Heather Ruiz
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Heather Ruiz

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Yes, ballads do win, as Heather Ruiz from Puyallup found out by collecting $2000 grand prize at the Puyallup Fair's Showcase Stage Sunday. "What a wonderful talent and voice she has!,"says Rhonda Grissom of Tacoma.

Heather's music is inspiring and she is such a firecracker on the stage.......... - Sue Sawyer


Puyallup singer Heather Ruiz's album "Remember The Passion" is an astounding showcase of locally grown talent. The album is a mix of timeless jazz and classical songs, along with a few originals.

The album opens with "One More Touch," co-written by Ruiz and her producer Kenny LaMar. This song is one of three originals on the album. The original songs are slower and certainly have their moments, but they also have a tendency to drag on. They also have a heavily synthesized sound, which makes the songs a bit too heavy and diluted.

Most of the songs on the album will be familiar to lovers of jazz and classical music, as they include "Ain't That A Kick In The Head," "New York, New York," and "The Very Thought of You."

Ruiz has a rich and commanding voice that specially shows through on the swing numbers. Her performance of "New York, New York" made famous by Frank Sinatra, is powerful and enchanting.

Ruiz has another solid performance in George and Ira Gershwin's "They Can't Take That Away From Me." Ruiz's voice is subtle and sassy on this song.

Toward the end of the album, listeners get a taste of more classical sounds. The ninth track is a cover of Japanese composer Shigeru Umebayashi's "Lovers," off the soundtrack for the film "House of Flying Dagger." Yet again, listeners can hear another dimension of Ruiz's voice on this haunting , beautiful song. Following this is Giacomo Puccini's "O mio babbino caro," which is again a strong and beautiful performance by Ruiz.

More than many other singers, jazz singers really need to be performers, and listeners can tell that is exactly what Ruiz is. The powers and emotion that seep through the speakers is intoxicating; it is hard not to get caught up in some of Ruiz's better performances.

Ruiz's performance on the album is at once arresting and freeing: one can't help feeling entranced, while at the same time liberated.

Ruiz is certainly a versatile performer. The music is marketed as a classical and jazz album, but it also has some hints of contemporary popular music. While the album has its weak points, it is never in Ruiz's voice, which always shines through. - Tacoma Weekly - CD Review


Heather Ruiz is as comfortable singing pop standards from 50 years ago as adult contemporary material. With her vocal range, she could sing opera if she wanted to. A young woman cut from the same cloth as the female vocalists of the big band era, Ruiz is clearly doing something unique in the local music scene.

Ruiz was a shy child growing up in Puyallup. Adults around her wondered whether she could even speak. Singing is what pulled her out of her shell. At a Christmas party at age 3 she offered to sing a song, her ABCs.

“Most people do not feel comfortable on stage. I feel most comfortable on stage,” she remarked. Offstage she feels she is somewhat introverted.

At 13 she began taking lessons from Jack Gorrecht at Garray Music Studios in Puyallup. By 16 she was teaching lessons, something she still does.

She also took dance lessons from Dance Theatre Northwest and performed often with the group. That helped develop the stage presence she utilizes while singing on stage. “That really helped a lot.”
Ruiz began recording demos at 15. She has wanted to do a proper album for some time, and spent the last few years working on her debut, “Remember The Passion,” which was released recently. It contains some pop standards as well as original material.

In early 2007 she began working with songwriter and producer Kenny LaMar. She also worked with songwriter Sue Ann Carwell, who did some backing vocals on some of Ruiz’s original songs.

She got in recording sessions in between working and wrapping up her studies for a bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of Washington-Tacoma.

The album contains covers of pop classics such as Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” and “Ain’t That A Kick In The Head” by Dean Martin. Her father turned her on to such artists, as well as acts like Chicago and Earth, Wind & Fire.
Her versatility is a strong suit as well as an indicator of her diverse musical tastes. Brass sections appeal to her, and Ruiz loves the big band sound. “I wanted to showcase my versatility,” she said.
She notes how many people load songs from numerous genres on their iPods. “I figured, why not put it all on one CD? Why go down the same road as everyone else? I wanted to bring people back to an era of unforgettable melodies,” she said. “It has been an adventure.”
Her desire to do a top-notch album led her to recording with a 17-piece jazz band at Triad Studios in Redmond. She also recorded at Studio X in Seattle and mastered the songs at RFI CD Mastering in Seattle.

