The name Ruth Lorenzo jumped back onto everyone’s lips a couple of weeks ago when current X Factor finalist Treyc Cohen performed Purple Rain on the show.
It’s no surprise – since Lorenzo wowed the British public with her rendition of that song in 2008, it has been performed twice by contestants on the show – last year by Simon’s act Danyl Johnson and this year by Treyc Cohen. When Cohen performed the song, Lorenzo’s name jumped to the top of the Twitter trending pages.
But what of Ruth Lorenzo? Well, I caught up with her this week for a chat about what she’s been doing since her time on X Factor. Despite a split with her record label EMI during the summer, Ruth is buoyant and upbeat and planning her debut album. And from what we hear, it’s going to be heavy!
It’s been a couple of years since we last spoke – you and I had a chat after you finished X Factor. What have you been up to?
Two years. I’ve been writing. Writing and trying to get my album done, which has been a bit of a journey, but we’re getting there.
I’d heard that you’d had some trouble with EMI. What happened to make you leave the label back in August?
Well it was actually not trouble trouble. EMI were in a complicated situation anyway, business and financially. So they weren’t really coming to a path. Everybody was everywhere and I needed a bit of direction. I needed people to follow direction and to go with me where I wanted to go and everybody was just lost. So I left.
But that was back in August, yet you’re already planning to release an album.
Yes. In fact, the first single is ready to go. But because there’s so many people coming out for Christmas, we’re holding it back a little bit. And then the album is gonna come along, I guess for the summertime. All the songs have been written, everything is done and ready, but it has to be thrown out in the right time.
So, it’s called The Raspberry Pattern?
That’s the name of my band. We’re still deciding on the album name. It might be called the same as the band, might just be Ruth Lorenzo and The Raspberry Pattern. I need to get people used to hearing The Raspberry Pattern, because what I want is to tour with my band and do what I’ve always done which is rock and roll. It takes a bit of time for people to get used to seeing you not as that person from The X Factor.
For me it’s absolutely fine, because X Factor has given me so much. I came to this country with just a suitcase and look at me now. So it’s been a great experience and whenever I get asked about it, I will always talk about it, and I will always watch the show, coz I love it. But at the same time, I have my own identity that I was able to show on X Factor, but very little of it. I want my identity to come through with this first album, which is so important. The first album an artist does, especially after so much exposure and everything – it’s something that is part of you. One of the most important things for me is to be taken seriously as a musician, a vocalist and a songwriter. I’m not a puppet. Never been.
You played a clip of a song on Vimeo called Bloodline – it’s a lot heavier than I would have expected from you…is that where the album’s going?
I know! That’s where the album’s going.
When you were on X Factor, they did try to peg you as the rocker of that year…
It came across that way because I really love rock music. They were trying to tag me as the Latino, new Gloria Estefan, sexy big hair, big boobs, big ass thing. And really nobody was listening to me sing. They were always staring at them dresses that I was getting put on, which were beautiful. But the only time I got people to really hear me sing was when I was saving myself – when I sang Purple Rain, when I sang Knocking On Heaven’s Door. And it doesn’t matter if you sing rock in a fancy dress – the thing about singing rock is that you have to sing it from your heart. It’s like Flamenco, you have to sing it from your heart or else it’s not Flamenco. It’s the same with blues. You have to put so much passion and so much gut and so much emotion into it.
Have you ever reached a point after X Factor where you’ve felt that you’d have to give up on the dream and settle down to a regular job?
No, never ever. I’ve always sang, that’s all I’ve done. No. Never.
The one thing that interests me about X Factor in particular is when you come off the show, does it go quiet?
No, I’m still doing shows every weekend. It goes quiet for some people. I had the luck that I was remembered. I still am remembered. A couple of weeks ago, one of the girls on The X Factor sang Purple Rain. And all of a sudden, my followers went crazy on Twitter and I had 3,000 more followers in one day! I became trending on Twitter worldwide…I became the second most mentioned thing on Twitter and the third was Purple Rain.
I wanted to ask you about that – you were the first person to sing Purple Rain on X Factor and every year since someone has sang that song…
I think they’re trying to recreate that moment. It was such a moment, because first of all no-one was expecting me to sing well. Everybody thought I was a cute Spanish girl. Except Dannii Minogue who was my mentor and she knew how I was. I remember when I said I wanted to sing Purple Rain and I got told no. I said “Why?” and they said because your voice doesn’t really suit it. And I had been singing that song for six years as the closing song of my shows! So they weren’t really interested, they just thought she’s a really cute Spanish girl and we can make her into Gloria Estefan. But when I came out and I sang, I think that was the moment. And I sang in a way to say “You listen to this, because I can sing! Just take me seriously, for fuck’s sake!”
We talk briefly about this years X Factor contestants…
I love Rebecca Ferguson though, I just think she has these angel eyes.
