24-year-old Ruben from the island of Bjarkøy in North Norway has gone from releasing his humble attempts at pop music to quickly reaching a large audience, in Norway and internationally. With more than 100 million streams and nominations for national music awards, including the Spellemann Prize (Norwegian Grammy) for "Newcomer of the Year" and "Song of the Year", Ruben has gotten a kick-start to his career. Not bad for a guy who initially started making music as a way overcome his inner demons.
His debut EP Melancholiccarried on the themes from the songs that had already created waves. They alternate between light and dark, pain and hope - based Ruben’s own experiences. As he explains: "I wanted to make this EP to show those who know me that even though I’m often a happy and energetic person, there’s a lot behind all that, as it is with most people. I wanted to show a wider range, another side of who I am ... and maybe start a conversation.”
For many years, Ruben struggled to articulate this conversation. His songs have his own experiences with social anxiety and insecurity as a focal point. In his teens, he dabbled in film, photo, dance, drawing and painting, before eventually downloading vocal and instrumental tracks that he learned how to edit together. Eventually he began to produce songs himself and music became a safe space that he explored both the technical and emotional aspects of. Songwriting helped him understand and process his own feelings.
His debut single "Walls" (2017) reached number six on Spotify's top chart in Norway, fourth place on the radio chart, and spent over a year on Spotify's top 200. "Lay By Me" reached the top of the radio chart and the sixth spot on Spotify's top chart in Norway. With “Power”, Ruben entered the top lists once again, as #24 on the Norwegian Spotify top 50, holding the top 50 position for over 150 days. Ruben has written all music and lyrics, and is co-producer on all of his tracks.
In the aftermath of the extremely successful EP Melancholic,Ruben has shifted his focus towards the brighter spectrum of emotions with his next single “So High”. He’s described the song as an ode to the feeling of losing yourself in a moment, as a musician but also in life in general. “It’s beautiful to let go and lose yourself with someone you love, or while doing something you love. I started thinking about all the different areas of my life where I’ve experienced this, and wanted to write this song, dedicated to a very close friend of mine.”