Ruth has been a regular performer here at The Actress & Bishop for some years now, we’ve watched her grow from a shy songstress to an unstoppable powerhouse and we’ve loved every minute! Ruth began at our fortnightly open mic night hosted by Luke Webley and now runs her very own monthly night every third Sunday of the month, Ruth Kokumo’s Showcase. Ruth’s night is packed full of talent, character and soul. With different special guests each month as well as her house band no event is the same! We caught up with Ruth to see how she’s getting on being away from the stage and to find out what we can expect from Ruth’s Showcase when it returns…

– Hello Ruth! Thank you for taking the time to join us for our monthly Actress Q&A. We’ve missed you! How has lockdown life treated you?

Oh, it’s a pleasure! Lockdown has been an emotional rollercoaster. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve made some amazing memories but the anxiety has tried to overshadow them.

Ruth’s popular regular Sunday night residency will return every third Sunday of the month!

– Have you been working on any new music whilst you’ve been locked away?

I have been writing new music but not at the pace I had planned. At the end of February The Ark & I decided to take a 3 month break from gigging to write, safe to say we didn’t expect every other band we know to join us due to global pandemic.

– What do you miss most about playing live?

God, I miss the people. I miss dancing with the audience the most. Dancing alone in your bedroom doesn’t really cut it.

– You’ve been with us for a long time now, you’re part of the family! Tell us about your Actress journey?

Actress has been a private tutor to me. I have learnt incredible amounts of things when it comes to performing. The Actress family have nurtured me, given me the space to grow, given me great advice and even books! I honestly can’t believe I’ve gone from a shy open mic regular, to solo support act, solo headline act, full band support act all the way to hosting my own night in about 3 years!

– What are your thoughts on the Birmingham music scene at the moment? 

The Birmingham music scene is vast! There are so many little pockets you can get lost in. It took me a while to discover as much as I have now, which means there’s so much more waiting for me. There’s a place for everyone and unlike other cities I do believe we mingle between groups more.

– The special guests you have on your show are always amazing! What do you look for when inviting musicians to play at The Showcase?

Most gigs The Ark & I play have multiple bands on the line up. It’s impossible not to find a new favourite band when playing a great gig. I’m open to all genres and styles along as they make me dance hard! I think that’s the only requirement; make me dance!

Ruth started at The Actress attending our fortnightly Open mic night hosted by Luke Webley

– Any plans for an album to come out in the near future?

Yes! And I’m so excited to teach the band all the new songs I’ve wrote these past few months. I really needed the space to just breathe before I could even think about writing.

– Your bands called Ruth & The Ark, what’s the story behind ‘the ark’

My surname is Noah and I just couldn’t help myself! Regardless of me humouring myself I think the name suits us perfectly, it always seems to rain when we play!

– What would you say has been the biggest learning curve for you as a musician?

At the beginning of my journey I lacked the confidence to really push myself. I wanted to grow but I didn’t believe I was capable. Now I just ask. My mom always says “If you don’t ask, you don’t get”. I learnt to really use my voice! 

– What have you got coming up as a band?

Ask Boris! We’re waiting for the all clear to get back to work. So for now we’re practicing and writing, that’s about all we can do other than online performances, which doesn’t feel as emotionally rewarding.

– When The Ruth Kokumo showcase returns what can we expect from you & the gang? 

Musical combustion. Imagine months worth of pent up shredding being released into a jam session! You’d be silly not to bring your dancing shoes as well as your instrument. I’ve genuinely missed my fellow musicians, I miss creating amazing music there on the spot. Expect greatness.

Quick fire round: 

If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life what would it be? Lasagna.

Would you rather be able to speak every language in the world or speak to animals? Animals.

If you could only sing one song for the rest of your life what song would you choose? Grease’s You’re The One That I Want.

Who would play you in a film about your life? Halle Berry Circa 90’s 

Name your favourite sound?My nephew Troy’s laugh

And finally, what do you believe a person needs to be happy?