Saturday 21 September 2019

It's going to be a legendary Christmas for the girl with a gift of writing songs for the stars

No place like home: Ruth-Anne Cunningham
No place like home: Ruth-Anne Cunningham
Bairbre Power

Bairbre Power

When US singing sensation John Legend takes to the stage of New York's Madison Square Garden next Monday as part of his Christmas tour, he'll be armed with Irish festive magic thanks to up and coming singer/composer Ruth-Anne Cunningham.

The young Dubliner co-wrote the song 'No Place like Home' with him earlier this year. Legend, a respected singer/record producer/actor, liked it so much, he made it the fourth track on his new album.

Ruth-Anne is flying to New York for the concert but first she has a job to do at her parents' Donaghmede home today - and that's decorate the Christmas tree.

"I'm really excited because John will be doing our song. I adore Christmas and when I sat down with John to write, we were sharing stories and I told him all about our traditions including Bono busking on Grafton Street on Christmas Eve," said Ruth-Anne, who lives between homes in LA and London.

Ruth-Ann shot to fame as a schoolgirl when she won the Jacobs/2FM Song Contest at 16 and since then she has penned songs for some of the biggest artists in the world, including 'Work Bitch' performed by Britney Spears, and 'Slow Hands' which she co-wrote with Niall Horan.

At home in Dublin this week to promote her latest single, 'It Is What It Is', Ruth-Ann explained how her collaboration with Legend came about.

"I am managed by his management company and we've written together once before with Dan Wilson.

"When it came to his Christmas album, my management said John would love to work with me. I always like to have titles ready so the morning of the session, I woke up and I don't know where it came from but I wrote 'There's No Place like Home at Christmas' in my phone. I was thinking about what I love about this time of the year, being around people you love.

"I was thinking of John and his wife, Chrissy Teigen, and their two babies.

"When we sat down, he said he had woken up that morning with a bit of a melody and I immediately sang back to him the song title I had woken up with."

The song was written quickly and it name-checks traditions such as picking out your Christmas trees, the smell of cinnamon and pine and hanging up the fairy lights.

"It is about your home being your castle, your sacred space, about the home vibe," said Ruth-Anne.

This month, she opens for Hozier in the Olympia and Killarney. As a child, she played the Gaiety panto with the Billie Barry kids and also starred on the 'Late Late Toy Show'.

One of her ambitions is to do the Christmas Eve busk with Bono.

Irish Independent

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