Jack Rua


IT has been interesting learning about Jack Rua...


and his ascent into the music industry. I wanted to know about his recent single, Scarlet A, and what will come next; the sort of artists that inspire him and which artist he’d support if he could – he selects a few albums that have helped shape him.

The Dublin-based artist talks about the scene where he is and picks a few approaching acts to watch; how he spends time away from music and where we can see him play next – he selects a pretty good track to end the interview with.


Hi, Jack. How are you? How has your week been?

Hi! My week has been great. Thanks for asking! It’s been busy because my song is coming out on Friday and I’m working very hard to make sure it’s getting as much attention as possible - but it’s all very exciting and I also just played a great gig last night with my friend and collaborator LOGUOS.

For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?

Hello. My name is Jack Rua. I am a Pop singer and songwriter from Dublin, Ireland. I have been hibernating for the last two-and-a-half years writing and producing music with my friends.. and now I’m finally here to show you what I’m all about.


Scarlet A is your debut single. What inspired the song?

Well. Musically, Scarlet A draws inspiration from a number of sources. It’s easy to hear the kind of late-noughties influences like Lady Gaga, Goldfrapp and Sam Sparro; however, initially when writing the song, I was listening to a lot of Glam-Rock and that’s how the song started out: when I was writing it and rehearsing it with my old band. As I evolved and started embracing Electronic music, then that’s when the Gaga-ness started seeping through! Lyrically, the song talks about the nature of human attraction.

In a way, I’m questioning the idea that human beings are meant to start going out with someone; marry them, die with them and never have eyes for someone else. The song sings of lust and feeling seduced by someone when you’re already in a relationship.

A lot of shame goes with those ideas but, in this song, I’m wearing that shame as a part of my costume, just as in The Scarlet Letter (the book that the song is inspired by). The main character had to brand herself with a red letter ‘A’ to show to everyone that she was an adulterer. The song certainly isn’t advocating acting on impulses. I think, if you commit to being monogamous with someone, you obviously have to follow that through; it’s more just admitting that a wandering eye is a common side-effect of being human.

The video is definitely arresting and bold. What was the idea behind it?

Well. My friend and collaborator PureGrand directed the video and we both developed the idea together based on the story and the mood of the song. I would say that the main idea behind the video is the dichotomy between lust and guilt that one might feel in the situation that I previously described. There are these dark scenes in a bedroom that represent the temptation and the danger where I’m rolling around on a bed and flirting with my dirty thoughts...and then this is juxtaposed by a scene in a bath where I’m trying to wash myself of these temptations and feelings of lust.

My co-star and lover Narcissus, a mannequin head, also makes an appearance. You’ll be seeing more of her over the coming months. We have a really strong connection that is established in this video.



Now you have a single out, might there be more coming later this year?

Absolutely! I have been collaborating with a couple of really talented artists including my buddy LOGUOS, a talented dance producer from Dublin. We’ve written a song together that I’m so excited to release. I also have a collaboration with a rapper from Cork called Darce which is another really exciting project. I’ve been working with my good friend Porridge who I met in college…

I really can’t wait for people to hear all of this music. It’s going to be a busy year. I’m also doing a podcast with my friend Jack called The Anatomy of Pop!

Can you tell me what sort of music you grew up around as a child?

Well. When I was a kid, my dad would always be playing artists like The Beatles, Bowie; Stevie Wonder, Prince; Talking Heads, Bruce Springsteen…but, when I was a kid, I hated all that! I loved the Spice Girls and Britney L-O-V-E-D them. Obsessed. But then I kinda went off Pop music; I was doing a lot of music theatre and singing in choirs as a kid, so that’s the kinda stuff I listened to. I loved the music from Oliver, High School Musical; Little Shop of Horrors, Chicago

Then, when I kinda became a teenager, I really started to connect with music for the first time. I loved Amy Winehouse’s album, Back to Black, and Duffy’s Rockferry. This all lead to Lily Allen. I remember the first time I heard The Fear and that’s when I knew I wanted to make music.


You definitely have your own style. Is there anyone from modern music you particularly identify with?

I mean, I don’t wanna say I’m SIMILAR to her because she’s a worldwide icon but Lady Gaga is one of my biggest inspirations. I don’t try and base myself off her because I think she’s very different but I love her creativity and artistic freedom and how she injects art and theatre into her music. I’d say, lyrically, my biggest influence is Marina + the Diamonds and, musically, I really identify with the music of Leland and Allie X.

As a Dublin native, what are you opinions regarding the music coming from there now?

