Cincinnati, OH native Justin Ruff is bringing a refreshing sound back to R&B.
Delivering a smooth blend of jazz and soul, Justin’s latest tracks I’m With It and Faded Pictures gives us an insight on what we can expect with his ep The Ruff Draft which is set to drop fall 2015.
We were able to sit down with Justin and talk about his upcoming projects.
Who is Justin Ruff?
Justin Ruff is what R&B is missing. A unique, refreshing detour from today’s R&B music.
How would you describe your style (music/fashion)?
I would definitely say that the sound is R&B. Having that jazz foundation mixed with my love for R&B/Hip Hop music,
I’ve been able to find this really cool way of bridging the gap between old school and today’s mainstream music.
Who influenced your music career?
My mother sings as well. So I grew up listening to and watching her all the time. She exposed me to a great deal of R&B/Soul music. From Anita Baker to Prince to El Debarge, there was always music around me growing up.
Was music always a passion for you?
I didn’t really decide I wanted to pursue music full-time until my junior year in high school. I actually wanted to go to school for Law and become a defense attorney. Then one day it all clicked and I decided music was my calling.
As a child did you always see yourself singing?
Not at all. I dreamed of being so many things. I remember wanting to be a Paleontologist for a while. Then I wanted to be a basketball player until I realized I wasn’t the least bit close to good at it. And then I wanted to be a Chef until I accepted the fact that I can’t cook. At the end of a few trials and errors, music was all I had left. Lol.
Do you write music as well as sing? Produce? Play any instruments?
I am a songwriter as well. I enjoy the writing process. Thinking back on different situations and being able to pour your heart out on paper, there’s nothing better. My best friend/background singer is a part of the writing team. So she brings a really cool perspective to the process as well.
Your single ‘Faded Pictures’, what inspired that?
Faded relationships. Whether it’s a lost friendship or the ending of a romantic relationship, we’ve all parted ways with individuals in our lives. We’ve all encountered someone that did us wrong or didn’t treat us the way we would have wanted to be treated. So this song is about that and is something I feel everyone can relate to.
Will there be a music video, album or mixtape dropping soon?
I’m actually in the process of laying down some creative ideas for a music video! I’ve never done a music video before so it has to be right. That will be out this year though, for sure. I am also working on my EP entitled ”The Ruff Draft”. That’s going to drop this Fall! This is the first time I’ve really locked in on who I am as an artist. I feel good about it and I’m really excited to bring the fans along on this musical journey with me.
What are some challenges you may have had to overcome to be where you are now?
The biggest challenge for me was being okay with the word ”No”. I’ve heard that word so many times and it can become very discouraging for an up and coming artist. Starting out it was hard but I’ve learned how to use the word No as fuel for me to work even harder. The No’s will ultimately make the Yes that much sweeter.
Describe your first WOW experience so far musically?
I remember hearing my song played on the radio for the first time. It was my first single ”Take My Time” and it got featured on the Download or Delete segment on WGCI 107.5 and won. It was such an unreal experience. That definitely gave me the push I needed to continue making moves with my music. Wow Experience #1 for sure!
What was it like winning the Coast 2 Coast Mixtape: Volume 247, hosted by Def Jam and Maybach Music Group artist Gunplay?
To have a song featured on that mixtape was pretty awesome. The fans were able to vote a song on the mixtape so to have the fans and supporters voting for my music really made the experience that much sweeter.
If you could feature any artist on your EP, who would you pick?
I would love to do a joint with Kendrick Lamar. I have so much respect for his artistry. Babyface is someone else I would love to work with. One day that will happen!
What’s next for Justin Ruff?
I’m releasing my EP ”The Ruff Draft” this Fall! I’m excited for the fans and supporters to hear that. Right now, I’m really focusing on building my fan base and bringing awareness to the Justin Ruff brand. That’s what’s next for me, followed by some Popeye’s Chicken. Lol.