Bradley Nowell of Sublime may have been waiting for his ‘Ruca’, but the search for Phoenix’s very own ‘Ruca’ is over. It was the day when I was at the Rogue bar in Scottsdale Arizona at a benefit show. After my set, I hung around to check out and enjoy the rest of my evening listening to some good live music. I am glad I did that because later that evening, a very young, beautiful and enchanting daughter of mother Earth, a girl in her flowing fairy-like dress and her bare feet, entertained us with her wonderful story telling songs. She introduced herself as ‘Ruca’. Her presence, radiance, charisma; her raw-silken singing with a sad undertone, makes Ruca a very mesmerizing and enchanting Singer/Songwriter/Guitar player.
Raised by a couple of hard-core deadheads, Ruca was encouraged by her mother to pick up an instrument early on in her life. She joined the elementary school band and played the flute for 2 years. While in school she pursued showing horses competitively and has had quite a few successful accomplishments to her name. All along, quietly back in the corner, she was playing her father’s Fender Stratocaster guitar without hooking it up to an amp. The course of her life changed after her father bought her a beginner’s guitar from a local music store. All though horribly nervous; coaxed by her friends and supported by her parents, she started attending local open mic nights. ‘What I Got’ by Sublime was her first song as a public performance. It was a huge moment for her and she recalls it by saying, “I barely took a breath the whole song, but the applause afterwards was what kept me going”. She was only 15. Next seven years or so, she was visiting two or three different local venues a week playing her favorite cover songs. “I loved to sing and I loved to be on stage”, said Ruca when I asked her about what inspired her to perform. She loves singing so much that, even at work, she communicates with hers peers in melody. Ruca’s organic music emanates love, groove and flow; at times with a reggae feel.
Telling me the story behind her name Ruca, she said, “After I started a youTube channel with the intent of getting honest feedback on my sound, I wanted to use a secret identity – Ruca was the first thing that came to me.” The name Ruca is from sublime’s song ‘Waiting for my Ruca’, which she especially loves. “‘Ruca’ is your one true love, that some of us wait for what seems like a lifetime”, added Ruca. Since then she has been out and around the valley of the Sun performing under the name, Ruca.
Speaking of her favorite band Sublime, Ruca said, “I bought every album they ever released, dug up bootleg recordings of live shows, relentlessly read lyrics and learned guitar riffs. They were the soundtrack of my life when I was just starting out in music and definitely have an influence on my flavor – and my name.” Lyrically, Ruca hopes to write songs like Amy Winehouse. Fat Freddy’s Drop – an amazing jam band from New Zealand, Incubus, The Grateful Dead, Slightly Stoopid, Nirvana, Jason Mraz, Norah Jones, Tristan Prettyman, Steel Pulse, are a few to name from a list of acts that have influenced her music.
The chain of events that happened next in her life enhanced her talent even more. “In December of 2010, I was approached after my set at The Rogue Bar’s open mic, by a girl who said she loved my sound. I gave her my information, and she sent my youTube link to a local producer, Jack Howell of WilloDisc”, said Ruca talking about it. Having never even attempted to write a song, upon Jack’s invitation, Ruca went to his studio to see if they could co-write anything. “Two hours later, we had written my first original song ever!”, said Ruca summarizing her visit to WilloDisc. A year since that incident Ruca and Jack Howell have written, recorded and released a 13 song album called ‘Flow’ which was released in May 2012. Talking about this quantum leap in her life Ruca said, “When I started writing and playing originals, everything changed. I felt such a deeper connection to the music I was playing because it was mine, my stories, my pain, my happiness”. Claiming to be still brand new to this whole songwriting, performing business, she said. “…there are so many more stories I have yet to tell, let alone to live!”
In closing, Ruca said, “Arizonahas such a blossoming explosion of local talent and there is so much love among everyone. Between the bands, artists, venue owners and fans, it really is one giant family.” Ruca lives by the philosophy of ‘love and live without fear’. “We aren’t guaranteed tomorrow!”, she says. Ruca is happy where she is at. I for one, love her songs and her talent. ‘Hands Off’ is my favorite single. I am very happy and thankful to having made her acquaintance.
Ruca can be seen singing and performing solo with her acoustic guitar at various venues around the valley. There are also times when you can catch her performing with a band comprising of her friends Anamieke Quinn on bass, Josh Montag on Drums and Jack Howell on guitar. Besides several shows this winter, the band will also be at the Apache Lake Music Festival in October rocking an acoustic set speaking of which she said, “It was my first festival last year and I’m excited to be back with some more experience under my belt!” When asked where else she can be seen performing, Ruca said, “I frequent places like The Rogue Bar, Long Wongs, Zpizza, The Sail Inn, etc., We have too many great local haunts to list!”. All upcoming shows and events are listed on her web site at http://www.casaruca.com/. You can purchase her singles, including the song ‘Flow’, on her web site, on itunes and also at http://www.arizonatunes.com/. Her reverbnation page is http://www.reverbnation.com/casaruca/. If you are interested in watching her youTube videos that document her evolution from a girl singing hiding in a closet, to a charismatic person that she is today, visit her channel at http://www.youtube.com/xxrucaxx/. Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/CasaRUCA/.
Ruca is also a great psychedelic artist. Her hand drawn colorful graphics are simply stunning and oozes with her loving and playful spirit. She also loves Steven King’s books.
Watch out for Ruca, she has been honing her live performance chops at theArizonanightclubs and festivals, both with a full band and as a solo acoustic artist and Ruca is going to sweep you off your feet and raise your frequency-vibe. Ruca, the enchanting daughter of mother Earth; bless her so that her dream of headlining the Bonnaroo festival may come true. Ruca is aiming high and wants to take everyone along on a trip to the enchanting land of music, story telling and reggae.
Aren’t you going to come along!?