It’s great. I’ve been kind of on the scene for a number of years and, in my opinion, it’s reaching its strongest and most varied point. Funnily enough, as I write these answers, I’m actually sitting really close to the singer of one of my favourite bands called Barq (she doesn’t know who I am though so I feel like a massive weirdo). But, like, one of the greatest things that’s emerging out of the city and the country right now is a massive Hip-Hop scene fronted by artists like Kojaque, Tebi Rex and Jafaris.

Also, it’s great to see friends of mine in bands like ZaPho and Vernon Jane absolutely slaying. It’s really in a great place. And hopefully I can wedge myself into the market as that weird Pop singer who doesn’t give a f**k about what people think of him!

PHOTO CREDIT: @jackruamusic

Do you have a standout memory from your time in music so far?

Hmm. I’m going to be super-pessimistic and mention a BAD memory, which is when I was performing a showcase gig to a packed out venue (I’d say like 150-200 people). I had planned this super-extravagant performance with costume and choreography and I was performing as an alter-ego and the performance started with a long and dramatic piano instrumental.

I was staring out into the audience and then I would start singing a capella. The whole room was silent because I’d grabbed their attention, so I went to start singing, picked up the wrong microphone and I had actually picked up the wrong one and it was off. And, when I realised this, I muttered “ah, s***e” but, just as I said those words, the microphone came on and echoed through the entire room.

Bad memory, but a funny one.


Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?

Hunky Dory by David Bowie

I remember listening to this album start to finish for the first time so clearly. The album opens with Changes and it was the first Bowie song that I’d ever listened to as a ‘David Bowie’ song, if you get me, and it just made me fall in love with him. The songwriting is so intricate and comes from one of the best songwriters of all time and yet it sounds so simple and organic.

ARTPOP by Lady Gaga

I’d never heard Pop music like this before and I never thought that it could be like that. I remember when it came out, I was like “Eh, W.T.F. is she on about; HoW iS tHiS aRt”. As a fan, I was kind of disappointed but then, as I got older, it became the album that spoke to me the most out of all of them. I love the message and the ethos behind it. Music can be at once both a personal manifesto AND a spectacle. I love that.

No Shame by Lily Allen

I don’t think I have ever needed an album so much in my life - and I didn’t even realise it at the time. I have been stanning Lily for years and this album came out like five years after her previous one, so I was so ready for it. It came out at a point in my life where I was feeling lost, heartbroken; a little bit ashamed of myself. It was like a breath of fresh air. One that hit my lungs cold and sharp but, after the pain, it filled me with a new energy.

If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?

Lady Gaga, obviously. I would do a cover of Marry the Night as my final song. I would ask for my dressing room to be decorated with red and blue velvet furniture. I’d like a grand piano to be there (adorned with candles and roses, obviously) with a portrait of David Bowie on the wall. And I’d ask for peppermint tea; a supper of soup and a bottle of Picpoul de Pinet, half for before I go on and half for afterwards.


Are you planning any gigs in the coming months?

Yes, actually! They’re all in Dublin. On 22nd April, I’ll be performing my first headline gig in The Workmans Club. This will be the first time I’ll be doing a full set of my Electronic music, so I’m nervous and excited for that.

How important is performing? Do you prefer it to life in the studio?

I love performing. I hate to say it outright, because I feel like it’s a cliché, but I really do feel at home on stage. I just absolutely love the feeling you get when you know that you’ve entertained someone. I love the applause at the end of a performance; when you KNOW from the energy in the room is genuine. As for life in the studio, I do love that too. It’s one of those things where it’s a labour of love: it can be incredibly tedious and boring and then it can be really frustrating and really, really hard work.

But, at the end of it comes something tangible and something beautiful and it’s all worthwhile. Performing and being in the studio are two different highs - and I love them both.


Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

Yeah! As I said, Zapho is someone y’all should check out. She just released a song called Water Me. They’re not necessarily new artists but Vernon Jane are bringing out incredible are MUNKY and SIIGHTS. I also love an artist called Andrea di Giovanni - who I recently discovered on Twitter.


Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?


Honestly, music is how I chill and unwind whether it’s listening to, playing or writing it. But, aside from that, I love playing tennis, playing and watching football (I’m a massive Liverpool fan, so maybe ‘unwinding’ isn’t the right word for watching them this season).

I love walking my beautiful dog around Howth, which is the town I’m from, and I enjoy reading. To unwind at the end of every day, I do ten minutes of meditation and then fall asleep listening to ASMR videos - which is slightly creepy, but, whatever.

Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).

Delirious - Susanne Sundfør

She is honestly one of my biggest influences and this album (Ten Love Songs) is one of my favourite albums of all time; criminally slept on in my opinion. I, one day, hope to be as extra as Susanne in this song. The last minute of this song is PERFECTION.


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