American singer-songwriter Jesse Ruben was recently here in Malaysia to greet fans and sing songs from his latest EP, "Hope" at The Bee, Publika.
The American singer-songwriter received recognition for his single "We Can" in 2013. The success of the song led to the birth of "The We Can Project". Its mission is to inspire children to realize their dreams and make a difference in their local communities.
However, the project materialized when an elementary school in Vancouver joined Jesse, expressing how it inspired the students and the school staff. This led Jesse to visit their school and as the saying goes "and the rest is history ".
To date, the project has over 300,000 students as participants and was presented at the CBS Morning Show in New York, as well as other local publications. Unfortunately, just as things were taking off with the project and his musical career, Jesse was diagnosed with Lyme disease.
It took him 9 months and several medical visits to understand exactly what was happening. Fortunately, it has improved over the course of 2 years. These days, he has been busy performing in shows around the world.
Luckily, our friends at Universal Music gave us the opportunity to talk to them about his trip with Lyme Disease, the We Can project, and his experience in a marathon with his good friend Kyle Patrick (former Click singer Five).
Congratulations on your EP and getting married. In your last EP, "Hope", you have dedicated 2 songs "Simple Little Ballad" and "Ours" to your wife. You could talk about how your wife inspired those songs and why it was meaningful for you to include it in the EP.
Thank you. I really like love songs. I really like them. There are already so many. So, every time you write one, it's like what's not said. So what I specifically like about "Simple Little Ballad" is that it is so for her. It is so specific. I don't know anyone else that fits all these little details.
But even if it was really specific, people still felt connected to it. People are always like "You wrote about me, how did you know that?" So I really like that song because she's so specifically. Besides, who doesn't love a good lullaby?
For "Ours" I wrote when we started talking about marriage, which was a big problem for me. Growing up in a music school and as a musician, it's like you feel that you can't get married until you do. It was really difficult because we were talking about getting into this new step of our life and I was like "I'm not ready, I can't do it".
So that song was the first time I really looked into the future and what it would be like. C & # 39; a joke about how to raise children and grow old. So it was the first time I said "Oh wow, we'll spend the rest of our lives together, strong".
You know, because it was a scary thought for me, but now I'm fantastic.
The latest genre of EP marks your return to the music scene. Why do you think music is therapeutic and how did you play a role while working on this project?
Big question. No one has asked me yet. Making this EP very complete was for me because it was a long time when I didn't think I would make music again. So, the fact that we created something so special for so many people really reminded me that I should do it.
For the longest time, I thought I was done and I would never make music again. It is so So it is really special to see this music that we have made together having reached so many people from the other side of the world. I'm so far from Brooklyn right now. So far, you know.
You said you went through a phase where you thought you wouldn't make music again. What helped you change it? How did you get through this phase?
When I improved I had a lot of positivity, because I was so happy to feel myself again. But for a long time, it wasn't there. For a long time it was a nightmare. Like when you wake up every day feeling terrible, it's really hard.
I was getting a little crazy and when I finally started feeling human again, I was so happy and writing like crazy. Fortunately, my support system was really incredible. My friends, my family and my wife were fantastic. Honestly, he was so relieved that he didn't feel bad again.
Speaking of challenges, you've talked a lot about your battle with Lyme disease. What has kept you strong all these years?
Talking about it was really helpful. Connect with people who also deal with similar things. Many people who have Lyme disease do not know they have it. Many of them are tired all the time, they have headaches all the time, joint pains all the time and they just think it's normal.
While I know it is not. So connecting with people and helping other people who are experiencing the same disease, focusing on spreading awareness about it is really important. It also helps me to remember how grateful I am that I don't have to be like that anymore.
Your project "The We Can Project" inspires children to reach their dreams and make a difference in their local communities. Do you have any plans to take on other causes later in your career?
Oh maybe I don't know. I did a lot of work around spinal cord injuries because one of my best friends is in a wheelchair. So I thought I would do it for the rest of my life. But then I got sick and now I'm focusing on Lyme disease because obviously it's a very personal cause for me.
