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  • Writer's pictureHIDEOUS Magazine

Nuha Ruby Ra shares new single '6 In The Morning'

Words by Chiara Strazzulla

For anyone looking for music which incorporates intriguing storytelling, stunning vocals, and the ability to paint a whole picture within the constraints of a relatively short track, Nuha Ruby Ra is fast establishing herself as a must-know artist.

Photo Credit: Billie Turnbull

Out of East London, she has been taking the world by storm with a remarkable blend of post-punk, rock-pop, and a touch of blues. Since the critically acclaimed release of her first EP in 2021 she has graced clubs and festivals with her charisma-laden stage presence, supporting the likes of Bambara, Viagra Boys, and Warmduscher and making an impression on crowds at grassroots venues and festivals. Now she’s back with a new EP, ‘Machine Like Me’, to be released mid-March 2023 for Brace Yourself Records, which promises to be yet another upgrade on a sound that was already ambitious to begin with, channelling the energy of her live appearances into the studio setting.

For those curious for a taster, this new single is the perfect introduction: whether you’re already familiar with Nuha Ruby Ra or you’re a complete newcomer to the layered, unpredictable, slightly hallucinatory world of her music, it is hard not to be charmed by the way in which this track willingly and deliberately breaks all the rules of contemporary songwriting, evokes a vivid image of a warehouse party in Hackney dragging so late it’s early and does an excellent job of conveying a whole atmosphere through songwriting that manages to come across sophisticated in spite of being very cleverly stripped-down.

"The most important thing to me is that I do exactly what I want

It is a moody track, coming across as dark and dirty in places, dominated by Nuha Ruby Ra’s distinctive vocals, which remain centre stage even as the sound unfolds all around them. At first, you may notice the rhythm section, particularly the relentlessness of the percussions, almost a ticking clock marking the time along which the events unfold; just like the story it is narrating, the music is exciting, immersive, and a little daunting.

A second listen brings attention to the many little touches which build up the momentum of the song, never overwhelming the vocals but in a sense bringing further emphasis to them; it is a somewhat minimalist, very clever kind of songwriting, with guitars coming in rough and loud where they are most needed, then withdrawing once again into the background, sometimes coming through with a single chord or a brief, impactful flurry of notes in contrast to the steady thrumming of the drums. The single puts to good use all of Ruby Ra’s impressive vocal range, and is built on her almost uncanny expressiveness: it feels like being taken by the hand and led through the haze of the busy, almost disconcerting scene the song is depicting. It would almost be something out of a film, if one tried to close their eyes while listening and turn the song into pictures.

The production on the track is also to be praised, striking a difficult balance between a clear intervention in the places where an additional echo or a subtle distortion is needed in order to amplify the feeling of immersion that this single is going for, and the ability to step back and let the vocals prevail in their raw form where a clear emotion needs to be conveyed. It is not at all difficult to imagine this track being performed in a club late at night, under low lights, with the audience swaying in time with its compelling rhythm; there is an honesty to it that makes it feel like it is a sketch from life, in music form. It is certainly a growth from the kind of sound, already impressive, that was to be found in the 2021 EP: imbued with greater confidence, presenting the listener with a greater challenge, more unbridled, requiring less embellishment, more than enough to spark high expectations for the upcoming record.

There is a peculiar, rather difficult-to-achieve brand of artistry in putting together a song that, even in its apparent simplicity, pays attention to so many small moving parts that on every listen a different detail appears to come to the forefront, once again as it might be a case when trying to navigate a busy social event in a Hackney warehouse – if you’ve had the experience, you will recognise it in the lyrics and the sound alike, and if you haven’t, you will find yourself catapulted into someone else’s perception, and might even feel somewhat unsteady as a result. By the end of the track, one is bound to feel perhaps a little stunned: as one would coming out of the kind of party ‘6 In The Morning’ has invited us to. Be warned, though: downing a paracetamol tablet and a glass of water will not be enough to get this song out of your head, and you may very well find that you don’t want to.


Listen to '6 In The Morning' here.

Catch Nuha Ruby Ra live:

March 5th - Edinburgh, Scotland - Queens Hall (with Self Esteem)

March 6th - Glasgow, Scotland - Barrowlands (with Self Esteem)

March 7th - Brighton, England - The Dome (with Self Esteem)

March 8th - UK Session, Pavilion, Hannover

March 9th - Cardiff, Wales - Tramshed (with Self Esteem)

May 27th - Wide Awake Festival, London

August 4th - Wilderness Festival, Oxford

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