Ruby’s warm and emotional voice lends itself to Gospel and Soul as well as the Blues. Capable of depicting such extremes of joy and pain in her performances, she engages with her audience to produce a very special kind of empathy.
Born in Montego Bay, Jamaica but a brought up in Birmingham, England she is pure Brummie at heart. Ruby worked as a singer with Alexis Korner’s band in the early 80’s, recorded with reggae band UB40, and joined Culture Club on tour and on their records before her solo career took off. Her debut album in 1986 was ‘Women Hold Up Half the Sky’ and many of Ruby’s singles made the British charts in the next few years. Her album ‘Motown Songbook’, recorded with legends like The Temptations and Jimmy Ruffin, began to raise her international profile and Ruby topped the US Billboard R&B charts in 1990 with ‘It’s Gonna Be Alright’. That is quite a rare event for a British singer, and four more of her records went on to feature there in the early 90s.
Ruby is a talented songwriter too, composing nine of the songs on her album ‘Call Me by My Name’, several of which were covered by artists like Lulu, Yazz and Maxi Priest, and most of her albums have her own songs on them.
Ruby‘s ‘Stay with Me Baby’, with a superb video by Phillip Lowrey.
On New Years Eve 1999, Britain celebrated the coming new century by opening the Millenium Dome in London, with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Prime Minister and a glittering crowd in attendance, and Ruby was there to sing the National Anthem. Acting could have been an alternative career for Ruby, as she has appeared on the London stage in Streetcar Named Desire, and the musicals Carmen Jones, Simply Heaven, Fame and One Love and she played a cameo role in the rom-com film ‘Love Actually’. She has played many character parts on British TV, and in 2007, she presented a TV documentary on the life of Sister Rosetta Tharpe. In the new Millenium, Ruby had begun to feature regularly as the star singer in Jools Holland‘s Rhythm & Blues Orchestra, a stonking 18-piece extravaganza that graces the Royal Albert Hall and BBC TV’s New Years Eve ‘Hootenenny’ on an annual basis, as well as touring and appearing at Festivals.