Raising Voices – Career Spotlight Ruth Patterson, Singer/Songwriter & Composer


Career Spotlight

Ruth Patterson, Singer/Songwriter & Composer
Read more about Ruth and her work here.

Ruth’s unique take on baroque pop lends a nod to contemporary writers including Aldous Harding and Angel Olsen. In 2020, Ruth was Sage Gateshead’s Artist-In-Residence and received the coveted PRS Women Make Music award. As a wheelchair user and passionate activist Ruth is an ambassador for Attitude is Everything who campaign to improve Deaf and disabled people’s access to live music.

Attitude is Everything have recently published their new Accessible Employment Guide to help improve the inclusion of Deaf and disabled workers in the commercial music sector.

 1. How did you first get into music publishing/songwriting/composing?
I have always been into music from a very early age and, after figuring out a few chords on the piano, I started writing songs and composing little pieces of music from about 10 years old. They were terrible songs but I loved it! I also liked the way that music brought people together and I discovered lots of new friends. That’s how I got to be in my first band a few years later. I signed to Wipeout Publishing about five years ago and I’ve had loads of unexpected success with sync and music publishing. As well as TV, film and adverts, I have recently learnt more about the library side of music publishing and started collaborating with library composers doing sessions with vocals and playing on instrumentals. 

2. What do you love most about your job?
What I love most about my job is that it encompasses so many different things. Being a musician isn’t just playing music. I learn so much all the time. I learn about business, composing, tour management, songwriting, people skills, fashion, design etc. This all keeps the job fulfilling and exciting as well as giving me the opportunity to meet lots of different types of people working in lots of different fields. Above anything, I love the feeling of performance but it’s all these other sides to my job that keep me learning and progressing and excited about the next steps!

3. What does a working day look like for you? Is there a typical day?
I don’t think I could say that I have a typical day but right now I spend a lot of my time songwriting, developing ideas, demoing, recording and working on production. When the first lockdown hit and all touring was cancelled, I built a home studio in my spare room so that has been a kind of lifeline. Up until March 2020, I was touring intensely for months, and I didn’t really have a lot of time to do much else apart from hibernate in between shows so it has been quite nice to have the quiet time to reflect and spend time in one place! Other times it can be a lot of admin – making battle plans for release schedules and how it will all go together, building the team and reaching out to different industry professionals. I have a Fashion Design degree so I also try to put that to good use and make a lot of my own stage outfits so sometimes it’s sitting in bed with the sketchbook. I live for the variety!


4. Is there someone or one company experience that has particularly inspired you? A career champion or inspiring team?
I love working with Wipeout Music Publishing as they have such a great work ethic. I find it such a breath of fresh air in the music industry to work with a company that is totally transparent and honest. I always know I can trust exactly what the team says and they are so approachable to chat to for advice on where to direct music if intended for sync and what current trends are. It’s really important for musicians to be aware of these things if they are going after a sustainable career in music. First and foremost, music needs to make the creator fulfilled on an artistic level but I think this company really finds the balance between trying to encourage and work with authentic music, as well as guiding relevant musicians and composers to specific publishing. They are big champions in my eyes! 

5. What (if any) particular challenges have you faced so far in your career? How did you get past these?
I have found many great challenges as a disabled woman in music. It’s not just the common problems like lack of ramps and access for my wheelchair but more importantly it is barriers faced by problems in attitude as well. I have suffered people backstage inappropriately trying to grab me in the guise of helping me around in an inaccessible space or even things like patronising language from venue staff, tech crew who don’t even contemplate I might be in the band (I must be just someone’s girlfriend). These things can be exhausting and damaging but I have found being part of an organisation called Attitude Is Everything has been hugely helpful for me. Campaigning for change and being part of a supportive community makes all these challenges easier to face! 

6. What top 3 tips would you give to someone just starting out in music publishing or taking their career to the next level?
Make the music that you want to make and try not to compare yourself too much to other artists when you’re in the midst of writing. It’s a tough industry to work in so remember to be kind to yourself and allow yourself time to take breaks and reset. Listen to publishers when they give advice and always allow enough time for them to get your music out there. It really can pay off and when it does it can completely open up your career. 




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