Ruel Essentials

Ruel Essentials

Ruel Vincent van Dijk knows all too well the rigors of pop star life. A recurring theme in his music is how the road takes him away from his loved ones, whether he’s “always on a different continent” in “as long as you care,” singing about “window seats as the plane starts leavin’” in the pop-R&B-flavored “Painkiller,” or heartbreakingly capturing the pain of missing his friends and family in the gospel-indebted ballad “Hard Sometimes.” The London-born, Sydney-raised artist is, however, simply singing about what he knows–having released his first single, the R&B/soul-tinged “Don’t Tell Me,” at 14, Ruel’s teenage years have been spent circumnavigating the globe, balancing studies with international writing sessions and shows. Love is also a regular subject, be it in “Don’t Tell Me”–written after talking to his family as a 12-year-old about a crush he had, only to be told he was too young to understand such things–or “Real Thing,” which is inspired by the scene in High Fidelity when John Cusack’s Rob proposes to Iben Hjejle’s Laura. Discovered at the age of 12 by manager Nate Flagrant after he heard a demo of Ruel singing James Bay’s “Let It Go,” under the tutelage of Flagrant and Grammy-winning producer M-Phazes the singer has not only mined his own rich seam of pop and R&B, but become a sought-after collaborator, his soulful vocals lending gravitas to Hilltop Hoods’ “Fire & Grace” and a lightness of touch to Cosmo’s Midnight’s pop-centric “Down for You.”

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