Seductively dark lyrics and a deep, throaty voice are telltale signs that Ruby Rose Fox (right) has taken the stage. A powerhouse vocalist, Fox will fill the Sinclair with her old-soul, edgy pop on Aug. 28. Curious about her musical roots, we asked Fox to tell us about five artists who have strongly influenced her as a singer and songwriter.
“He was one of the first artists I ever connected to as a small child. I started taping him from the radio when I was 3 or 4. He was one of the first rock ’n’ roll pioneers, one of the first men to really express their voice in a completely emotional way. I was just instinctively drawn to that.”
“I came across him much later in life, when I got my first guitar at 26 years old. I was immediately struck by the lyrics; Cohen was this wordsmith that expressed language in a way that I understood really deeply. His writing is dark and disciplined. . . . He really inspired me lyrically. I wrote a song called ‘Dear Leonard Cohen,’ which is a direct response to [his] ‘Famous Blue Raincoat.’ ”
“He’s an artist that embodies what I want to make. I imagine him as Leonard Cohen as a painter — I can’t get enough of it. There’s a grotesque element, there’s a beautiful element. It’s angular and gorgeous. I love it because I don’t have words for it, and I love when I don’t have words for something.”
“I didn’t really know much about her until I started playing guitar, but I became quickly obsessed. I have to say I’m a melody person, and I’m not a fan of all her work . . . but I’m just slayed when I listen to her. I’m really inspired by her commitment to art, and to being an artist. She contains a wildness that I can only aspire to. Her art, it wasn’t just a show.”
“Virtuosity is the first word that comes to mind. And fierce bravery. She let her voice be hers — she didn’t change it, and in some ways it’s really beautiful, and in some ways it’s really ugly, and in letting it be that, it’s Nina Simone’s. She felt dangerous onstage — you didn’t know what she was going to say or do. Dangerous in the best possible way, in the sense that she was such an honest performer and person, that when you watched her sing it was Real, with a capital R.”
Ruby Rose Fox performs with Sidewalk Driver, the Lights Out, and Jenny Dee & the Deelinquents at the Sinclair, Cambridge, Aug. 28. Tickets: $12. 617-547-5200, www.sinclair
Mallory Abreu can be reached at email@example.com.