Even though she had to wait for close to one hour or more, not once did she pass a complaint or nag when the interview was about to start. Beautifully adorned with a flawless carriage,she entered the interview room and everybody sat up a little taller to catch a glimpse of this seemingly confident melanin skinned beauty. Radiating with life and vigor as the interview started, not giving any sign of discomfort, ruby was the ideal dream of any interviewer.
Chocolate City artiste and afro-soul singer Ngohide Ruby Ann GyangGyang popularly known as RUBY GYANG is a force to reckon with. She was born in Zaria, Kaduna State, and spent her earlier years there before moving to Jos, Plateau state with her grandparents. From songs like Good man to Okay O to No No No and Kale Ni, her EP is brimming with feel-good timeless romantic songs.
Her recent video Kale Ni which means look at me, Ruby gives us a classic artsy vibe. Alongside the watchful cat peering at us from the lenses, it screams unconventional yet oddly fascinating. Sporting a new sound, new twist to her image and a brand new outlook on life, Ruby shares with the world, a sizzling hot, dance-driven song.
How was growing up in Jos like?
I actually was born in Zaria, I have 4 older siblings and a younger sister. Jos was where my grandparent lived. They were actually missionaries, so that was home. We eventually moved to Jos. As far as I’m concerned I’m from all three places, I’ve lived there, my family is there, so there’s no distinction.
Tell us about your EP
‘This is love’ is a bunch of songs and some of them were like 10 years old. I felt like I have recorded all this music and it was time to put it out. There are 7 songs on the Ep. It’s very soulful, it’s about relationships and love, my favorite topics. I was finally excited to get it off my chest.
What song has been your best collaboration song?
The word to describe it wouldn’t be best but most surprising. In 2008 I was watching a TV channel and I saw this very eccentric female singer. I noticed that she sang in English but she had a very serious Igbo accent specifically a Warri accent. I just liked how she was. I liked her sound and vibe. It was Nneka and I was like I would like to do something with her when I moved to Lagos, however, I never had the liver to talk to her about it. She was working with this producer Kid Konnect who lived behind me and that’s how we connected. I played the song for her, she liked it and she was supposed to record it the next day. I went to watch Femi Kuti perform and she just called and said she wanted to record the song now. That’s how passionate she was. When she heard the song, she was like she’s ready and she’s in the zone. It was just very nice.
Who’s your favourite artiste?
It’s really hard to pick but Tuface is definitely on the top of the list because he started this movement and because of him I’m here.
Female; Yemi Alade. I remember in 2012 I put together this all-girl event and she came begging to perform, even when I told her it was full, that babe is a hustler and 5 years now she’s mama Africa, it’s no wonder.
What’s your favourite song off your EP?
It depends on how I’m feeling. I would pick ‘No no no’ because of the story-line and how I felt at that period.
Your favourite actor:
Bimbo Akintola – female
RMD – male
Nigerian fashion entrepreneur?
Jewel by Lisa, she’s a bonafide international designer, not just a Nigerian designer. She’s taking the whole Ankara and African style to a whole new level.
Where is your go-to place and thing to do for inspiration and how does the process starts?
My mind…I don’t talk a lot or emote a lot, so whatever speaks to me, I do try to put it together.
How do you write your song? Your experience or gist from people?
People always come to me for advice, I’m just like doctor Ruth. I’m fascinated by relationships so I’m always reading stuff and sometimes I get a flashback and I want to write from it. Also sometimes, it’s just about the struggle, being an artist is tough and I just want to take something from the experience and sing about it.
Define your style:
Classic with a modern twist.
I’m not a fan of trends and wouldn’t kill myself for it. I get stuff that I can rock for a long time.
Best fashion item:
Jeans. You’d always need it.
In your kale Ni video, there was a cat- what was the idea behind it and its significance?
The director just saw the cat and shot it, I didn’t even see it until I got to the end of the video. He likes to just use random stuff and it was just really nice and cinematographic. I don’t do no voodoo, it was just a cat that was at the venue and we shot it.