Do you think she can sell music?
I think she could sell music. You know, pop doesn’t sell. Pop sells in very big scale. Britney Spears sells pop, Lady GaGa sells pop, Katy Perry sells pop. But pop stays on the radio for one week, and then it goes into one of those CDs…songs of the year, 2010! That’s what happens to pop, it’s like fashion almost. But then there’s real music. Sade will always sell albums, Sting will always sell albums and Tina Turner will always sell albums. It’s real music, it’s not just pop. It’s not just something to get a lot of money out of quick and fast.
But isn’t that how X Factor operates? They get their winner, make a record, sell a few singles and that person eventually disappears again…
It’s really sad, but that’s normally what happens. Not only on X Factor, but in the pop world. I think Simon Cowell is a really smart guy and he sees the pattern. I think that he’ll make Rebecca – if she wins – into a proper selling artist.
Do you think she’ll win?
I hope so. I like Rebecca and I love Matt. He’s really good.
So, just to clear up any confusion Ruth, The Raspberry Pattern is actually the name of your band, not your album? And you’ve done something pretty permanent with it?
It’s on my arm, yeah. It’s tattooed on my arm. I got the tattoo way before the band came along and everything. I had the idea one evening at my house. Not this last June, but the June before. In order for me to make music, I need musicians, I need people around me. It’s really hard to go in and make music with people you don’t know and then sit in front of a machine. It’s really cold.
It doesn’t work like that, for me at least.
I’m a dyslexic and I love numbers. I have this fascination with patterns and numbers and everything else. And it happens to be that raspberries have a random pattern and the randomness of it is like the universe. So I got it in my arm and then I said it would be awesome for a band name!
It’s a bit like Bon Jovi – two members of the band will always be the same, but the rest keep changing.
Do you think it’ll be Ruth Lorenzo and The Raspberry Pattern?
No, I want to hopefully let it be as The Raspberry Pattern, because my plan is not to stay in the UK, because rock and roll doesn’t really do much here. All you guys’ rock bands do better outside normally. We already have a little tour booked in Germany, and nobody knows out there who Ruth Lorenzo is, so it’ll just be the Raspberry Pattern.
So, how many songs do you have ready for the album?
I’ve written over fifty songs in the last year and a half. For the album, there’s thirteen tracks and there might be a few surprises in there.
Any covers from X Factor?
I’m not allowed to cover Purple Rain, so I can’t put it in there. You know what, I’m gonna put a few hidden tracks in there, because most of my fans have asked for things like that.
I’ve heard that you’ve written songs for Dannii Minogue
Dannii is like a sister to me. I was showing her my songs one day and she fell in love with one of them called Coz You’re Beautiful. She fell in love with that and because I have so many songs I said “Listen, you want to keep it? Fine!” I’d love Dannii to record an album, I think Dannii needs to sing again. People don’t realise what a good singer she is. I’d love people to see.
I said to her, this song you can give it a try. She was like “It’s a great song, it’s really catchy and commercial. Are you sure you don’t want it?” and I said, “Well, it’s my song. If I want it, I can make a version of it. But go ahead and try it.” And she did, she loved it. So she kept it. And I’m still writing for her, I’m writing for other artists and I’m writing for a singer from Spain. I wrote a soundtrack for a Spanish series.
The song you’ve given to Dannii – is it a rock song or a ballad?
It’s an upbeat, we could say rock/dance beat. I think she’ll try something different, I think she’s settled down a lot. She’s grown so much as a woman, as a mother, as a partner. I think she’s got loads of things to say, so when she makes an album, it’s gonna be a big part of her. Seriously, she’s so lovely. She’s so real. She doesn’t care what cameras are around her, she’s so real, she cares. She used to come every Sunday morning for when we chose songs for the week ahead. She used to come in the morning after being tired from the show on Saturday night. Sometimes Kris would come along with her, and she’d be there in her Ugg boots and a big jumper, giving us support.
She still gives me advice today. I was there with her yesterday at the launch of her perfume. She’s a beautiful person, in and out.
She gets along well with everybody, with all the judges. But she keeps herself to herself. She concentrates on her profession and trying to do the best. She’s very focused.
Are you still in touch with anybody from your year of X Factor?
Yes, yes. Almost everybody. Still in touch with Alex, with the JLS boys. Diana Vickers…we’re always together, we talk every day. Diana is so cool, that little girl. I still see her as a little girl, because she’s only 19. She’s so cool, she hasn’t changed, nothing. She’s still the same person. I went along to watch her performance and support her.
There were a few stories in the tabloid that said you and Alexandra Burke had fallen out after the show ended?
No no. There were dancers on the show and everything that wanted a bit of attention. But no way, Alex and I are really good friends. We’re not together every day anymore – she’s in North London and I’m in South London and she’s always traveling and stuff. But we always keep in touch with each other. So no, that’s all crap!