"The We Can Project" was really fun because it came from nothing. It was also great to go to different parts of the country in the United States and meet these children and see how the song has affected them and how they are changing. Listen, if we could treat Lyme disease and that's it. I have to come up with something else to fight for. So, yes, I'm sure there will be something. I'm down, I hope soon.
For your song, "This is why I need you," you worked with Kyle, who is also your friend and manager. What was the process?
Terrible. Just awful. He was so mean. [laughs]
No, we have always worked together. Immediately after our first meeting, we started recording together. So we've always worked together somehow. I've written with him on some of his records and he's always been a huge part of me. So when I got better, it was very useful because I really needed someone I could trust to make the songs work.
I mean, I was still trying to figure out how to be a human being. So he was really good at telling me not to be scared, because I was freaking out so much. But he is an extraordinary producer. How we spent so much time together trying to make these songs the best they could.
Without him, nobody would have listened to them. I think the way they ended up looking really special. He did a great job and we have always worked really well together. We will work together forever until you get tired of me.
You also ran the New York marathon together, right?
Yes, it's true. So basically the first marathon I ran was during the time I was doing a lot of stuff with a spinal cord injury. And I was going to these events and for this organization called "The Christopher Reeve". Christopher Reeve used to play Superman in the movies and had a spinal cord injury and created a base for him.
So I was talking to them a lot and they asked me if I would run the marathon and I said no. Because that was crazy and they asked me again, I said no. When I finally said yes, I sent a message to Kyle out of nowhere like "Hey buddy, I'm running the New York marathon for the Reeve foundation" and he wrote "I". And that's how we ended up running a marathon together. We did 3 and now Kyle is injured.
Jesse: What did you think about running the Kyle marathons?
Kyle: The crazy story for me was the second one we did. The first one we trained for 6 months and we didn't drink. We did a great job in training. We ran like a real marathon. Really fast. Without problems. Just like the best day of our lives.
So for the second we thought we had it. We'll be fine. We trained like maybe a month and we got a bit divided.
Jesse: Yes, because my sister was there. So I ran with my sister.
Kyle: And she had a slower time. So he ran and saved his sister. I went ahead and ran a little ahead of them quite quickly inside the race. And we did not see the whole race. Only the first couple of minutes.
When we finished, we looked at our times and they were exactly the same. Mine, his and his sister were exactly the same. Up to the second. And we were so it can't be right because we didn't see each other for the whole race. So we thought it was probably because we are signing up at the same time.
And a month has passed and we finally got the movie, you can see Jesse and her sister crossing on one side because it's quite large. It was in one of the streets of New York and it was a wide street. They were crossing on one side and I was limping at the same time.
Jesse: Yes, the exact same time. And there were 60,000 people running this thing. For example, what are the odds? Just so bizarre. So weird
Will you guys run again?
Kyle: Are out.
Jesse: He is injured
Kyle: What I just told you about. I like a hip injury all my life. Yes, my right side is different. I followed one and this made the situation worse.
Speaking of collaboration, do you have any artists you would like to work with in the future?
Yes. Dua Lipa was in our hotel when we were in Manilla and the boy I would like to write with her. John Mayer is in Singapore right now, I'd like to play with him.
But having a dream collaboration is difficult because you don't know how you will work well with people. As if I went to the songwriting sessions where it was just terrible. The styles were terrible and I wasn't comfortable. When you find people with whom you can make really good music it's a special thing.
Your last album was in 2010. Did you start working on a new project? A new album maybe?
Yes. Next month I'm going to Austin, Texas, to record a full length. A sequel to "Hope" and I'm excited to bring these songs to the world. People hear them.
I've written a lot since we finished the EP. I have this new record I'm doing. I also just wrote a musical that is very funny. So I had a lot to do.
Finally, can you make fun of what we can expect from the next album?
Yes. "Hope" is definitely more optimistic, a positive message that I felt I really needed.
The next album will still be a little more rounded. It deals with some of the same problems but darker perspectives. Definitely more than the emotional balance of my experience, because I couldn't write about being sick for years. It seemed too close and I had no prospects. And getting old and getting married. It's a lot but it's fun.
Article by John Tan