Australian pop princess Delta Goodrem almost recorded one of Ruby Frost's songs recently, but right now it's the Auckland star's own musical talents turning heads.
Frost, born Jane de Jong, has some serious musical momentum behind her. Her first album, Volition, has just debuted at number five on the New Zealand charts and she is wrapping up a mini North Island tour in Auckland tonight. All in all, winter has been good for Frost so far and things look to be heating up.
The 25-year-old grew up surrounded by music. Her parents run Christian music label and festival Parachute Music, and it was almost a foregone conclusion the naturally creative Frost would end up in the industry.
"I think my whole life I've watched [my parents] do things and record things and I've picked up little tips here and there. My mum has always tried to teach me piano or teach me how to sing harmonies, so music has always just been around. I guess I couldn't escape it."
She was given an acoustic guitar when she was 16 and it was then that "random, little ideas" came together as songs.
The problem was Frost was too shy to tell anyone about them.
"When I finally got a guitar, then I could put chords to my ideas, but I still did it undercover. I was really shy at high school and I didn't tell anyone I sang, so it took me a few years to get comfortable, even with the idea of performing."
Watching the pink-haired popstar on stage these days, it's hard to believe it doesn't come naturally. A Ruby Frost show is more than just a shy singer taking shelter behind a microphone - there are costumes and sparkles and theatrics and drama, just how the singer likes it.
"I love the idea of putting on a show for people - it's fun to make it into a special event or a spectacle and that's why I like dressing up, because it gives it a bigger sense of occasion and it helps me get into the mode of 'OK, be extroverted now'."
But it is still songwriting that is her first love. Frost began writing the album coming out of what she describes as a "bad breakup" and says some of the songs are dark and emotional.
"The album became about how creativity is such an amazingly powerful thing, and it really did pull me out of that dark awful place. I felt like I was in this hole and I didn't know how to get out of it. But I got out of it by writing."
So where does Delta Goodrem fit into all of this? It turns out the pair had some management in common and one of Frost's songs found its way to a shortlist for the Australian's next album. It didn't quite make the cut, but for Frost it proved anything was possible and inspired her to look at songwriting for others as a future career path - especially if Beyonce were to call.
"It's just cool that you can write a song that's personal to you and then it can go on and have a life of its own - that's really powerful."
RUBY FROST VOLITION TOUR
WHERE: Pony Club, Auckland
WHEN: Thursday, June 21
- © Fairfax NZ News
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