Exclusive Interview With Maggie Eckford (Ruelle)
1) Can you tell me a little bit about yourself, your likes and your dislikes?
I was born in Mississippi, so I’m a southerner at heart. I’ve lived in a lot of different places, but I find myself appreciating my roots more and more, the older I get. I’m 29 years old and the middle child of three girls. I love traveling and experiencing new things...I think I spend most of my money on food because I love the experience of eating out, and I’m a sucker for a good atmosphere. I’m infatuated with the ocean and desperately wanted to be a mermaid when I was little (I think I still do). I dislike being stuck in large crowds, celery…that might be the only food I despise. I also hate scary movies…I’m a big baby when it comes to that stuff.
2) Can you tell me a little bit about your early life and what your favorite childhood memories are?
My early life was fairly simple. I grew up in a little town in Mississippi with my two sisters. When I was really small, we lived on a dairy farm and we had a TON of cats roaming around. I specifically remember that for some reason. My dad also used to drive those big semi trucks –18-wheelers, as we called them– when he had a trucking company. He would occasionally let my sisters and I take turns going on “routes” with him, and I remember thinking it was the coolest thing on the planet getting to ride in that massive thing all day. I was obsessed with “The Little Mermaid” growing up, and I would sing all the songs from that movie at the top of my lungs when we were in the truck while my dad made the “wave crashing noises” in the background! He’s the best.
3) Who were your role models growing up, both inside and outside of the music industry?
Hmm…I used to LOVE Amy Grant (still do, if I’m being honest)...she was one of my early favorites, and I always admired her. Interestingly enough, some of the first songs I learned to play on a piano were from Phantom of the Opera. I was in love with those songs, and I looked up to Sarah Brightman –from the original– and thought her voice was so heavenly! I wanted to be like her.
4) When did you decide that you want to pursue music as a professional career?
I’m not sure that I ever had this “aha” moment necessarily, but I did try to do the college thing for nearly three years and realized it was not for me. I remember thinking that college for me was always plan B…music being plan A…and that if I didn’t at least give my all for plan A I would absolutely regret it (little disclaimer: please kids, do not drop out of school). I recognized the importance of an education, so after dropping out I decided to study music and songwriting instead. I just so happened to find a school in Sydney, Australia –a place I always knew I would visit.
5) How are you able to navigate through the difficulties within the music industry, especially given that you are an independent artiste?
I think the biggest thing for me is never letting what I do determine who I am. You have to learn to be happy no matter what your circumstances are. If you think that “making it” in music or that reaching that next goal is going to make you happy, you will be highly disappointed. It’s in the striving that we lose our sense of the here and now. Work hard and dream big, but don’t ever let your entire identity reside in those things. I think the sooner you learn to let go of things that are out of your control, the more things will start to happen naturally for you and open new doors for you. I can look back now at all those doors that closed, the ones that disappointed me at the time, and see them as a blessing and not a curse. Something better was usually around the corner!
6) So, you have actually released two albums under your name ‘Maggie Eckford’ and another album under your musical alter ego ‘Ruelle’. How are you able to navigate between these two musical identities?
Ruelle started as a result of me writing songs for TV/Film. They were all sort of in this darker electronic vein that sounded very different from the previous “Maggie” songs I had done. I sort of just discovered this new sound that felt natural and easy for me, and then when those songs started getting placed a lot in TV and film, I realized I needed to separate the two. It is interesting keeping up with both sometimes, but I think it was the right move. It’s almost like having two different shoe companies. You have to brand them differently because the products are different, even though they are both yours and both companies make shoes. Simple, I know, but true!
7) The music you release under your name is a bridge between pop music and indie music while the music you release under ‘Ruelle’ is a bridge between electronic and pop music. Can you tell me about your songwriting and production process when making music under both musical identities?
Honestly it’s pretty simple. I always focus on getting the best song, whatever that looks like. If it ends up sounding more like Ruelle, I put it under that name. If it seems truer to the Maggie Eckford sound, I list that as the artist. My focus is always to write the best song, and we deal with the details after.