What message do you always try to pass in song?
Of course it necessary to pass a deep reflective message but sometimes it’s not about the message. Sometimes I just try to have fun, I just want to spread positivity and hope. You can say heavy things lightly. There’s a lot going on in the economy, flooding everywhere, the unrest in certain parts of the northern part of Nigeria. So for me, anything that helps take their mind off that, even if it’s for four minutes.
What’s your worst peeve in guys?
I hate been accused falsely, it really pisses me off. If he says I did something and I didn’t. Its better that the dirt is out and I decide what to do with it than you trying to act sharp and smart and try to play with my intelligence.
If not music what else would you do?
As of last year, I was like if not music, nothing else. But I’m growing older and there is a need to take care of your body so I would go into organic product for the skin, hair, body and also artiste development. Not necessarily starting a label but I would like to see a raw artiste being transformed and then a talk show host plus I also want to act.
If you were to be invisible for a day what would you do:
I would steal gold bars from American reserves.*laughs
Favorite Nigerian movie: Violated; starring Joke Silver, Rmd etc.
Favorite American movie: Sound of music.
How does it make you feel being referred to as the perfect hook singer?
It makes me feel great because all the people I grew up listening basically did that- Mary J Blige and Aretha Franklin. If people know that you can help better their song, it’s a nice feeling.
How do you try to push your brand ahead of the music?
I’m almost hermit-like and I’m not out and about a lot like some people.
I feel like music has a way of moving. I believe in just pushing out the music. Whoever it’s meant for will find it. While it’s important to push the face and brand, I feel like music has a way of just reaching people.
Tell us about your passion for child development, art development, and gender advocacy:
I’m the mother of an amazing 13-year-old girl and I have a natural nurturing vibe so I feel the children of the world are my children just by extension. And I think that for girls, as a resource, we’re so underutilized and underestimated and the only person that can help to change that are women. I work with a lot of female artists. I’m the kind of person that if you hit me up on social media and ask for help, I would send you links and encourage you to come over and meet me at the office. That’s like the plan for me- to set up an artist development center and I think education is key. I also try to partner with some organizations to help.
Motherhood and music, how has balancing it been like?
I have a great support system, my mum, friends, siblings. It’s tough and there is always the guilt that comes with taking time away from my child, but I’m blessed to have a daughter that’s my fan and is also quite understanding.
Makeup or no makeup; No makeup.
Relaxed hair or natural hair; gurl, relaxed hair; who’s running around with kinky hair.
Favourite outfit; Bubu and kaftan. Just throw it on and go with no underwear.*giggles
What can’t you live without; My phone it’s where everything is at.
Favorite social media app; Whatsapp. Instagram has too much hassle, it’s all about the perception, the right picture, any small mistake, label is calling and saying we don’t like that picture take it down. and Twitter sometimes when I want to drop a quote.
Your favourite fashion designer: Valentino red dress, if he makes one for you, you don enter.
Your fairytale man: He should be between 6.2 and 6.4 in height, dark, have a deep voice, buff and big- someone that can carry me.
Personality wise; His relationship with God has to reflect in how he lives his life, sense of humour is a must, respect for females, respect for strong women especially. There’s nothing wrong with liking a chilled woman but I like a man that likes a fiery woman, someone that listens, basically someone that’s open.
Favourite quote: Do unto others as others would do unto you.
What American musician would you compare yourself with?
Voice-wise; Jenifer Hudson.
What international collaboration are you looking forward to?
Black coffee; a South African DJ: I love how smooth he is and his soulful voice still makes you dance.
John Legend is a dream. If he was to write a song and do a duet with me and perform together, it’s as good as done.
How has it been handling the pressure of being a single mum in the entertainment industry?
Baby mama just comes with drama..as a mum, time is never enough, no matter how much you put in.
What are your future projects and what do you have in store for us?
The new single is ready, once I’m done pushing this video out, I’m working on an EP with an incredible artist from the northern part of Nigeria. The album would be next year God willing.