It all started after a demo featuring Ruel singing a cover of James Bay’s “Let It Go” landed in the hands of producer M-Phazes (Eminem, Amy Shark, Logic), which lead to a meeting with the young artist.. M-Phazes connected Ruel with Australian songwriter Thief (Chromeo, Tobias Jesso Jr.) and the two wrote “Golden Years,” which ended up becoming Ruel’s official debut. Not long after, Ruel was invited to perform on Australian radio station Triple J’s “Like A Version,” where he sang a stripped-down version of “Golden Years” and a cover of Jack Garratt’s “Weathered.”The jaw-dropping performance showcased Ruel’s dazzling voice, which can slide effortlessly from gritty tenor to airy falsetto on a dime, and the video quickly became one of the most-viewed “Like a Version” performances of the year after receiving over half a million plays in just 48 hours.
Shortly after Ruel’s “Like A Version” episode was posted, he released “Don’t Tell Me” and was invited to write with Julia Stone, which led to him supporting Angus & Julia Stone on their sold-out Australian tour. In October, Elton John, who was on tour in Australia, requested a meeting and an interview with Ruel for his Rocket Hour show on Beats 1, telling him: “You have the most amazing voice that I've ever heard from a male singer at 14 years of age and it's quite incredible.” Not long after, Ruel was invited to support his future RCA Records label mate Khalid on his Australia/New Zealand tour, performing to more than 5,000 people a night. A month later, “Don’t Tell Me” was featured in Beats by Dre’s #AboveTheNoise film (starring Cara Delevingne, Neymar Jr, Serena Williams, and others), which sent the track’s streaming numbers soaring once again. “I think ‘Don’t Tell Me’ fits the film perfectly, because it’s about rising above the noise, rising above people who are putting you down, which is exactly what the song is about,” Ruel says.
In the summer of 2018, Ruel released his debut EP, Ready via RCA Records. The 6-track collection of songs has since racked up over 55 million combined streams and features choice cuts such as the soulful pop gem “Younger,” which The Line Of Best Fit praised for putting “interpersonal disconnect front and center,” hailing the young multi-instrumentalist for “going full throttle on a pop sound built on a flawless blueprint.” Another EP standout, “Dazed & Confused,” which is currently sitting on over 14 million streams, was described by PAPER Magazineas “swaggeringly confident,” who raved raving about its “million dollar chorus,” while Time Magazine likened the song to “Purpose-era Justin Bieber’s most mature and earworm-ready hits,” adding ‘Dazed and Confused’ stands apart by drawing on blues and R&B for added depth.” Rounding out the EP are gems like the infectious, falsetto-laden alt R&B influenced “Not Thinkin’ Bout You,” and “Say,” a nostalgic, heart-felt ballad that showcases the young artist’s impressive vocal range and control, with Time Magazine comparing him to Sam Smith and lauding the song as “spare, balladic and rich, with delicate falsetto reaches and vocals that hear his voice breaking in sweet earnestness.” While the ‘Ready’ EP is only just the beginning for Ruel, it is an impressive start to what’s sure to be long and fruitful career.
“All my songs are about personal experiences,” Ruel says. “Songwriting helps me get through things, feelings that I don’t understand myself. When I write about something, it helps me figure it out in the process. But I want people of all ages, whether they’re 15 or 50, to be able to relate to my songs.”