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Image by Annie Spratt

Photo credit: Meg Houghton

“…dusky vocals and personal, forthright lyrics” - Vince Leigh, Australian Radio Promotion.

“…her songs are engaging, humorous, witty and many folks will identify with the stories within her lyrics” - David Pendragon, Producer and Sound Engineer, Pendragon Studios. 


“…a sound that is all at once distinctively ‘Ruth’ whilst evoking hints of other Australian icons like Sia and Courtney Barnett” - Her Canberra

Ruth O’Brien is a singer-songwriter from Canberra, ACT/Ngunnawal Country. 


Her girlish yet powerful voice combined with her metaphorical, storytelling, songwriting-style effortlessly draws the attention of people of all ages. 


Influenced by the sounds of jazz, soul, pop, folk and classical music, Ruth is able to create a sense of vulnerability and intimacy in her performances, leaving people feeling connected to the experience.


Ruth grew up listening to and appreciating the catchy sounds of pop. A child of the 90s, Ruth’s first musical crush and emulatable vocalist was the blonde-haired, American teenager, Taylor Hanson


A few years later, Ruth heard the unique and unmistakeable vocal stylings of Katie Noonan and the rest was history. Awe-inspired by what Katie demonstrated the human voice to be capable of, Ruth set off to become the best singer she could possibly be.


Completing a Diploma in Music Performance in 2013, Ruth has performed hundreds of times, both original and cover songs, at many of Canberra’s most popular venues and events. In 2014, she received funding from the Australia Council to write, record and release her debut EP, Invaluable.


Ruth has had many amazing performing opportunities as a vocalist and songwriter including at the 2016 Australia Day Live Concert, at the National Folk Festival 2022, as a support for Sydney singer-songwriter NGAIIRE, and in April 2023, supported her music hero, Katie Noonan, on the Joni Mitchell’s Blue 50th Anniversary tour, in Springwood, Canberra, and Goulburn.


The year of 2023 was a big one musically for Ruth, as she also released her second EP, Songs For Abby , which a successful launch event at the Street Theatre in Canberra. She was also a finalist in the Australian Women in Music Awards and gave a TED talk at TEDxCanberra in October. To top off a year of big career successes, Ruth was awarded the National Live Music Award for the ACT for her dedication to the local and national music industry over many years. 


In her 10+ years working in the Australian music industry, Ruth has gained local and national acknowledgement and recognition for her dedication and passion for the sector. In 2020, she was invited to join the board of the National Live Music Awards (NLMAs). She was also a juror for the Australian Women in Music Awards 2022 and was a member of the ACT Minister’s Creative Council from Jan 2022-Dec 2023


Ruth has written extensively for BMA Magazine and is also the founder of Upbeat CBR - an ongoing and ever-changing project to support local Canberra musicians (on hiatus since April, 2023)

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