“I put everything I had into it,” Ruiz commented.

Some of her originals reveal a Celine Dion influence. Ruiz said Dion is her favorite singer, and she caught her show in Las Vegas twice. “I was absolutely floored. I had tears in my eyes.”

When she performs live she sings to pre-recorded tracks. Ruiz wants to assemble a band, but her style of music makes this challenging. For one, to recreate the music on her album she would need a small orchestra. Many jazz musicians are older and approach performances in a businesslike manner; they want to know their work hours and pay scale in advance. The type of band she needs may not be financially feasible right now. “I am still an unknown artist. I have to deal with the resources I have,” she said.

The Seattle/Tacoma area attracts national attention for its rock acts, but can a singer like Ruiz get noticed here? She hopes she will not need to move away to advance her career, but realizes that might be necessary. “I probably will have to venture out.”

For now she is working hard lining up gigs, promoting her album and planning for a music video.
Ruiz donates a portion of money from her performances and album sales to United Way of Pierce County.

Her commitment to giving back to the community stems from her health issues. Ruiz was born with spina bifida, a condition that can hinder walking and damage organs. She underwent surgery to fuse some vertebrae at 18 months. The condition led to scoliosis, which led to another surgery at Children’s Hospital in Seattle at 12.

She would like to do a benefit concert for the hospital that treated her.

“I can pursue my dreams. Not everyone is that lucky,” she said. “I have always enjoyed helping people. Music brings a smile to people’s faces. If I can touch one person I guess I am doing my job.”
Heather Ruiz performs at the Endless Summer Deck Party at Freighthouse Square, which runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 6, and at 21 Commerce at 9 p.m. Sept. 19.
- Tacoma Weekly - John Larson


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

Now and Then Music proudly presents Heather Ruiz, an up and coming jazz and classical vocalist who just completed her debut album: Remember The Passion. Heather’s CD covers the 30s and 40s era, opera, broadway, and adult contemporary – an obstacle not yet conquered in the music industry. When asked by the press why she chose to include so many genres on one CD, she replied, “If you look on anybody’s ipod, you’ll see a variety of musical styles – why not have them all on one CD?”

It appears Heather Ruiz may be taking a financial risk with this approach, especially when it’s never been very appreciated by many recording labels. Perhaps, however, people are tired of listening to what record executives consider to be quality music, because if you’re looking for true quality, Heather Ruiz is the ticket. She seems to be the female version of Josh Groban as she combines her classically-trained voice with beautifully arranged orchestral backgrounds that entice the passion and intensity of one’s soul. Working with talented professionals, such as a Grammy-award winning songwriter, Kenny LaMar, the renowned singer/songwriter SueAnn Carwell, and recording at Studio X in Seattle (Once “Bad Animal” owned by Heart) have aided in making this idea of a female, cross-over artist become a reality.

This small town girl from Puyallup, Washington believes the world is ready for something refreshing and unique, which is exactly what you’ll hear on her new CD.
She’s traveled down the agonizing path of sending out demos that A&R reps show interest in, but ultimately only hand out broken promises. Three years ago, one of the largest recording companies in the world, Decca, showed interest in Ms. Ruiz and the idea of having multiple genres on one CD. However, with the music industry experiencing economic turmoil, the discussed deal never came to fruition. Therefore, Heather has taken the reigns into her own hands and created a product that demonstrates to the extreme what she can do. Hearing such an intense, and yet angelic voice arise out of such a petite, young woman is like walking down memory lane when these characteristics were cherished among artists.

It’s time to present this Spanish rose to the entire world. Whether you feel like dancing to one of her renditions of a classic standard, or you want to relax with a loved one while one of Heather’s originals plays in the background, you can find it all on Remember The Passion. Heather’s album, photos, videos, and concert dates are available on her website www.heatherruiz.com and her myspace page: www.myspace.com/heatherruiz. Her voice speaks for itself!