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We’re back with our artist insight feature ‘NE Hot Seat’ – where we sit down with some of the North East’s brightest talent on a monthly basis, shine a spotlight on their latest work and find out what they have planned next.

Next up we have rising singer-songwriter and accessibility activist Ruth Lyon. A local legend, Ruth has had one heck of a year with a performance at SXSW and whole host of singles out in the run up to this month’s release of her deep, humorous and gorgeous EP ‘Direct Debit to Vogue’, recorded during the summer with John Parish (Aldous Harding, This is the Kit). Check out our chat with Ruth Lyon below!

Tell us a little about yourself and your career in music so far   

I’m Ruth Lyon and I am a singer, multi-instrumentalist and composer based in Newcastle. I’m also a disability activist and ambassador for Attitude Is Everything and this definitely inspires my music. I like to sing about things that really matter to me. I was Sage Gateshead’s artist in residence 2020 and since then I’ve been really lucky to play the BBC stage at latitude festival as my first live show. I’ve had loads of support from the BBC, particularly Nick Roberts at BBC Introducing, who is such a legend to the local scene. The highlight of my year was being invited to perform at SXSW festival in America and we went over in March. Total bucket list stuff playing the same stage as Wet Leg and Self Esteem! 

Can you give us an insight into your forthcoming release? We are so excited to listen! 

It always seemed a natural thing to do. Most of the time it just comes out that way in the improvising and writing process, everything I love feeds into my music. I love all kinds of music for different reasons – sometimes you want a mosh, sometimes you want to be soothed, sometimes you want to be told a story. as a listener I think combining genres does magical things too, I love being surprised by music, when you just settle into a track and then it throws something so unexpected at you – it’s my absolute favourite thing! And playing with genres is a great way to do that.

You are a key figure in Newcastle’s music scene, do you find any inspiration from the local community? 

We’ve just finished recording the next album which will be out next year, and I can’t wait to share it! You can expect songs about video games, the weather, fights, gardens, real and digital landscapes. It’s the most ambitious I’ve been so far in terms of arrangement – there’s clarinet, double bass, flute, harp and violin, plus a whole bunch of other vocalists! Despite the bigger production it feels like a very intimate album for me (whether that translates to listeners or not I don’t know!), I’ve put more of myself in there than I’ve allowed before, I think, there’s a lot of honesty in it.

You recently had a headline show at The Cluny, how was it?  

At the end of October, I’m releasing a 7″ with the Darlington based label Butterfly Effect for their singles club, which is exciting! Then it’s all about preparing for the album release next year and touring. I’m also feeling good about writing at the moment too, so there’s already new music in the works.

What else can we expect from you in the coming months? 

I will then hopefully be heading to Australia to play at some mad venues like Sydney opera house, Melbourne recital centre and I can’t wait! Part of the reason why I love what I do is that it enables me to meet amazing new lifelong friends (it’s hard not to become ridiculously close when you tour together!) but it’s also given me the chance to travel in a way I couldn’t have dreamed of. So, I’m really looking forward to venturing to a new place that I never thought I’d get too. I feel so excited about everything and totally buzzing to be getting back out and doing what I love!  


Check out Ruth’s picks of 10 tracks from their favourite North East acts below!


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