Cris Ruff
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Cris Ruff


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Cris Ruff's Friends and Enemies EP will be released October 2012



Cris Ruff is taking music in a new direction, working with legendary Wu-Tang producer Tru James to craft unique tunes that combine elements of jazz, pop, soul and hip-hop. The result is Friends and Enemies, a five-song EP that draws on a wide range of influences including Parliament Funkadelic, Earth, Wind and Fire, Dr. Dre and jazz great Anita O’Day. The EP boasts infectious tunes like “Rain On the Concrete” and “Grind Is Gangsta,” on which Wu-Tang co-founder RZA raps “Boy you ain’t real/You like a three dollar bill/Like Danny DeVito in a pair of high heels” with Ruff’s smooth vocal stylings rounding out the tune. “RZA is amazing and it’s obviously super flattering to have an artist of his caliber on your track. He is a great rapper, producer and now movie mogul with his first movie production, Man of The Iron Fist, presented by Quentin Tarantino due out this fall.” Ruff says. Then there’s “L.A. (We Don’t Play),” a spirited ode to Ruff’s home town with driving bass lines and a rousing chorus that makes it impossible not to dance, and “Crazy Love,” which could easily set the record for the most sultry, jazzy tango in history.

“I was inspired by mid-70s singer-songwriter soul as well as a lot of pop, hip-hop and jazz,” Ruff explains. “What I appreciate most about music is a timeless sound that these artists have, and that’s what I aim for. I freestyle everything in the studio, so this project has a really spontaneous and rhythmic feel. When Tru James and I record, I’ll do at most three passes on everything. The verses are completely unique as a result. I just say them into the microphone and he records them. I don’t even have time to filter it—it’s the truest representation of myself I could give.”

It’s very rare for an artist to duet with the likes of Wu-Tang Clan mastermind RZA on her debut EP, but Chris Ruff is no ordinary songstress. The Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter has been playing guitar since she was 13, and has penned tunes for the likes of Jason Mraz and lended vocals to LA underground hip hop tracks featuring local producers and MCs. She also booked shows and performed hip-hop for many years, honing her songwriting chops and learning to freestyle while running in the same circles as several acclaimed LA rappers.

Ruff explains that her collaboration with Tru James, who co-wrote several of the tunes, was destined for success from the start. “We have so much in common,” she says. “We love all of the same music and we even have the same Nissan 300zx cars. We instantly had this synergy between us from the first piece of music we made together, the title track “Friends and Enemies”. We’ve become this really efficient, happy musical team.”

After releasing her EP, Ruff plans to go back into the studio to lay down tracks for her debut full-length album before the end of the year. Now, Ruff is preparing to hit the road with her band, which includes members of renowned soul-funk crew Stone Mecca. Tru James’ band has opened for, and accompanied, RZA on tour playing legendary Wu beats in a live band format. “The band is raring to go!,” says Ruff. Keep an eye out for Cris Ruff tour dates this summer.