Here at Fresh On The Net we’re not exactly on the look out for the next big star — we’re just as happy to hear something that’s delightfully uncommercial as we are things that could headline festivals or rank up a gazillion plays on Spotify one day — rather, we just listen, and if we what we hear, we put it out there.
North London artist Ruby Francis first appeared on Fresh On The Net in May 2017 with her track Paranoid, sounding as slick as you like, with punchy lyrics and plenty of attitude. Often when that happens you find the artist is already well on their way, and probably doesn’t need help from the likes of us, but in this case it really was early days with the track forming part of her debut EP, Night Time Therapy.
The track that really impressed me was Drip Drop, which landed last February, and would eventually become part of her second EP, To Be Fair. Initially drawn in by its catchy chorus, I then caught the message, summed up in the second verse: “Sitting in on rainy days, waiting for the sun to shine, but what’s the point of waiting, if it means you’re not living life?”
Of course, Drip Drop is not really about the weather, but hearing this on a miserable winter’s day, when my spirits were as dark and low as the steel grey sky clouds hanging overhead, was like being handed a cup of hot chocolate for the soul. Keep listening, and those raindrop synths give way to let the sun come out in those soaring vocal harmonies — something Ruby is particularly fond of apparently, and clearly very good at. Incredibly, the idea for the track came together really quickly during the half hour of a recording session.
Soon after we heard another track from the To Be Fair EP called Move, a more slinky number that I think is pure irresistible pop. Like Drip Drop, although the track is rich in sound, it’s hardly overdone and always introducing new elements. So many times we hear tracks that are as predictable as a Japanese railway, doing exactly what you expect exactly when you expect it. That’s great for trains (IF ONLY we had trains like that!), but it makes for a pretty dull listening experience. None of that here!
Around that time, a fellow Ruby fan and Fresh On The Net moderator pinged me excitedly to say that she would be performing on the BBC Introducing stage at Latitude 2018, which was the first confirmation for us that actually, yes, here is an artist who really is going places. She also played with her band in front of BBC Broadcasting House the week after, looking every inch the natural performer.
Spotify are big fans, having featured four of her tracks on their New Music Fridays playlist, along with various others. On radio, Ruby’s had support from BBC Introducing in London, been played by DJ Targett, Ace, Twin B and Jamz Supernova on BBC Radio 1Xtra, along with our own Tom Robinson on BBC Radio 6 Music, and Jamie Cullum on BBC Radio 2.
It’s really exciting to hear an artist progress. Ruby writes and produces all her tracks, and does remixes for others too, which you can hear on her Soundcloud page. Her latest offering, All Of The Time, dropped last Friday and it’s a proper banger, with addictive beats and breaks, and undeniably fun. We look forward to hearing more from Ruby Francis in the future, and wish her all the best.