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In the Booth with Ruth – Risa Hall, Singer/Songwriter

Photo credit: Shaun Hines

Photo credit: Shaun Hines

Can you tell me when you first took an interest in music? What inspired you, and how did you begin creating your own music?

I first took an interest in music as young as five when I would watch music programmes and imitate the singers. I can remember learning to sing Respect thinking I was Aretha Franklin. I never pursued music until about eight years ago, as I was an actor hiding behind a character in the Broadway cast of Grease and the National Tour of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof amongst other productions. People like Nerina Pallot, KT Tunstall and Lissie inspire me and I thought “better late than never” and started writing and doing open mics, which led to my own slots and supporting people like Nerina Pallot and Alice Gold. I have appeared on BBC Radio many times all over the UK.

How would you describe your music?

I would describe my music as ‘eclectic’ as I write in a multitude of genres.

How often do you write new material, and where does your inspiration come from?

I write new material when inspiration takes me there. Sometimes I’m on a roll and can write several tunes at once and other times I suffer from writer’s block. My inspiration comes from family, friends, dramas and traumas and of course my beloved New York City.

Risa Hall

Photo credit: William D. King

What subjects do you most enjoy writing songs about?

I enjoy writing songs about places and people, especially people with idiosyncrasies. Air of Availability is about a quirky lady who radiates an aura of availability and no one knows why she has this particular je ne sais quoi.

What draws you to those subjects?

I have always been fascinated by people who are eccentric, creative and inspiring.

How long does it take to create a new song and what is the process?

Sometimes it takes five minutes and sometimes a song takes months. Sometimes the lyric comes first and sometimes a song is written around a riff. It varies. If it was predictable, you’d always have the same type of tunes!

You have chosen New York Nights for readers to listen to. Can you tell me what inspired that song and what it means to you?

New York Nights is the title track of my EP and it’s lively, poppy and has the Brill Building feel to it. I loved doing the Twenty Feet from Stardom type backing vocals with my other singer, Emma Walker. New York is my heart, my roots, my soul. It is my rock and roll. Although Manchester is my home now and I also love it here. The song means a lot to me and I am constantly inspired by the City.

5 Inch CD Wallet Standard Side OpenerCan you tell me about your current project(s)?

My current projects include a possible tour of Denmark in 2015 and many new gigs and places to play, including a festival in Liverpool to help feed people who are homeless (Hopefest) on 21 September.

Where can people find out more about you?

My website I’m on Bandcamp and on Twitter at @risahall and I also have a page on Facebook.


About Ruth Jacobs (296 Articles)
Author of Soul Destruction: Unforgivable, a novel exposing the dark world and harsh reality of life as a drug addicted call girl. The main storyline is based loosely on events from my own life. In addition to fiction writing, I am also involved in journalism and broadcasting, primarily for human rights campaigning in the areas of sex workers' rights, anti-sexual exploitation and anti-human trafficking.

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