Ruby Amanfu

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Ruby Amanfu
Origin Ghana
Genres Pop, alternative pop, soul, folk, R&B
Instruments Vocals, guitar, piano
Years active 1998–present
Labels Spongebath, Polydor UK, Rykodisc
Associated acts Sam & Ruby, The Collective, Jack White
Website Ruby Amanfu on Facebook Rubyamanfu.com

Ruby Amanfu is a singer and songwriter based out of Nashville, Tennessee. She is best known for recording and touring with Jack White. She has also worked with Sam Booker in the band Sam & Ruby, and she appeared with the a cappella group The Collective on the voice competition program The Sing-Off.

Early life and education[edit]

Ruby Amanfu was born in Accra, Ghana to a musical family of five. When she was three years old, her father moved the family to Nashville, TN, where early on she began to flourish around the sights and sounds of Music City. She started writing songs at a young age and entered a school talent show in third grade where she took home the first place prize: a pack of 10 gumballs.[1]

More talent shows followed, as well as a knack for literary competitions wherein she discovered her passion for writing song lyrics. She was educated in the private and magnet school systems and attended high school at the prestigious Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet High School, whose premiere Fine Arts program afforded her the opportunity to write and record songs in the school’s studio. In her sophomore year of high school, Amanfu was chosen for The Nashville Symphony Chorus, becoming the youngest member of the group at age 15.[2] She performed with the group for one season.

Career[edit]

In her junior year of high school, Amanfu was introduced by a classmate to a local philanthropic couple, Dave and Becky Matthews. The Matthewses took interest in Amanfu’s songwriting and offered to fund her first full-length album, So Now The Whole World Knows, with Dave at the helm as engineer and co-producer with Amanfu. The LP was recorded at The Matthewses’ well-appointed home studio during her junior and senior years. She attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts and transferred to Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee when music critics such as Robert K. Oermann began to praise Amanfu’s debut. Once Amanfu returned to Nashville to promote So Now The Whole World Knows, she signed to independent record label Spongebath Records in 1999. She began working with Grammy nominated singer/songwriter, Tommy Sims, co-author of Eric Clapton’s Change the World. Sims produced and co-wrote Amanfu’s song, “Sugah.”

Amanfu was being courted by record labels across the country in 2001 when the prestigious UK A&R publication, The Tip Sheet, named Amanfu’s song “Sugah” as their "Tip of the Week." UK record label Polydor Records and Scandinavian music house Murlyn Music Group both became interested in "Sugah" and signed her to a co-venture between their companies as well as Interscope Records in the U.S. Amanfu’s album, Smoke & Honey (Polydor 2003) and its single, “Sugah,”[3] reached #3 on the Billboard Pop Airplay Charts and #52 on the Austrian Charts.[4] The single received mixed reviews, with Music Week saying the production and song construction sounding "dated."[5]

Amanfu asked out of the co-venture in late 2003 after the companies faced problems, causing her album’s promotion to be halted in its prime. She was released from the record deal by year’s end.

Sam & Ruby[edit]

Amanfu met fellow musician Sam Brooker at a writer’s round in Nashville in 1999. The two became fast friends. In 2002, the pair penned their first song, “The Here and The Now,” for which Amanfu wrote the lyrics and melody and Brooker the music. Amanfu and Brooker began to co-write another set of songs in 2004. The pair was invited by friend and musician, Dan Dyer, to open for him at Saxon Pub in Austin, TX during South by Southwest. Amanfu and Brooker became Sam & Ruby,[6] and went on to complete a collection of songs that became their first self-titled EP.[7] Sam & Ruby toured relentlessly in late 2006 through late 2009, including subsequent appearances at Voodoo Experience.[8] They released their first LP entitled The Here and The Now on Rykodisc Records in 2009. Their album received top honors by the Associated Press, which called it the Best Album of 2009 in their top ten albums list.[9] Amanfu and Brooker went on to release an EP entitled Press On in February 2010.

The Sing-Off[edit]

Amanfu appeared on NBC’s vocal competition, The Sing Off Season 3,[10] as part of The Collective. The group comprises 9 Nashville Independent Artists, including former duo partner, Sam Brooker.[11]

Jack White[edit]

Amanfu singing "Love Interruption" with Jack White on February 10, 2013

Amanfu lent her voice to Jack White for his single "Love Interruption" from his first ever solo effort, Blunderbuss. The song premiered on January 30, 2012,[12] the same day that Amanfu's EP, "The Simple Sessions," was released. Amanfu's four-song EP was produced by Charlie Peacock.

Amanfu recorded on the Grammy nominated Jack White solo album "Blunderbuss", and recently received gold record for over 500,000 sales. Amanfu performed with Jack White at the 2013 Grammys, singing "Love Interruption".

During his tour for the album Blunderbuss, White employed two live bands, which he alternated between at random. The first, called The Peacocks, was all female and consisted of Ruby Amanfu as well as Carla Azar, Lillie Mae Rische, Maggie Bjorklund, Brooke Waggoner, and alternating bassists Bryn Davies and Catherine Popper.[13]

Solo career[edit]

On the October 15, 2013, Amanfu released a double single that featured the tracks "Bluff" and "Love Out Loud". "Bluff" was written by Amanfu and Katie Herzig and produced by Butterfly Boucher and Herzig. "Love Out Loud" was written by Amanfu along with Shannon Sanders and Drew Ramsey, and was produced by Thom Donovan with additional production by Amanfu.

