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A pensive singer/songwriter who draws inspiration from contemporary R&B and gospel, Ruel broke through in his native Australia as a teenager with "Golden Years," a remarkably mature single that led to a deal with RCA in 2017. In a matter of a few years, Ruel comfortably outgrew his rank as a pop prodigy by winning an ARIA award, earning gold and platinum certifications for singles off his first EPs Ready (2018) and Free Time (2019), and releasing an even more individualistic third EP, Bright Lights, Red Eyes (2020). That album hit the top 40 in New Zealand, as did his 2022 singles "Let the Grass Grow" and "You Against Yourself." Born in Isleworth, England, Ruel van Dijk moved with his family at a young age to Sydney, Australia. Attracted to music early on, he started taking voice and guitar lessons in primary school. At the age of 12, he recorded a cover of James Bay's "Let It Go" that his father, an audio marketing specialist, sent to ARIA-winning producer M-Phazes. Shortly thereafter, in 2017, Ruel made his recorded debut with "Golden Years," co-written with M-Phazes and Thief. Fourteen years old at the time, Ruel landed an international deal with RCA, and by the end of 2017 scored his first charting single and gold ARIA certification with "Don't Tell Me," another M-Phazes collaboration. "Don't Tell Me" became the lead single off Ready, an EP issued in June 2018 with "Dazed & Confused" and "Younger," charting singles that went platinum in Australia. "Dazed & Confused" took that year's ARIA for Breakthrough Artist -- Release. Ruel's ascent continued the next year with Free Time, an EP that peaked at number three after its September 2019 arrival. Among its three charting singles was another platinum hit, "Painkiller" -- a version of which featured a guest verse from Denzel Curry. The collaboration helped Ruel gain commercial traction in the U.S., where "Dazed & Confused" and "Painkiller" eventually earned gold RIAA status. Still with M-Phazes as his primary collaborator, and joined by Sarah Aarons as a songwriting partner, Ruel returned in October 2020 with Bright Lights, Red Eyes, an EP led by "As Long as You Care." Ruel and M-Phazes again joined Thief in 2021 for the stray single "Too Many Feelings." Later that year, he offered up another solo single "Growing Up Is ____." More singles followed in 2022, including "Let the Grass Grow" and "You Against Yourself," both of which hit the top 30 in New Zealand.
© Andy Kellman /TiVo
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