“We originally budgeted £500 and then I wanted a snake. I think we spent just under a grand.” Crucial decisions were made for a crucial moment, as Anthony Rubery tells me about the production of his very first professional music video, for his song Temptations. “I wanted it to be a clear step up from what I’ve done before, so I was willing to take a bit of a blow financially, because the benefits have been sick.”
And the benefits most definitely have been sick as Temptations, which was released earlier this year, has been streamed over 14,000 times on Spotify, making it his most successful song yet.
Rubery, who is 21, has released a total of eight songs, including his first EP, Rough Sketch, in 2017, all whilst studying Popular Music at Anglia Ruskin University. “I like the course,” he says. “It kind of encourages me to be doing what I’m doing which is always beneficial.”
Rubery has always been into music. From when he was young, he was constantly surrounded by it, as his parents are also musicians. He says: “All my family are musical. There were instruments around the house when I was growing up, so I think it was kind of like just a natural thing to get into.”
He isn’t wrong there, as at the moment, Rubery is organising his own headline show taking place at Aru Academy in Cambridge on the 9thNovember. He has organised the venue and support acts all by himself.
Talking about his EP, he tells me that a big inspiration for Rough Sketch was Ed Sheeran, and if you listen to Intoxicated, you can definitely hear the resemblance. But he wasn’t just an inspiration lyrically, as he says: “Ed Sheeran was big in actually getting me performing. I saw him live a few years ago, and I just thought it was pretty cool, and so I try to do what he kind of does with a loop pedal and kind of evolve from there.
“I don’t really like to define myself by genre, I feel like that’s quite limiting. I kind of just make what I want to make.”
However, his more recent songs like Temptationsand Your Sideare a totally different sound. I ask Rubery what genre he would say his music comes under and he looks back shaking his head. “I don’t really know where I put it,” he replies. “I don’t really like to define myself by genre, I feel like that’s quite limiting. I kind of just make what I want to make.”
And making music comes naturally to him. Wherever he is, he could be inspired with a new idea for a song. “I’ll be sat down watching something or just doing something and a little lyric or idea will come into my head.” I ask the all-important question: What comes first, the melody or the lyrics? He says: “I do a lot of production so I kind of make the instrumentals and then try and write something over it.” However, he also adds that “if I’m in the mood to write then I can write without music,” so it all depends.
Rubery and I then scare ourselves as we both realise we have a limited time left of university until we have to go out into the real world. Rubery’s plan after he finishes? He says that “the main goal is to try and get signed to a label. I want to have plans in place so I can keep doing what I’m doing and hopefully get paid for doing it”.
But not everyone is as keen on his career choice as he is. He tells me that the hardest part of being a musician is that “until you become a major star, people don’t really take what you do seriously”. However, he doesn’t let this stop him. And he doesn’t want it to stop anyone else either.
His advice to anyone wanting to pursue the same career: “Don’t listen to what people say. A lot of people who aren’t in any way involved in music gave me a lot of advice and it was kind of like thanks but no thanks. People like to think they know it all because they’re older and wiser than you, but you have to stick to what you want to do and not let people change what you want to do. Because if you’re not doing what you love and what you want to do, you won’t enjoy it.”
Click the links below to download Anthony Rubery’s latest music