Drunken late nights with friends often result in nasty hangovers. For indie singer-songwriter Ruby Waters, however, they lead to irresistibly catchy songs.
Waters lives in the West end of Toronto with musicians as roommates, including her longtime collaborator, producer, and best friend, Sam Willows. Many of the songs from her upcoming sophomore EP If It Comes Down To It, due this summer, were born out of laid-back, late-night jam sessions at the house after drinking a few beers. They were then recorded in Willows’s basement home studio.
“The songs were all written pretty quickly,” she says. “It was all about catching that vibe. They’re a little more raw, and a little more cut-back.”
Waters, of Métis heritage, grew up in Shelburne, Ont., a small town around an hour Northwest of Toronto. She grew up surrounded by music – both her parents were musicians and toured across Canada – and eventually moved to Toronto to start her own career.
“Sometimes it feels like you’ll never succeed, but you have to push through no matter what”
Last year was a big one for her: Waters released her debut EP Almost Naked, was hand-picked to tour as an opening act for City and Colour, and headlined the venerable Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto. Building from that momentum, she immediately started working on her follow-up EP, a soulful collection of songs revealing her moody, raspy voice and knack for catchy choruses.
On the single “Rabbit Hole,” Waters sings about the struggles of substance abuse over arpeggiating fingerpicking, while on slow-burner “Fox Song,” she sings “the way that my insides move every time I get to close you” as her acoustic guitar weaves around pulsating drums. “It’s about someone that I used to serve at my old bar,” laughs Waters. “It grew into this epic track.” “Quantum Physics,” the first song she wrote on classical guitar, is full of her own haunting harmonies echoing in the background.
Like so musicians across Canada, Waters’ plans for touring are currently on hold. But she doesn’t shy away from confronting challenges in life. In fact, it’s a theme that courses through the album. “I feel like everybody has something that they’re working on, or going through,” says Waters. “Sometimes it feels like you’ll never succeed, but you have to push through no matter what.”