Music from the Heart

Daithi Rua's "Songs From The Rua Room": Strive to become good first and famous second

Daithi Rua is an Irish singer/songwriter living in Belgium. We caught up with him to talk about the milestone he recently celebrated with his project Songs From The Rua Room. And much more.

Introduce the concept of The Rua Room for those who haven't heard about it. Where did the idea come from?

Back in 2018, having reached the tender age of 45 and having almost 30 years of live concerts under my belt, also a handful of albums under my artist name ‘Daithi Rua’ I was very much feeling that I had reached a crossroads in life and in the music business. The Rua Room was the name I put on my little home recording studio in my apartment which I used to record myself and other artists. Because I had invested in some decent recording equipment which I seemed to be using less and less for myself, I had the idea to add video and see if I could turn it into an audio/video operation.

‘Songs From The Rua Room’ YouTube channel was born. At the time I lived in the heart of the beautiful city of Ghent, Belgium which has an extremely vibrant music scene and has some of the very best songwriting talent on the planet. I had no problem dipping from this huge well of talent on my doorstep. The very first videos were done with an i phone camera and and old Nikon camera borrowed from my girlfriend. 

Soon some sponsors came on board, both private and public. By January 2019 one of Ghent’s best known songwriter venues ‘Cafe De Loge’ got behind the project and I was able to buy my fist proper video digital camera. I spent that year filming at Cafe de Loge once a month at their now famous showcase session ‘Tuesday circle at De Loge’ and this became a popular playlist on the channel. 

I’ll always be grateful to Cafe De Loge (Mieke & Jos) for the kick start and to all the sponsors who have come onboard so far.

I am now based in Lievegem, Belgium about 30 mins from Ghent city and am currently renovating the new studio room here.

To date the channel boasts over 300 videos and counting. The channel just turned 2 years old and has over 1000 subscribers so far. 

You've had so many artists from Belgium and beyond play a song for your channel. Could you mention a few for us?

I have filmed so many artists from quite a few countries in the room itself or out on the road for the ‘Rua Room Rambles’ Playlist. These countries include Belgium, Holland, The United States, Mexico, Ireland, UK, Germany and The Czech Republic etc. Some of the more well known artists include Eva De Roovere (BE), Billy and Bloomfish (BE), NEEKA (BE), Kieran Halpin (IE), Jim Page (US), Garrison Starr (US), Funke And The Two Tone Baby (UK), Paul Fogarty (OZ), Sophie Chassée (DE) and Yana (CZ) to name a few…

You've been in the music industry for a long time and you know it inside out. What would your advice be to a younger musician who fancies the career in music? 

My advice these days to younger musicians wanting to build a career would be to focus on the art and the craft. Strive to become good first and famous second. Too often I see younger musicians trying to  strive too much for social media attention while forgetting to work more on becoming a better songwriter and musician. i understand that we’re living in an online world but try to find a good balance.

I also advise them to have a job, even a part time one which will create some sort of stability for them and remove the stress of having to depend on only music and gigs to survive, this can kill the creative juices very quickly. Something I wish I’d done at an earlier stage in my own life. 

The music business is not for the faint hearted and you will fail more than succeed at times but if you really feel this is the path for you then you have to grab it with both hands and go for it with all your heart and soul. Be yourself and don’t try to be or sound like anyone else. 

We've noticed you have been interviewing musicians on these fun and interesting livestreams on Facebook and Youtube lately. Can you tell us more about that? 

 Livestreams have always been a way for me (as a songwriter) to reach my audience directly. They can create a very intimate bond between performer and listener. I’m talking about pre-pandemic times,  before streams were happening every 40 seconds. (insert smiley face) As part of the YouTube channel I recently created a playlist of Livestream-interviews called ‘Raving With Rua’ which, though the power of the internet and a program called Streamyard I am able to connect with singer songwriters from all over the world, hear their songs and stories. Some of these artists I’ve never even met in real life but it’s so wonderful that we automatically have music, songs and performing as common ground when we chat. I hope to do many more of these as the channel grows. 

The Rua Room recently celebrated its second birthday. What are your plans for the future with it? what are you hoping to achieve?

The past two years have been a wonderful experience and I’ve had lots of fun creating this channel. Even though it’s a hobby which doesn’t really earn me money (I sometimes get people visiting my online shop which I’m very thankful for) For me this is not only a learning experience (how to record video and audio, how to be a YouTuber & producer) but a very fulfilling one in the sense that I believe I’m creating something special for the viewer and for the songwriter, all the while creating a wonderful archive of the here and now of the songwriter world that we’re all so privileged to be a part of.

i will continue to create good content for the channel while people want it and enjoy it. I’m extremely grateful to each and every songwriter and musician who has appeared on the Channel and to the great YouTube community who are behind me all the way. Thank You.

Note from the author:

I would like to share a personal experience with The Rua Room with you. Daithi and myself had been talking about me playing in the room for quite some time. I will be forever grateful for the invite. It means the world and it is such a great opportunity. I feel honoured to be part of this wonderful project.  Some may feel intimidated by all the cameras but in my opinion once you step on stage you need to embrace everything that goes with it. Take every opportunity that comes along. Daithi not only made me feel right at home but put me completely at ease. We had so much fun recording my song and I loved every minute of it. You can watch the video below. Something in me hopes this wasn't the last time we did something together.

cover photo: Michel Goessens

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