8) I will be the first to admit that I am not a huge fan of contemporary electronic-pop music because it is not very lyrical. However, your music is able to find a good balance between the electronic aspect of the music and the lyrical aspect of the music. Can you tell me how you find, navigate, and maintain that balance?
I grew up writing poetry and short stories before I started writing songs. I think this has always carried over into my songwriting. I was that kid in school who loved writing essays. So lyrics have always held a special place in my heart. Phrasing is a big deal to me too. If a line doesn’t ‘sing well’, I won’t use it. It may take me a bit longer than some songwriters to write lyrics, but it’s because that aspect of the process is very important to me.
9) Your album ‘Up in Flames’, released under Ruelle was amazing. What was the inspiration behind the album, and is there an overarching theme that is present or that you tried to incorporate in the album?
I love film, so most of these songs were written with that in mind. I would envision scenes or stories/scenarios in my head. I’ve always been fascinated by movie scores, so a lot of those songs are sort of my version of composing music in order to depict feeling and emotion within a scene. It sounds weird because the scenes were usually just within my head, but one of my favorite things is the emotion that happens as a result of the marriage between music and film. I wanted the EP to have a strong cinematic element to it.
10) You released a song ‘Let The Light Back’ under your name Maggie Eckford and that is my favorite song of yours till date. The song never fails to make me cry when I listen to it and it is just so beautiful. Can you tell me the inspiration behind the song?
Thank you! That means a lot! I remember discussing what we were going to write about that day (I wrote that song with my friend Alain Whyte), and we just sort of talked out scenarios. One of those scenarios was, “What would you want to sing about or want to say to a loved one who may be in a really hard place, whether physically or emotionally, in order to give them some sense of hope?” I connected with that, and it was an approach lyrically that I hadn’t taken before. So that’s the angle we wrote the song from.
11) Are you currently working on any new songs, a new EP/album, or any new musical projects or collaborations?
Oh I have lots of things up my sleeve. I’m always writing, and I have several songs I’m really excited about. I definitely plan on releasing more music soon…it might not be until next year, but that’s because I’m working hard on making sure it’s something that feels complete and something that I’m really proud of. These things shouldn’t be rushed.
12) Can you tell prospective fans why they should pick up your album? What do you think separates your sound/music from other musicians out there?
Hmm…I’ve always found it hard to “sell myself”, but I think for me I can honestly say that my music will always come out of a very real, very genuine place. I’m very passionate about what I do, and it will always be authentic. I hope that you can hear it in my voice when you hear the songs. A lot of emotion goes in, and therefore a lot of emotion comes out when you listen to it...I really hope that my listeners can feel and sense that. There’s a depth there that I will always strive for lyrically and musically, and that will never change as long as I’m doing what I’m doing.
13) What advice do you have for young and aspiring artists out there, or for young people in general?
Keep writing and work hard. But, like I said before, never let what you do determine who you are. Find happiness in who you are as a person first and foremost, and be comfortable in your own skin. That is something that no one can take away from you. Learn to let things go quickly, and don’t focus on what hasn’t happened yet. BE KIND to people. I’m a firm believer that things go well for you when you give back and put others first. The most attractive thing about a person, ESPECIALLY those that are really successful, is humility and kindness. You will go far in life, if you can hold onto those things.
To Purchase Ruelle’s Music: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/artist/ruelle/id937490184
To Purchase Maggie Eckford’s Music: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/artist/maggie-eckford/id372968240
Facebook (Ruelle): https://www.facebook.com/ruellemusic
Twitter (Ruelle): https://twitter.com/ruellemusic
Instagram (Ruelle): https://instagram.com/ruellemusic/
Facebook (Maggie Eckford): https://www.facebook.com/maggieeckford
Twitter (Maggie Eckford): https://twitter.com/maggieeckford
Instagram (Maggie Eckford): https://instagram.com/maggieeckford/