There comes a time in every woman’s life where she feels the raw, uninterrupted sensation of rage and hurt. For Rudie Edwards, the Dover-born, London-living artist channeling these emotions into the writing and production of her first EP, ‘Oxygen,’ has been both edifying and essential.
“I just want to be honest, I realized a lot about myself, how angry I can get, and how easy it is to lose all logic,” she says candidly. “I want my music to show all that emotion. Turning emotions into songs makes me not act on those emotions, because believe me, after I was betrayed in a bad break up, I really did contemplate some bad things!” The song in question is “17 Days” – a dark disco thumper, with a nod to Island Life-era Grace Jones in the heaving bassline and a flick of the hair towards Tina Turner’s “Private Dancer” in the vocal delivery and reprise. “It’s a sad disco vibe: I don’t want to be a disco diva but it’s where I’m at right now.”
Growing up in the working town of Dover, South East England, Rudie’s musical reference points came from her Barbadian dad’s hallowed record collection, which he would bring out on Sundays. “He didn’t spend a lot of time with us but when he got his records out we’d have a dance around and the two things would come together.” Playing a mix of old reggae, soul and soca – as well as pop such as Michael Jackson and Tina Turner, this would become instrumental in building Rudie’s palate for later in life: “I need to have a beat in my own music, I’m not into ballads.” Like many singers, she started singing because it made her feel good – and she enjoyed people’s reactions to her voice. “I never thought I couldn’t be a singer. But I knew I had to get out of Dover as soon as I could.”
Moving to London at age 15 to go to The BRIT School – the alma mater of fellow warblers Adele, Katie Melua, Ella Eyre, and Amy Winehouse, Rudie quickly realized that while she’d been a trouble maker in Dover (as a mixed-race girl in a predominantly white area, she admittedly had trouble fitting in at school), but she could get up to far worse in London, hanging out with musicians. But, at the same time, it’s where everything would start to happen. “It’s where I discovered writing; before I wrote my own songs I was doing covers and writing poems, but then working out how to write a song, it really changed everything.”
Having already written for Mr. “Forget You” CeeLo Green, (“he just heard one of my songs and wanted to cut it”), Swedish sensation Erik Hassle (“my producer was working with him so I just joined in”) as well as fellow Swede and female agitator Beatrice Eli (“I just kind of stalked her a little bit after I met her, until we started to write together; that’s really an ongoing relationship.”). Rudie’s music is very much her own voice and personality – strong, independent and willfully unique. “I don’t really care about anything else other than making music. As long as I get to go into the studio and write, I’m happy.”
Her first single, “Lover Like You,” is a pacy, funk-filled, dark disco number,complete with electric guitar riffs, which makes it stand out from the crowd. “Nobody else is doing that, I had to fight to keep it in,” she adds.
It comes as no surprise that Rudie knows what she wants, focusing on the here and the now. She sticks to her guns and is happy to stand up for what she wants – from a contested guitar riff to the order of releases. “I need to know what I want to do so there’s no room for doubt in the future,” she says. “I know it’s right because it feels good. I don’t question things; I want to think, this is me and I’m proud of it.” Knowing what she wants has also allowed her to be incredibly hands on – with production as well as songwriting. Ultimately, she wants people to feel powerful when they hear her music, and it’s no doubt they will. “Music for me is a sword. If I feel at my lowest, it’s the only thing that can get me out of my funk. All I want is to provide that for other people.”