Versus Brooklyn
If you’re going to New York City from Edmonton, you shouldn’t go to Brooklyn; you should go straight to the heart of Manhattan. I was living on Park Avenue.
My parents are from Ethiopia and played a lot of Ethiopian music when I was a kid. I remember Teddy Afro.
Storytellers like Lauryn Hill, Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, The Beatles.
The Blacklist on Netflix. It’s really cool, kind of like Criminal Minds but there’s more of a storyline to it. I honestly would recommend it to anyone.