23-year-old singing/songwriting sensation Ruth B has a fairytale story that most only dream of, though its start feels like a lifetime ago. As Ruth B enters the next chapter in her career, complete with her new single “Rare,” she is unabashedly writing her story as she lives it—in the form of beautiful songs.

2015 was the year it all took flight. After years of dabbling on social media app Vine, the Canadian musician sang a few lines that changed it all for her. “I started with I am a lost boy from Neverland /

Usually hanging out with Peter Pan and ended up recording it and posting it for fun,” the young siren recalls. The clip went viral, a catalyst for the actual single. “That prompted me to keep writing the song and put it on YouTube. The rest kind of just happened…” The product was “Lost Boy,” Ruth’s introductory single that has since cracked the 300 million mark in Spotify streams and made Ruth B a household name.

Born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, music was always a part of her life. “I didn’t really look at it as a career,” she explains. “It was just my escape from everything. I was obsessed with playing the piano and singing all the time.” Fame wasn’t the end game. “It didn’t seem realistic because of where I was from,” she adds. “It was a hobby, and I was ok with that for a very long time.” Drawing inspiration from the likes of Lauryn Hill, Carole King, The Beatles, and newer acts like Ed Sheeran and Lana Del Rey, Ruth continued making music for herself, until the mission became much bigger.

“After I had written ‘Lost Boy,’ the first comment I ever read was, ‘Oh wow I needed this song,’ and I think for me that’s when it kind of went from something I wanted to keep to myself to something I wanted to share,” she admits. “I didn’t know something I made could impact someone else. That’s when it all changed.” Ruth inked a deal with Columbia Records at the age of 20 and dropped her debut EP The Intro. Two years later she delivered her debut album Safe Haven, a collection of songs that reflected her goal to touch lives through her music.

Multi-Platinum success followed, along with next level performances and opening for Alessia Cara on her North American Tour. Her Safe Haven track “In My Dreams,” was the soundtrack for a pivotal moment on ABC’s Once Upon A Time, and Ruth won the Juno Award for Breakthrough Artist of the Year in 2017. She’s currently nominated for 2018 Juno Awards in the categories of Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, and Pop Album of the Year for Safe Haven. “It was so wonderful touring that album,” Ruth expresses of Safe Haven. “Girls would come up to me after the shows and say that was the soundtrack to their first year of high school. As an artist that’s the most gratifying thing, beyond some chart stat. That’s the most important thing to me: to touch people’s lives.”

Now, more comfortable in her skin as a star (“I was once an introvert, but this industry has a way of forcing you out of your shell and I love that”), Ruth B is geared to make her next moves her best ones. “When I did my first album, I was very adamant that I would write it by myself,” she explains, “but this year I started dabbling in that world of different producers and songwriters.” She found creative chemistry with producer Dernst "D'Mile" Emile II (Rihanna, Usher, Diddy) who collaborated with Ruth on her latest single “Rare,” a story of two lovers finding unlikely commonality. “My first album was a lot of songs I had written about memories from high school whereas now it’s about experiences I’ve had now: people I’ve met along the way, relationships I’ve been in and gotten out of it,” she emphasizes. “It’s very present and in the moment.” The song will be followed by “Crave,” a track about missing someone unworthy of that emotion. “It’s basically what happens when the relationship in ‘Rare’ goes wrong.”

While Ruth’s music has grown, so has she. Entering the business barely out of her teens, a lot has changed since that moment in time. “When I first was signed, I was 20 and new to everything. I was almost scared to speak up, but now with that time I’ve just learned so much from so many people and you take little fragments of everyone and bring them with you,” she states. “My level of involvement has changed. I’m very into everything now. Before I was just about the music, but now I’m very much a part of everything: videos, cover art. I want to be a part of everything I do. It’s a lot of fun.”

In the end, though, it’s that same talented soul who sits at her piano and makes magic happen, and her newest songs will continue that sentiment. “I just want to remain as honest to myself and not have anything change or impact that,” Ruth adds sincerely. I like to make people feel less alone. For me, growing up, that’s all there was. That’s always been my goal and I hope it stays that way.”

Regina Folk Festival 2019. Be there.