Collaborations[edit]

In 2008, Amanfu sang a duet with Patti LaBelle at the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans, Louisiana.[14]

Film and television placements[edit]

Accolades[edit]

Amanfu has had songs cut by such artists as Kelly Clarkson and Justin Guarini, Lene Nystrøm, Sanne Salomonsen and Rachael Lampa. Amanfu co-wrote the song "Heaven's My Home" with Katie Herzig, which was performed by the Duhks and nominated for a 2007 Grammy award for Best Country Performance.

Amanfu sang backup on Wanda Jackson's 2011 promotional tour for her album, The Party Ain't Over, produced by Jack White. Together, they performed "Shakin' All Over" on the Late Show with David Letterman[18] and "Funnel of Love" on Conan.[19][20]

Amanfu’s other musical colleagues and collaborators include Trent Dabbs, Ben Folds, Bloodshy & Avant, Dan Wilson, Tommy Sims, Seasick Steve,[21] Steve Cropper, Chris Thile and Michael Daves.[22]

Edna Gundersen of USA Today said that on "I Wonder,"—a tune with Brittany Howard—"Amanfu put a rocking reggae spin on Sixto "Sugar Man" Rodriquez's 1970 gem."[23] In the fall of 2014, Amanfu joined the breakout Irish artist Hozier on his US tour and appeared with him on Saturday Night Live.

Philanthropy[edit]

Amanfu has a heart for charities, including Thistle Farms/Magdalene, the Nashville Rescue Mission, Hands On Nashville, Nashville Public Television, Second Harvest Food Bank, Soles 4 Souls, Vanderbilt Children's Hospital, and eXile International. [24]

Discography[edit]

  • So Now The Whole World Knows (Lost Frogs Records 1998)
  • Smoke & Honey (Polydor UK 2003)
  • "Sam & Ruby" EP (2006)
  • The Here and The Now (2009)
  • Press On (2010)
  • "The Simple Sessions" EP (Twenty Ten Music 2012)
  • "Bluff" Single 2013
  • "Love Out Loud" Single 2013

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Ruby Amanfu - Afrikan Goddess (AG) Online". Afrikan Goddess. Retrieved 2012-02-07. 
  2. ^ "GhanaWeb". GhanaWeb. Retrieved 2011-10-16. 
  3. ^ "Ruby Amanfu – Discover music, videos, concerts, stats, & pictures at". Last.fm. 2009-02-11. Retrieved 2011-10-16. 
  4. ^ Steffen Hung. "Ruby Amanfu - Sugah". austriancharts.at. Retrieved 2013-02-21. 
  5. ^ (March 29, 2003). "RUBY AMANFU (Musical release)." Music Week. (12):21
  6. ^ "Sam & Ruby - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia". En.wikipedia.org. Retrieved 2011-10-16. 
  7. ^ "Sam and Ruby". Facebook. Retrieved 2011-10-16. 
  8. ^ "Past Artists | VOODOO Music Experience 2011 :: Worship the Music :: October 28.29.30". Thevoodooexperience.com. Retrieved 2012-02-07. 
  9. ^ "The 10 best albums of 2009 - Entertainment - Music - TODAY.com". Today.msnbc.msn.com. 2010-01-03. Retrieved 2011-10-16. 
  10. ^ "The Sing-Off (season 3) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia". En.wikipedia.org. Retrieved 2011-10-16. 
  11. ^ "Nashville music-makers on ‘Survivor,’ ‘Biggest Loser’ and ‘The Sing-Off’ talk reality TV | Tune In Music City | The Tennessean". Blogs.tennessean.com. 2011-09-17. Retrieved 2011-10-16. 
  12. ^ "Jack White's collaborator on 'Love Interruption' revealed as Ruby Amanfu | Amanfu performed the song with Jack White on the March 3, 2012 edition of Saturday Night Live. News". Nme.Com. 2012-01-31. Retrieved 2012-02-07. 
  13. ^ Flotat, Raymond (June 1, 2012). "Ferocious: Jack White and The Peacocks Live at The Wiltern Theatre Los Angeles 5/31/12", MXDWN.com. Retrieved November 4, 2014.
  14. ^ "LIFE". LIFE. Retrieved 2012-02-07. 
  15. ^ The Secret Life of Bees (2008) - Soundtracks
  16. ^ "ABC Family - ABC Family Sound Booth - Sound Booth Blogs Detail". Abcfamily.go.com. Retrieved 2012-02-07. 
  17. ^ "Hope Springs (2012)". Soundtrack.Net. 2012-08-08. Retrieved 2013-02-21. 
  18. ^ "Wanda Jackson and Jack White 'Shake' 'Letterman' - Viral Videos". Billboard.com. Retrieved 2012-02-07. 
  19. ^ "Video: Wanda Jackson, Jack White Perform on "Conan"; Jackson Has Kind Words for Elvis Presley | Nonesuch Records". Nonesuch.com. 2011-01-26. Retrieved 2012-02-07. 
  20. ^ "Wanda Jackson, Jack White drop by ‘Conan’ | Tune In Music City | The Tennessean". Blogs.tennessean.com. 2011-01-26. Retrieved 2011-10-16. 
  21. ^ "Seasick Steve - Write Me A Few Lines (Vinyl) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2012-02-07. 
  22. ^ "Chris Thile & Michael Daves - Man In The Middle (Vinyl) at Discogs". Discogs.com. 2011-05-24. Retrieved 2012-02-07. 
  23. ^ (04/02/2013). "THE PLAYLIST". USA Today.
  24. ^ "Raul Malo heads lineup for Kick the Crap Outta Cancer benefit | Tune In Music City | The Tennessean". Blogs.tennessean.com. 2011-03-16. Retrieved 2011-10-16. 

External links[edit]