Walk With…Ruben Young
If you don’t know Ruben Young by name, you’d probably recognize his honest, melodic and mellow sound. If “Bad Habits” isn’t already on your Spotify playlist, it will be soon. This local electro-R&B/pop singer and songwriter has been making waves in the music industry with over 1 million streams, opening for The Chainsmokers and Akon, and his latest single was produced by Canadian hip hop legend Classified.
Ruben is known as a hungry entrepreneur across YYC. With a Bachelor of Commerce (finance) degree from the University of Calgary, Ruben’s been recognized as a young innovator in the Canadian Arts as the founder the 50 Days of YYC Music Festival. His proven pragmatism, notorious hustle and undeniable talent has earned him support from FACTOR and The Alberta Foundation for The Arts.
We caught up with Ruben to see what he’s been up to since the release of his latest single, what’s next for him, and even took a little trip down memory lane.
Tell us a bit about yourself. What gets you up in the morning?
I am a Calgary guy – born and raised. Marda Loop is my hood. I am a singer & songwriter making R&B-ish music. I’m a business grad from the Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary. I get out of bed to get the F to work, haha. I’m building my career from scratch and I’m honestly psycho obsessed with it – I love music and I love hustle of it all. At the moment, I’m in the midst of a pretty exciting chapter of my artist-life, which means there’s a ton to get out of bed for.
What projects are you involved with right now?
Right now, I have blinders on for the first time in my life. No ADD, no getting distracted with crazy ideas or new directions. Just head down writing, creating and releasing music – and the masterminding behind it all.
You recently released your 3rd single, “Bad Habits”! Tell us about the song.
“Bad Habits” is a little piece of the story about a girl I knew was no good for me, but I couldn’t let go of. This song is about the fun side of it all – where you give into your voices – to the late-night messages you know you shouldn’t open, but you do because sometimes there’s nothing more fun than a little danger. This girl was the definition of danger, and even though I got burned time and time again I kept going back for more. I know a ton of people out there like me can relate. #Suckers.
What was it like working with Classified?
Working with Luke (Classified) was a game-changing experience for me. He taught me a ton both creatively and about our business. We turned a little idea that I wrote on the piano into one of my favorite songs, which as of today has already been streamed over 100,000 times on Spotify. It’s been a crazy ride so far, and I can’t wait to see how far we can take this song.
Working with him also lead me to a huge epiphany. Ready? Stop convincing yourself that your crazy ambitions are not potential realities. Regular people achieve great things all the time. Ask anyone who knows him – Classified is an incredibly regular dude.
2 years ago, I wrote a song. 6 months later I snuck my way into the VIP section of a party just to tell Classified I love his music. 1 month later he replied to an email I sent him. 4 months later I’m at a studio in Nova Scotia – sitting next to a guy who has won JUNOs, made platinum records and whose music I grew up listening to. A year later our song is on the radio.
Don’t misread this – it has NOT been an easy road. It takes an extra ounce of crazy to be brave, persistent and patient enough to make it through the hard/slow/doubtful times, but progress (not success) truly happens so fast once it begins. It is worth every ounce of struggle once you see your vision come to life. This process has inspired me in more ways than I can put into words. It made me hungrier to keep doing what I’m doing, because I know it will work. I can’t wait to see where “Bad Habits” takes me in the next 6 months and beyond.
Where did the Canadian radio tour in support of the single take you?
The radio tour is just getting started! My first stop was in Vancouver at the end of August, and am excited to push it across the country. Radio can still change your life – ask Jocelyn Alice!
You put together a great video for “Running for You”! Tell us about that process.
Yes! Thank you! I wrote the video with one of my childhood best friends, Spencer Foley, (also a Calgary boy) who is well on his way to becoming a big-time film writer and director. We shot it in Vancouver with co-director/producer Phillip Thomas, and it was such a blast. The video is very true to the story that my entire project is based around (if you can’t already tell) – lust, temptation, forbidden fruit, and a battle with a romantic vice. Apples + Blondes, haha. Coming up with crazy ideas and then bringing them to life is a very special experience. I am so lucky that I got to share it with some of my best friends.
Is there tour in the works? A show in YYC perhaps?
200%. I have been working very hard on building my live show (with a disgustingly-talented Calgary producer named Egypt). We tested it out this summer opening for The Chainsmokers, Akon and Classified, and I’m excited to take it to a new level and new places very soon. Stay tuned.
Do you get any of your ‘to-do’s done on 17th?
17th has everything – you can hit the bank, send emails at Analog, take a music class at Beat Drop, grab a quick cocktail and then hit Shoppers Drug Mart on the way home. If I didn’t love my hood so much, I would live here in a heartbeat.
What is your favorite thing about 17th Ave?
I went to high school at Western Canada High, so 17th Ave always gives nostalgia of those 16-year-old, innocent, reckless good times with my friends.
Favorite place to shop?
Less 17 is great! However, I do want more men’s clothes on 17th!
Best place for a night out?
Grab a patio beer at 17th Ave neighbours Rose & Crown, the ox-tail tortellini at Anju, a cocktail at Cleaver, say hey to the friends at Trolley 5, take momma for dinner at Buon Giorno, shoot hoops at Home & Away and have a late-night slice at Una. Carbs and alcohol #problems.
What would you like to see on 17th in the future?
More men’s clothing, more concerts in Mount Royal Village, a bad-a$$ block party, and a Well Juicery – I miss their old shop, and I don’t think I can get their juice anywhere on the Ave!
What’s up next for you?
More music, more music. 1 million streams. 10 million streams. Coachella. Lots on the list!
Stay up-to-date on all things Ruben Young by following him online: